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Torrential Downpour Receptor - Internet Crimes Against Children COPS

Internet Crimes Against Children COPS

Article by Attorney Frank Svetlik
February 22, 2023

Why is law enforcement so afraid to have its investigative tools tested? BitTorrent network investigative technique secrecy and Freenet investigative technique disclosure.

The authors of the paper purporting to show a Forensically Sound Method of Identifying Downloaders and Uploaders in Freenet appear to be sincere in their desire to aid in efforts to curb the distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material which they equate with child pornography. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is the base for most of the authors of this paper and include persons identified as having been the author of Torrential Downpour Receptor and Torrential Downpour which focus on persons using the protocol of the BitTorrent network.

In the paper presented at the CCS ’20 November 9-13, 2020 as a Virtual Event Brian Levine and Brian Lynn pay homage to and tout their compliance with Daubert criteria in which they claim to have adopted the Daubert standard as the definition of forensic soundness by: (i) publishing their method earlier in a peer reviewed IEEE Workshop and submitting the extended version of the paper for peer review; (ii) basing their methods on a testable hypothesis; (iii) stating a known error rate for their method; (iv) following an existing set of standards for their method; and (v) using methods generally accepted within the scientific community.

Both Freenet and BitTorrent:

  1. Are peer to peer file sharing systems.
  2. Are decentralized meaning that they do not rely on a central server.
  3. Provide the ability to handle large amounts of Data.
  4. Allow Users to upload and download more or less anonymously.
  5. Are used for distributing large files efficiently.

Freenet emphasizes the protection of its users’ anonymity and freedom of speech while BitTorrent may be thought to focus on the efficient downloading of files.

Certainly, the authors of the paper dealing with identifying Freenet Uploaders and Downloaders know how to approach getting Daubert factors gathered and approved so that their work can be recognized as that of experts and accepted in the scientific community. Yet for unknown reasons there has been no published or publicized effort by these authors to address the Daubert factors for the Torrential Downpour or Torrential Downpour Receptor or the Roundup Torrential Downpour software products and the results they yield in obtaining indictments and subsequent convictions for Possession of Child Pornography or Distribution of Child Pornography. Instead law enforcement witnesses insist that the software is a law enforcement privileged secret They protest that if the software were disclosed or tested by independent third parties that the result would be the ability of lawbreakers to alter their methods of operation to avoid detection, the revelation of how the investigators and their investigative computers appear on the BitTorrent network, the identification of the files which they use in their investigations and perhaps other calamitous events setting the efforts of law enforcement back and advancing the cause of lawbreakers in the Child Pornography area.

One of the principal witnesses who travels about the United States testifying about the necessity of keeping Torrential Downpour and Torrential Downpour Receptor secret and out of the hands of third party evaluators asserts that the software has a zero error rate and that there are no false positives generated in its operation. He claims to be the keeper of the list of infohashes of torrents which are investigated from time to time. He asserts that the popularity of a particular infohash as the subject of a search can and will diminish over time so it is necessary to modify the list of infohashes which Torrential Downpour Receptor and Torrential Downpour investigate. His testimony has revealed that the number of infohashes being investigated at any time varies from somewhere over seventeen hundred to something less than twenty four hundred.

In contrast the paper described above related that the authors “harvested” over 124,000 “manifest keys” which are URIs necessary to retrieve and reconstruct the original files. Of these 124,000 manifest keys the authors assert that “many” referenced Child Sexual Abuse Materials. Whatever their data base of Child Pornography turned out to be it may very well have been larger than the fluctuating inventory of infohashes and files used by Torrential Downpour investigative computers at any one time.

The concern by the guardians of Torrential Downpour Receptor and Torrential Downpour over the propensity of possessors and distributors of child pornography to change their habits and actions to avoid detection appears to be misplaced. The portion of the paper on the Freenet which is entitled Responsible Disclosure quoted below reveals that no discernable action was taken in response to telling the world that the users’ identity could be easily disclosed.

Our method has been disclosed publicly and Freenet developers are aware of it. To our knowledge, they have taken no actions because of it. Since before our disclosure, Freenet’s website has warned users that it provides limited protection and is vulnerable in language so broad that it covers our work. The installed software also warns that “it may be quite easy for others to discover your identity” and that it is connecting to “strangers” and lists “neighbors” as untrusted peers."

The conclusion must be that the human condition tends to induce a belief that detection of illegal activity will not be visited upon the individual engaged in the conduct and that anyone detected will be someone else. The assertion that disclosure of any detail of the Torrential Downpour Receptor or the Torrential Downpour software would result in alteration of the evildoers’ behavior is incorrect if the experience of investigators of child pornography on the Freenet is any indication.

If you have reason to be concerned about the issues addressed in this writing call Attorney Frank Svetlik 713-724-8538, an attorney familiar with matters of interest to those accused of possession or distribution or promotion of Child Pornography.