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Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 15:59 EDT

Tor Node Operator Arrested On Child Porn Charges

December 3, 2012
Image Credit: Photos.com

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

A 20-year-old Austrian man has been arrested and charged with distributing child pornography after it was discovered that illegal content had been distributed through privacy network servers that he operated.

According to Paul Mah of FierceCIO Tech Watch, the man in question is William Weber, an IT administrator from Graz who operated seven exit nodes on The Onion Router (Tor).

One of those nodes was allegedly used to transport images of illegal child sex abuse, BBC News added in a Friday report.

Weber told reporters that law enforcement personnel presented him with a court order at his place of work, requiring him to turn over his smartphone and return to his home with the officers for a search of the premises.

During their investigation, police confiscated 20 computers, various storage devices, a couple of tablet computers and handsets, and gaming consoles, Mah said.

“Weber worries that his arrest could set a precedent that Tor operators be held liable for content that is transmitted through their Tor networks,” Nicole Henderson of Web Host Industry Review wrote on Friday.

She also said that Weber says that he ran somewhere between five and ten nodes that were located in the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Austria, and Hong Kong, and delivered an estimated 30 terabytes of data daily.

Tor was originally invented by the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) as a way to “conceal official use” of the Internet, the BBC said. It works by sending data through multiple different nodes — “like the layers of an onion” — to allow people to browse websites anonymously, they explained.

The user’s Internet traffic is encrypted multiple times and is sent through a dedicated server, like the ones operated by Weber, which has its own IP address, Henderson added.

Weber, who is seeking donations to help fund his legal defense, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.


Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online