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Apple Helped FBI Identify Alleged Owner of World's Largest Torrent Site

kickasstorrents_500x500U.S. authorities have arrested the alleged owner of the world's largest torrent site after Apple shared personal details linked to an iTunes transaction that enabled federal investigators to locate their suspect.

According to TorrentFreak, Ukranian-born Artem Vaulin was arrested yesterday in Poland on suspicion of running KickassTorrents (KAT), which recently surpassed The Pirate Bay as the go-to site for unofficial copies of movies, TV shows, and music.

The U.S. Justice Department has requested 30-year-old Vaulin's extradition on charges of criminal copyright infringement and money laundering. The key piece of evidence that led authorities to Vaulin appeared to come when Apple handed over his personal details after investigators matched an IP address used to log in to the KAT Facebook page with one linked to an iTunes purchase.

Filed in a U.S. District Court in Chicago, the criminal complaint reads: "Records provided by Apple showed that tirm@me.com conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 109.86.226.203 on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook."

According to the complaint, KAT operates in 28 languages and offered movies still in cinemas, as well as other content, earning significant revenue from advertising throughout the site. Investigators also reportedly posed as an advertiser to the site, which revealed a bank account associated with it.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates KAT's value to be over $54 million, with annual advertising revenue in the range of $12.5 million to $22.3 million. KAT reportedly helped distribute over $1 billion in pirated files, according to assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell, who commented on the case.
"In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits," said Caldwell. "His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice."
In addition to Vaulin's extradition, the criminal complaint has also ordered the seizure of a bank account associated with the site, as well as the seizure of several KAT domain names. TorrentFreak reports that while the main KAT domain appears to be down, various proxies still lead to working versions of the site.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


Top Rated Comments

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8 months ago
Apple values its customers' right to privacy and will not hand over personal details to the FBI and will contest it in court.... (unless you dare to compete with iTunes)

(j/k)
Rating: 97 Votes
8 months ago
The world is on fire, and the FBI is chasing torrent users...
Rating: 88 Votes
8 months ago

Apple values its customers' right to privacy and will not hand over personal details to the FBI and will contest it in court.... (unless you dare to compete with iTunes)

(j/k)


I was thinking the same thing. WTF Apple? Sad, real sad. Let the terrorist go, but not the copyright infringer...
Rating: 61 Votes
8 months ago

What happened to that whole "Privacy" buzz You've been banging on about Apple?


Basic knowledge of the matter would help here.

Apple has ALWAYS helped investigations, when requested. But what Apple can't do is crack an encrypted iPhone (see: FBI case).

But who cares about truth, and logic, when there's such fine material for good old trolling?
Rating: 47 Votes
8 months ago
Bad Apple
Rating: 46 Votes
8 months ago
Embarrassed to say so, but it was one of my favorite and most used sites. :-/
Rating: 40 Votes
8 months ago
Torrenting a movie is worse than storing TS/SCI information in a server in a bathroom?
Rating: 37 Votes
8 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. WTF Apple? Sad, real sad. Let the terrorist go, but not the copyright infringer...


Two different things. Apple cannot decrypt encrypted data, but of course IP addresses of all iTunes transactions are logged. Apple is willing to help FBI and other officials as much as possible, but not at the cost of other users' privacy, which is what an encryption backdoor would create.

I don't understand why the sites just don't get removed from Google search if it's illegal. In fact can't they shut the whole website down..?


Torrent sites are hosted in numerous servers and domains all over the world. When you shut one down, another one spawns in a different location. It's an endless cat and mouse game, just like catching the owners. Even if KAT is shut down, it's a matter of weeks until a new site takes over. In the end, the sites are just link directories with a search engine - all torrents are uploaded by the users.
Rating: 33 Votes
8 months ago
What happened to that whole "Privacy" buzz You've been banging on about Apple?
Rating: 32 Votes
8 months ago
For real? I'm not entirely sure which part is most disturbing. The tremendous effort and resources spent to try and criminalise a guy on the other part of the world, for running a website, which distributes; in reality, text files and links? Or the fact that our beloved friend Apple, who cares so much about us and our privacy, who even captures all our spotlight searches with gps coordinate precision of our location irrespectively of our preferences, and who at any given point may very well give this (and other information they meticulously collect) to anyone, or even exploit it for themselves without anyone even noticing?
Rating: 30 Votes

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