Last November, the FBI raided a bulletin board-style site that was known to be a home of child pornography. But rather than shutting it down, they decided to keep it running—and see just how many users they could identify.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Bureau agents posed as child porn dealers, actively distributing pornography while the site was under their control—just as other agencies perform sting operations with drugs and prostitution.
It's not yet clear if the technique worked that well: in the two week period, the FBI attempted to identify 5,600 users who had shared over 10,000 images of children, but s0 far it's only known that one suspect's computers have been seized. Still, it might be too early to judge. The investigation is still, apparently, in its early stages and, while nobody has yet been prosecuted, charges are believed to be forthcoming.
What can, perhaps, be judged, is the ethical position of distributing child pornography to incriminate suspects. Is it worse than supplying drugs in a sting? Or is it fair game given the end result? What do you think? [San Francisco Chronicle via Verge]
Image by Oleksiy & Tetyana under Creative Commons license
Android app arms police with real-time data
Some 400 police officers in New York have been equipped with Android smartphones and a new crime-fighting Android app under a pilot scheme, the New York Times reports.
The app is designed to give officers the ability to run person and address searches, bringing in information from several different sources. Officers can look up police records on individuals, including photos, and access vehicle registration records. The app is also fully location-aware -- NYPD officer Tom Donaldson told the NYT “If I see that in the last month, there have been six arrests on the seventh floor for drug trafficking, maybe I want to hang out on the seventh floor for a while.”
Police would previously have had to rely on cumbersome laptop-based systems in their patrol cars to retrieve this info, or radio details back to a dispatcher. The app, officers tell the NYT, offers a much easier way to access this data. Donaldson explains, “Our dispatcher will tell us if they have a warrant or not but it’s a simple yes or no answer. I don’t know if the guy is wanted for murder or for not paying a parking summons. We rarely know. Now we know.”
This little toddler is starting off on his life of crime early, as he uses a pair of nail clippers to crack into his big sister’s bedroom and swipe her toys at night. Even better yet, his proud parents posted the video on YouTube.
These guys outside an IKEA in Russia make grand theft auto look so easy. Instead of using stolen keys or hotwiring the car, they pick it up and carry it. Done using one of these. Um, we think.
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