Kenyans arrested over global child pornography syndicate
US authorities have smashed a worldwide child pornography syndicate, which involves Kenyans who trade in illicit images over the Internet using sophisticated encryption.
Investigators said an estimated 600 people used a members-only Internet bulletin board, Dreamboard, to access the porn images.
Dreamboard had more than 70 members from Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, The Netherlands, Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland.
In Nairobi, police boss Anthony Kibuchi said they had arrested and arraigned in court at least 10 suspects in connection with pornography in the past week alone.
Federal prosecutors have filed charges against 72 people in what they described as the largest prosecution ever of an online child pornography operation.
Agents are yet to identify all those involved in the illegal activity because of the extensive encryption used by members, NBC News reported.
A total of 62 people were arrested in five continents, including 43 in the US, where the ring based its Internet bulletin board, authorities said.
Dreamboard has now been shut down, federal officials say.
US’ Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced details of the year-long investigation, dubbed Operation Delego, at a press conference on Wednesday.
Members traded graphic images and videos of adults molesting children aged 12 and below, often violently, and collectively created a massive private library of images of child sexual abuse.
Members went by nicknames such as "Perfesser," "Beast," "Catfish" and "Bones."
They accessed the board via proxy servers that routed Internet traffic through other computers so as to disguise a user’s actual location, authorities said.
"Some of the children featured in these images and videos were just infants," Holder said
"And, in many cases, the children being victimised were in obvious, and intense, pain — even ‘in distress and crying,’ just as the rules for one area of the bulletin board mandated."
At the press conference, Holder called the ring’s actions "unconscionable." He said what made it dangerous was that a member’s access to material on the site expanded based on the number of images each person contributed.
Members were required to upload new material at least every 50 days to maintain their access.
The rules of Dreamboard were printed in several languages including English, Russian, Japanese and Spanish, according to the indictments.
Members were classified into groups that included "VIP" and "Super VIP."
The latter were producers of child porn, prosecutors said.