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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 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.

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

deusx

macrumors newbie
Jul 1, 2016
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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?
 
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goobot

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Jun 26, 2009
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Christoffee

Contributor
Jul 26, 2012
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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!
 
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fitshaced

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2011
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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!
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.
 
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applepuree

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
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http://www.apple.com/privacy/government-information-requests/

"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"
 
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Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
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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.
 
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Glassed Silver

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2007
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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
 
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djcerla

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2015
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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?
 
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goobot

macrumors 603
Jun 26, 2009
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long island NY
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.
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?
https://www.macrumors.com/2016/04/15/apple-fbi-new-york-iphone-appeal/
The iPhone 5s in question is running an earlier version of iOS (iOS 7) that Apple does have the means to access, but Apple is refusing to do so after taking a stronger stance on encryption and customer privacy.
 
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vooke

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2014
268
238
http://www.apple.com/privacy/government-information-requests/

"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"
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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