In the child pornography investigation conducted by the Argos taskforce, Motherboard has learned that Australian authorities hacked Tor users located in the US. While arrests were made around the world that were based on the evidence provided by Argos, recently-filed court documents raise questions on the legality of hacking users outside an agency’s jurisdiction.
Taskforce Argos is a specialist police unit that consists of not only standard police officers, but also detectives, IT specialists, and deepweb consultants. The Queensland-based police unit is responsible for taking down one of the most horrific child pornography sites in existence. The site, called The Love Zone, have over 29,000 members who were required to upload new material each month. One of the site members was known as Britain’s “worst-ever pedophile.”
In order to successfully gather enough evidence to prosecute hundreds of pedophiles and rescue 85 victims, Argos had to infiltrate the site. Through a series of arrests, agents were able to take control of The Love Zone. They arrested the site’s owner, kept the arrest from the media, and seamlessly took over the account.
Since The Love Zone was only accessible via Tor, law enforcement was unable to use standard tools to identify