The FBI's back in the news again, this time using its powers and computers for good in tracking down users who accessed online child porn. The mystery is, the browsers were using supposed anonymous and trackless browsing protocol Tor, so... how did the US nerds do it?
We won't know, even though the case is currently being dragged through the US courts. The situation's been made public by the defence for one alleged user of the porn site, who wants to know if the FBI overstepped its authority in tracking porn browsers and if the identification is indeed valid. Despite being ordered to reveal its processes by a judge, lawyers for the Department of Justice have refused to do so, instead releasing a statement from FBI agent Daniel Alfin, who explained via the usual sort of lumpen layman security analogy that: "Knowing how someone unlocked the front door provides no information about what that person did after entering the house."
It's not quite as bad news for users of Tor as it might seem. Rather than the FBI magicking up a complete tracking solution, the case revolves around a sting operation where a porn site was seized and subsequent users were monitored. So there was an element of insider access to the security service's cracking of Tor routing. [Vice via BBC]