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Evidence FBI Gathered While Running Porn Site Thrown Out Again

• theintercept.com by Alex Emmons

Like the previous ones, the decision was based on a jurisdictional technicality: Rule 41 of criminal procedure holds that magistrate judges can only authorize searches inside their jurisdiction – meaning a judge in one district cannot authorize a search in a different geographical location.

The hack in question was part of an investigation into a child pornography website called Playpen. Playpen was hosted on the dark web, meaning that users could only access it through a service that concealed their IP address, making it impossible for the FBI to tell who was accessing the site and downloading child pornography.

In 2014, the FBI received a tip from a foreign intelligence agency that Playpen's server was operating out of Lenoir, N.C. The FBI seized the server, but instead of shutting the website down, continued running it — placing a copy of the site on government-run servers in Virginia.


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