In a coordinated International operation by several nations, Dark Web-based child pornography and sexual exploitation content site ‘Welcome to Video’ was brought down for good.
- ‘Welcome to Video’, a dark web site that sold more than 250,000 child sexual exploitation and abuse videos was brought down.
- The highly graphic and cringeworthy content included films of extremely young children being raped.
- Bitcoin is at the center of such horrific, illegal operations on the Dark Web.
In an operation led by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Republic of Korea, authorities brought down the South Korean Dark Website called “Welcome to Video”. The website was a platform for selling child sexual exploitation and abuse videos for digital cash.
The site traded more than 250,000 videos containing sexual abuse.
The highly graphic and cringeworthy content includes films of extremely young children being raped. Bitcoin, the once global rage is the main currency for such trades.
Welcome to Video: An Ugly Truth
Welcome to Video’s upload page specifically states not to upload Adult Video. The website has a South Korean operator named Jong-Woo Son.
Welcome to Video also had 337 operators in 12 different countries involved in the racket. All were arrested.
Son, currently serving an 18-month sentence in South Korea, is also convicted on federal charges in Washington. Along with him, authorities have charged several others in the case. They are serving prison sentences of up to 15 years, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
WTV is one of the first websites that monetized child pornography based on sexual exploitation using bitcoin. Bitcoin dealings allow users to hide their identities during financial transactions. A user is able to redeem the digital currency in return for “points” which then can be utilized for downloading videos or buying all-you-can watch “VIP” accounts. Uploading fresh child pornography also earns points for users.
Official Operation by Authorities
These are the bottom feeders of the criminal world, said Don Fort, chief of criminal investigation at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Don Fort initiated the investigation of ‘child pornography and sexual exploitation website’.
The Justice Department revealed that the site was able to collect at least $370,000 worth of bitcoin.
Three unnamed digital currency exchanges laundered the currency before takedown in March 2018.
Fort further added that a tip received by the IRS triggered the investigation. He kept the source confidential. On the other hand, Britain’s National Crime Agency cited that they came across the website during an investigation into a British academic. The person, who in October 2017 pleaded guilty, of blackmailing more than 50 people, including teenagers. He used to compel them into sending depraved images that he shared online.
Many Officials in the United States and some other places have recently begun poking tech giants to come up with solutions that enable law enforcement to bypass the encryption. The encryption protects messaging apps like WhatsApp or iMessage, citing the fight against child pornography as a major reason.
Dr*g Trafficking on Dark Web
Dr*g Trafficking is another prime business on the Dark Web. It also sees hundreds of transactions backed by digital currencies like Bitcoin manufactured every day on the platform.
In light of the bust on the Dark Web Child Porn website, the officials are now also focusing on Dr*g Trafficking networks.
As with the case of WTV, Bitcoin can again be of major assistance in accomplishing the underlying task. Welcome To Video’s demise is a clear suggestion that in such cases where there’s very low-hanging fruit, breaking encryption is not required, said Christopher Parsons, a senior research associate at Citizen Lab, based at the University of Toronto’s Munk School.
He further added that the bust proved that law enforcement could also track criminal activity that employs cryptocurrency transactions. There are a lot of people who infer that bitcoin is totally anonymous, Parsons said. Consequently, it’s been the downfall of many people in many investigations according to Christopher.
- Websites like WTV monetize child pornography and sexual exploitation where Bitcoin dealings allow users to hide their identities during financial transactions.
- In light of the bust on the Dark Web Child Porn website, the focus now shifts to Dr*g Trafficking networks using Bitcoin.
- Dr*g Trafficking is another prime business on the Dark Web which sees hundreds of transactions every day, backed by digital currencies like Bitcoin.