There are a lot fewer child porn pages on the dark web, thanks to an infamous hacker group dedicated to their mission of cyber-vigilantism.
Anonymous, a notorious group of “hacktivists,” recently left their mark on the dark web, says a new report published on HackRead. The dark web is a publicly inaccessible side of the internet where all sorts of illegal activities like child pornography and drug dealings are carried out secretively. Anonymous has become known for targeting and attacking internet service providers, organizations and institutions that violate human rights. So, when Anonymous got the tip-off about child porn services on the dark web, there was bound to be some fireworks.
Child Sexual Exploitation & The Dark Web
Reportedly, an Anonymous-affiliated hacker group has managed to take down the Freedom Hosting II servers, affecting more than 10,000 websites, gathering the email IDs of more than 380,000 users, and grabbing 74GB of files from the servers. Freedom Hosting II is regarded as one of the largest hosting services on the dark web with hosting rights of around 20% of all the sites on the underground platform. According to researcher Sarah J. Lewis, the websites bears the domain .onion and can be accessed through Tor, a browser program that conceals its users’ identities and their online activity from surveillance. In order to remain free from criminal charges, those who visit the dark web use these types of browsers.
After the targeted hacking, whoever visited these websites was welcomed by this message:
“Hello, Freedom Hosting II, you have been hacked.”
Although some of Anonymous’ past actions have been less than legal, the group’s vigilante mission makes them strictly against the creation and distribution of child pornography online. Because child pornography is illegal, Anonymous believes that it has carried out a social service by attacking the server. The hackers revealed that more than half of the files hosted by Freedom Hosting II servers were linked to child porn.
This is not the first time when Anonymous has done something like this. In 2015, the hacktivists shut down the world’s largest x-rated animal abuse forum and also deleted several animal abuse websites from the Internet.
Child Sexual Exploitation & The Porn Industry
Child pornography has become more prevalent and larger than we would ever like to imagine. The people who actually get caught for the crime are just the tip of the iceberg. Child pornography is a business that has been expanding virally on the web for years and the material is only getting worse. In 2008, Internet Watch Foundation found 1,536 individual child abuse domains. Every week there are over 20,000 images of child pornography posted on the web. Furthermore, U.S Customs Services estimates that illegal child pornography is offered by approximately 100,000 websites. We’re here to raise awareness on the reality of the booming underground child porn industry and its massive negative effects on society.
While the New York Times reports that about 1.1 million men in the U.S. are diagnosable with the mental illness of pedophilia, not all child porn viewers are pedophiles. While some child-porn viewers can be classified with this diagnosable disorder, sometimes, a select few porn viewers find themselves attracted to pedophilic content after years of legal porn use. Similar to other drug or behavioral addictions like gambling, research has shown that porn is a behavior that escalates.
Every day, children are filmed while they’re sexually abused and the content is then distributed worldwide, and it fosters deeply unhealthy ideas about children. It’s a booming underground industry that continues to grow year after year. Think about it. Is it logical to think that the first time someone like former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle viewed porn, he went straight to searching “child porn” or “violent porn” right off the bat? In all actuality, probably not. Criminals caught for child porn most often started out by watching regular porn, and then eventually progressed into the more extreme, illegal material.
Not only is child pornography damaging to the viewer, it creates a demand, and when there is a demand there will always be a supplier ready to make money off of it. Child porn viewers do not appear out of thin air, they can develop with a history of “regular” pornography use, or their porn preferences stem from their pre-existing pedophilia. Watching porn can be a slippery slope to ideas and behavior that negatively affect the individual and our society as a whole.
What YOU Can Do
Join this important fight and add your voice to the conversation. SHARE this article to help fight the plague of child porn and sexual exploitation.
Support the cause by repping our Stop the Demand tee which highlights the link between porn and human trafficking. Click here to shop:
To report an incident involving the possession, distribution, receipt, or production of child pornography, file a report on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)’s website at www.cybertipline.com, or call 1-800-843-5678.