FBI Takes Down Massive Child Abuse Network Posing as Pedophiles Online
Feds take control of sex offenders social media accounts
The FBI took control of a now convicted pedophile’s online accounts as part of a massive investigation into child abuse, according to a recent report from Forbes.
The FBI's search warrant revealed 23-year-old Utah native Daxton Hansen allowed authorities access to his Instagram and Kik accounts after he admitted he was watching child pornography following a search at his home.
An undercover FBI agent operated Hansen’s Kik account from “April 12, 2017, to at around November 13, 2018,” according to Forbes Thomas Brewster.
“As of today, the FBI’s Kik sting marks the first publicly documented case in which the U.S. government took over the social media of a child pornography suspect,” Brewster writes.
“In doing so, the agents let child abuse material spread for months after they had identified it.”
But the FBI has claimed that specific online investigations give them more chance of snaring additional suspects, rather than shutting down channels relating to child abuse.
But critics say that the method used by the feds only serves to make thing worse.
An associate at a New York-based law firm that has defended child abuse suspects, Adam M. Elewa, said that “anywhere from hundreds to thousands of children were revictimized as means to the government’s investigative ends” during the Hansen case.
But Brewster says that despite the months-long operation, “no subsequent prosecutions based on the protracted sting have emerged.”
Police Caught Sabotaging Child Abuse Investigations, Court Hears | Neon Nettle https://t.co/8NDSsx4U83— Mdl-Murray (@MdlMurray) January 19, 2019
“The warrant also doesn’t disclose whether the agent distributed illegal content or simply tracked others’ activities,” Brewster writes.
“And there’s no indication as to when the chat rooms were shut down if they ever were.”
Online social platform Kik said in a statement that it was not made aware of ongoing stings against child abuse rings.
No similar operations about Hansen’s Instagram account where disclosed by the FBI.
“By its own admission, the FBI said 9,000 images and 200 videos were made available by Playpen users while it operated the site from February 20 to March 4, 2015,” Brewster adds.
“An additional 13,000 links to child pornography were posted during the FBI’s administration of the site.”
According to a report from The Daily Mail last year, more than 2,300 pedophiles were arrested after a federal sting which targeted sex offenders operating online.
The Department of Justice stated the arrests revealed that the effort was called Operation Broken Heart.
All 50 states joined in catching the pedophiles.
Their alleged crimes range from sexually abusing children to creating and distributing child porn.
The operation began in March and lasted until May 2018
The names of the alleged offenders were not released.
Of the 2,300 who were arrested, 195 offenders either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse.
Police identified 383 children who suffered recent, ongoing, or historical sexual abuse or who were used in child pornography.