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FBI's Dark Web Child Porn Investigation Stretched to Norway

• http://motherboard.vice.com

Nearly two years after its inception, more details about the largest known law enforcement hacking campaign are still coming to light. According to local media reports, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation provided information to Norwegian authorities from its large-scale investigation into child pornography site Playpen.

The case highlights the FBI's use of malware to search computers overseas, as the US prepares to usher in new powers for judges to authorize hacking operations, which experts have described as the broadest expansion of extraterritorial surveillance power since the FBI was created.

Late last week, Norwegian police said they had arrested 51 people on suspicion of child pornography crimes as part of its own "Operation Dark Room." Authorities have taken 150TB of material, making it one of the largest seizures in Norwegian history, the announcement reads.

The operation originated with the FBI's crackdown of dark web site Playpen, Bergens Tidende reported, although it is not clear how many of those 51 arrests were directly related to the FBI's tip-offs.

In 2015, the FBI took over Playpen, and ran it for 13 days from a government server. During this time, the agency deployed a piece of malware it calls a network investigative technique, or NIT, in order to grab site users' real IP addresses. The FBI then provided these IP addresses and other technical information to law enforcement agencies internationally. Judging by a report on Norwegian site VG.no, that includes authorities in Norway.

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