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Austrian Tor operator arrested for child pornography transmitted through his Tor exit node

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image thumb2411Even though we’ve warned about the dangers of running a TOR exit node, this is a bit alarming. William Weber, a 20-year-old IT administrator in Graz, Austria, has been charged with distribution of child pornography for kiddie porn that was transmitted through a TOR exit node he was running.  According to his blog:

“On Wednesday morning, around 10:00 AM local time, the apartment of the Austrian William Weber was raided by the LKA, a government agency, as a part of their investigation into a child pornography ring operating on/over the TOR anonymity network. During the raid, numerous computers and other electronic devices, as well as legal and registered firearms and some other items, were seized.”

During the raid, police confiscated around 20 computers, external hard drives, USB flashdrives, tablets (2 iPads) and his phones (Samsung Galaxy Note and a HTC PDA).  He pointed out that servers were not shut down properly during the raid – police simply ripped the power cords out of the wall (ouch).  Police also confiscated legal firearms (huh?), cable TV receiver, Xbox 360, a pocket knife, and his stash of drugs (oh man, this hurts your case buddy).

Weber was allowed to examine the logs and told police that the child porn came through one of the seven TOR exit nodes that he operated.  He also mentioned that he had experienced similar problems with a Tor exit node he ran on a cloud server in Poland (live and learn buddy).

“I could not make them understand why I would “waste” resources and bandwidth (translating into money) to run a TOR node. I informed them that I was already contacted by the Polish police in May about this IP, regarding hacking attempts originating from it. Back then I had already explained to Polish police that this was a TOR exit node, and that no logfiles were held.”

For now, we’ll simply reiterate: Nobody has been convicted of running a Tor exit node and EFF argues that the practice is perfectly legal.  Still, if you run a Tor exit node, you’re gonna set yourself up for some scary times.

Source: William Weber blog