Judge concerned over FBI tactics in child porn sting

A federal judge says he has “ethical and legal” concerns about the FBI’s tactics in a massive internet child porn sting operation.

Judge Robert Bryan expressed his concern during a hearing in the trial of three Washington state men arrested as a result of what was dubbed “Operation Pacifier” — in which the FBI seized the server of a dark web child porn site and continued operating the site for two weeks while hacking into the computers of site users.

During the hearing, the deputy director of the DOJ’s New York-based Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Keith Becker, argued that allowing the site to remain active was an “investigative necessity.”“The government itself did not post or create child pornography,” Becker told the court.Bryan interrupted him.“Y’all were doing just exactly what the people who were in charge of that website were doing before you arrested them,” he said.At another point, as Becker was describing the “huge social costs” that would result if the court were to exclude evidence in these cases, Bryan stopped him again.“You talk about social costs? There are huge social costs in constitutional violations, too,” the judge said.

Read the full story from the Seattle Times here.

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