World’s largest child porn site was run by police for undercover op

Dark web is home to explicit and illegal content including child pornography sites which are often in the news once they get busted. But then there are platforms run by police or security agencies, for example, notorious website Playpen which was run by the FBI for an undercover operation.

However, now it turns out that Australian police ran the world’s largest child porn site called ‘Childs Play,’ between October 2016 and September 2017 as part of its large-scale undercover op to track and bust pedophiles.

The joint operation was conducted by European, American and Canadian authorities. In an interview with Norwegian newspaper the head of Task Force Argos, Mr. Jon Rouse said that:

“We don’t create these sites. We do not want them to exist. When we do find them, we infiltrate and get as high as possible in the networks administrative structure to destroy it. But we will never create a forum for child sex offenders.”

In April 2016, ‘Childs Play’ surfaced on the dark web however in October 2016 Australian authorities took over the site after tracking down its owner Benjamin ‘WarHead’ Faulkner in the United States and ran the site until September this year.

Benjamin 'WarHead' Faulkner
Benjamin ‘WarHead’ Faulkner, 26

The site had over 1 million profiles and 4,000 active users posting highly explicit content such as photos and videos of child torture and rape. The police also allowed pedophiles to share content and even shared images themselves to make sure the users have no trust issue and so that eventually authorities could track and arrest them. Simply put, police used the site as bait.

“Our team and units like ours across the world are singularly focused on stopping the sexual abuse of children and we will continue to work together to infiltrate, disrupt and dismantle child sex offender networks like this one,” Rouse said.

 At the time of publishing this article, police confirmed that they have a list of 60 to 90 targets who were highly active on the site. Another country (whose name wasn’t revealed) said they have a list of 900 pedophiles out of which some have already been arrested, and hundreds of victims have also been identified.

While the website is now offline, the ethical side of the story remains unanswered.

Carolina

Carolina works for HackRead as a technical writer. She is a Brazilian traveller who has been to almost every country around the world. She has a keen interest in technology, gadgets and social media.