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

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    U.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 conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 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 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.

    Article Link: Apple Helped FBI Identify Alleged Owner of World's Largest Torrent Site
  2. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    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)

  3. load97 macrumors member


    Feb 29, 2012
    I was thinking the same thing. WTF Apple? Sad, real sad. Let the terrorist go, but not the copyright infringer...
  4. BrodieApple macrumors 6502


    Aug 16, 2015
    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..?
  5. ra.skill macrumors newbie


    Sep 11, 2015
    What happened to that whole "Privacy" buzz You've been banging on about Apple?
  6. vmachiel macrumors 68000

    Feb 15, 2011
    The world is on fire, and the FBI is chasing torrent users...
  7. BrodieApple macrumors 6502


    Aug 16, 2015
    Uh, no that's different. That would've ruined Apples encryption and it's customers privacy and security
  8. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    Them pirates, they need to be captured Arrgh.
  9. Radon87000 macrumors 604

    Nov 29, 2013
    But but wasn't Apple the messiah of privacy?.Apple doesn't share our data damn it.Thats evil Google's job
  10. Oirectine macrumors regular


    Aug 11, 2003
    Embarrassed to say so, but it was one of my favorite and most used sites. :-/
  11. deusx macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2016
    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?
  12. goobot, Jul 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016

    goobot macrumors 603


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    They asked Apple to open an iPhone running iOS 7 too which they are fully capable of doing since they hold the encryption keys for iOS 7 and down. Apple refused.
  13. Christoffee macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2012
    Maybe Artem Vaulin doesn't have an iPhone. He's therefore not an Apple customer.

    EDIT: Ahhh, but he does buy on iTunes. He is an Apple customer!
  14. attila macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2003
    It sure is great to get out of that bag.
    It's not that the whole website just sits on a computer in some bloke's basement.
  15. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    Which means he was probably the only one of all the people that downloaded his copy of Game of Thrones that actually paid for it. Just to be clear, I am only ever likely to be taking the pi$$ on topics like this.
  16. applepuree macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2014

    "Account Requests

    Responding to an Account Request most often involves providing information about a customer’s iCloud account. If we are legally compelled to divulge any information for an Account Request, we provide notice to the customer when allowed and deliver the narrowest set of information possible in response. Only a minuscule number of total accounts are actually affected by information requests. During calendar year 2015, Apple received 1,986 U.S. Account Requests and provided some data in 82% of these requests.

    Less than0.00612% of our overall number of customers have been affected by government information requests"
  17. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    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.

    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.
  18. Glassed Silver macrumors 68020

    Glassed Silver

    Mar 10, 2007
    Kassel, Germany
    I see, Apple.
    The very least I would have expected them to do is delay this and demand to be ordered by a court to hand over the information, unless that happened and the report left that out, I'm very disappointed, but somehow not surprised.

    One down, thousands to go.
    Meanwhile, 20 other new pages popped up, I'm sure in a very short time some site will be the new KAT using one of their database dumps and fishing for KAT's old users.
    Was the same with TPB and pretty much any other big torrent site before.

    Witch hunt, that's all this is.

    Glassed Silver:mac
  19. Vitaliy10036 macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2016
    I thought apple cares about customers when they didn't give finger ID to FBI, but looks like apple selects who they want to protect. DON'T TRUST APPLE ANYMORE
  20. sk1wbw Suspended


    May 28, 2011
    Williamsburg, Virginia
    Torrenting a movie is worse than storing TS/SCI information in a server in a bathroom?
  21. djcerla macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2015
    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?
  22. goobot macrumors 603


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
  23. Bathplug macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2010
  24. vooke macrumors 6502


    Jul 14, 2014
    If they can divulge 82% of the requested info, then statistically 82% of their overall customers are at risk.

    Just wondering, how did they get the IP address that logged on to Facebook?

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