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This article was published on February 18, 2016

    Judge orders FBI to reveal complete code for TOR exploit used in Playpen sting

    Judge orders FBI to reveal complete code for TOR exploit used in Playpen sting Image by: Getty Images/Hemera
    Bryan Clark
    Story by

    Bryan Clark

    Former Managing Editor, TNW

    Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

    In January we dove into a dubious operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) that resulted in the former running the world’s largest child sex abuse site, Playpen.

    Jay Michaud, one of the accused, and his attorneys had previously argued the operation was “gross misconduct by government and law enforcement agencies” and called into question the warrant obtained to use the network investigative technique (NIT) — an exploit designed to penetrate a users computer over the TOR network — as well as jurisdiction and how exactly this piece of malware worked.

    Today, a federal judge ordered that the FBI disclose how it went about gathering this evidence by revealing the complete source code for the TOR exploit used to ensnare Michaud, and others, during its operation of Playpen.

    The order would require the FBI deliver the source for its exploit so that Michaud’s attorney’s could better understand how it worked and if the evidence gathered was covered under the scope of the warrant in order to prepare a proper defense for their client.

    Of course, if the FBI declined to provide the information, it wouldn’t be the first time it’s ignored a court order.

    Brad Heath [Twitter]