The FBI kept a site facilitating the viewing and sharing of child pornography running for two weeks to try and catch pedophiles. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the agency raided what it describes as a bulletin board-type site back in November. Rather than shutting it down, investigators kept it open in the hope of identifying its users. The paper notes that while FBI agents have posed as child porn dealers (just as other law enforcement agencies organize stings around prostitution and drug dealing), this may be the first time the FBI has actively facilitated the sharing of child pornography.
Over the course of two weeks, the agency attempted to identify more than 5,600 users, responsible for sharing over 10,000 photos of children being abused. In total there were 24,000 posts on the site. The posts contained discussion related to pedophilia, including guides on how to avoid police detection by utilizing encryption and other tactics. According to The Chronicle, however, users most commonly chatted about shared interests: threads such as "how to lure a child in my car" were popular. The sting operation has resulted in the seizure of at least one suspect's computer, but the investigation is ongoing, and charges have yet to be filed.