Fed Lets Loose Alleged Child Pornographer To Avoid Giving Away Surveillance Tactics

The Department Of Justice filed a motion to dismiss in Washington State federal court on Friday to dismiss it’s indictment against a child porn site reports Wired.com. It wasn’t due to a lack of evidence or a worry of losing the case; It was the FBI, unwilling to divulge details regarding a hacking tool to the Defense as part of discovery. 

“Evidence in United States v. Jay Michaud hinged at least in part on information federal investigators had gathered by exploiting a vulnerability in the Tor anonymity network.”

“Because the government remains unwilling to disclose certain discovery related to the FBI’s deployment of a ‘Network Investigative Technique’ (‘NIT’) as part of its investigation into the Playpen child pornography site, the government has no choice but to seek dismissal of the indictment,” Federal Prosecutor Annette Hayes stated in the court filing on Friday. She noted that the DoJ’s work to resist disclosing the NIT was part of “an effort to balance the many competing interests that are at play when sensitive law enforcement technology becomes the subject of a request for criminal discovery.”

Michaud’s lawyer asked the court to force the FBI to hand over information on the NIT. The FBI countered, saying it wouldn’t turn over the information even if ordered to do so, reports Techdirt.com 

Essentially, the Fed is letting an alleged child pornographer free for now, so that officials can potentially catch other dark-web using criminals in the future. They can take the case up again while it remains within the statute of limitations. Still, the idea is enough to leave a bad taste in your mouth.


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