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      A Hacker Scrubbed Child-Porn Links from the Dark Web's Most Popular Site

      March 13, 2014

      This story came from Motherboard, our tech website. Read more at Motherboard.tv.

      Accessible only with anonymizing Tor software, the deep web is an important bastion for private communication, as wellfor hocking drugs, peddling the occasional rhino horn, and other activities too offensive or illegal for the surface web. It's one of the last places where the internet still feels like an uncensored Wild West.

      But the recent hack of the Hidden Wiki, a site long known as the essential start page for anyone first visiting the deep web, has brought to the fore an intrinsic tension in the fight against censorship. Along with anarchist message boards and merchants selling counterfeit bills, the Hidden Wiki also once linked to sites purporting to provide child pornography.

      Hidden Wiki was hijacked by a hacker known as Intangir, who runs Doxbin, a site that describes itself as "as judge, jury, and executioner for all matters relating to Onionland." In a message on the Doxbin site, Intangir wrote that he'd support Hidden Wiki mirror sites that "A. Don't link to child porn site and B. Allow community editing." 

      In an email, Intangir said of the hack that "the opportunity presented itself, so it was taken. Doxbin has always been about owning and exposing people with poor opsec." (Side note: Intangir actually wouldn't reveal his or her gender, but I'll go with "he.")

      As to the decision to eliminate links to underage porn, also known as "hard candy," Intangir said that the goal was to do something good while showing that the Hidden Wiki had terrible security. "Making a demand that ultimately leads to a good thing is NOT something that people who have followed my site closely expect, so that made the good deed that much more entertaining," he said.

      Or, as he put it on Twitter:

      a tl;dr for those just tuning in: The Hidden Wiki had worse opsec than Dread Pirate Roberts, and I took its domain as a trophy. (1/2).

      — DOXBIN (@OneTrueDoxbin) March 11, 2014

      I then let everyone sweat it out for a day and used my control of THW onion as a bargaining chip to suppress CP links on HW clones. (2/2)

      — DOXBIN (@OneTrueDoxbin) March 11, 2014

      In 1 move, I did more to limit CP access than all the Twitter pedo hunters of the last 3 years. What have you done today?

      — DOXBIN (@OneTrueDoxbin) March 11, 2014

      While child porn is a hard thing to defend, the hack was rebutted by some hardline anti-censorship types who argued on principle that any form of informational removal is harmful. 

      In a post on /r/Tor—that, to be fair to the subreddit, has as many downvotes as upvotes—a reddit user wrote "Don't get me wrong here, I agree that the way the people who are into Hard Candy are taking advantage of children too young to count to 100 is sickening, but there have simply been too many acts of valor 'For the kids' that have been harmful," and referenced things like the UK's porn ban, which has been a failure from the start.

      At the end of the day, the redditor wrote, it's "about keeping Tor free":

      WillieLikesMonkeys isn't alone. Yesterday, the main Hidden Wiki mirror promoted by Doxbin featured an announcement explaining that the site would no longer include links to child porn, and pled with users not to get angry about any perceived censorship:

      A small note on another part of the site laments the change while promoting a separate wiki:

      Today, a message on the site's talk page reads [sic]:

      You're being exaggerated
      This wiki is a clone from the one you seem to adore.
      The only difference is the hard candy section. Even Jailbait remains.
      So please, stop complaining about your pedo thing. 

      According to Intangir, the new head of the Hidden Wiki mirror actually suggested that he remove child-porn links in trade for ownership of the site.

      "As for the CP links removal demand, I was going to issue demands and see what happened, but he came to me and expressed a willingness to get rid of Hard Candy in the initial e-mail," Intangir wrote. "He wanted the private_key, but I wouldn't give that up. It wasn't much of a negotiation, and he's even told me that he's ok with our e-mails going public."

      Still, the apologetic note originally posted on the site suggests that some users are disappointed that even the Hidden Wiki could have limits imposed. Intangir said he doesn't much care.

      "What I love about these neckbeards complaining about censorship is that if someone put their dox up, they would be filling up my inbox with things like 'TAKE THIS DOWN INTERNET FREEDOM ETC' and I would just add the crying to their dox and make fun of them," he wrote. "If someone added a pro-NSA page to the wiki, they would probably edit it or at least spam the talk page about having it taken down, yet they're ok with cp links."

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      Topics: Deep Web, dark web, hidden wiki, kiddie porn, child pornography, Tor, onion, doxbin, Motherboard, internet

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