Tor operator raided on allegations of child pornography

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An Austrian man has been charged with child pornography, which was detected to have passed through his computer. One of the seven Tor exit nodes operated by William Weber, a 20-year-old IT administrator who lives in Graz, Austria, was allegedly used to transport the illegal images.

According to Weber, he was presented with a court order at his work place that compelled him to surrender his smartphone. He had to bring the officers back to his home where they conducted a search and confiscated his computers and some other items. In total, the officials took away 20 computers, various storage devices, a couple of tablets and smartphones, and gaming consoles.

"My storage cubes were confiscated without any regard for the hardware," he wrote in a blog that carried a blow-by-blow account of what happened. "The power cords were simply ripped out/hard shutdown, instead of properly shutting them down by the operating system."

Tor is a popular software tool designed to allow users to maintain the privacy of their online activities by protecting against traffic analysis. Run by volunteers, the anonymizer network encrypts data from node to node in order to obfuscate its source. The last Tor node is known as the exit node, and appears as the originator of the communication.

Weber told Ars Technica that he typically ran from five to 10 Tor nodes at a time, and estimates that about 30 terabytes of data are carried by his servers in locations such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Austria and Hong Kong per day. For now, the charges that have been slapped on him could mean between six to 10 years in prison. Weber is currently raising funds for his legal defense.

For more:
- check out this article at Ars Technica

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