Dutch police have shut down Anon-IB in the course of a revenge porn investigation

April 30, 2018
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Last week, Dutch Police seized the servers for anonymous image board Anon-IB, after a year-long investigation. The image board has been notorious for its use as a repository for revenge porn, as well as well-trafficked threads from users that identified the women in the images.

Anon-IB was a free, anonymous message board that allowed users to post images, and was organized by location and subject. It was part of an online ecosystem where users traded images back and forth like trading cards.

This particular investigation began in March 2017 after a woman discovered that some of her personal images had been stolen and posted online. She made a complaint to authorities, and the subsequent investigation led officers to a 31-year-old Culemborg man, who was found to have a number of other images from other women. He, in turn, led them to additional suspects: a 35-year-old Groningen man, a 28-year-old Heerlen man, all of whom knew each other through Anon-IB. There, they sought images from specific women and used it to share the stolen images. Authorities have also taken data from two additional suspects, a 19-year-old Terneuzen man and a 26-year-old Geleen man.

The police say that four of the suspects have a considerable amount of personal data from “a few hundred” women that they targeted, taken from e-mail, social media, and cloud storage accounts that they hacked. Earlier this month, RTL News in The Netherlands reported that it had found a large number of these images (many of which they suspected were of minors) were hosted in a private cloud account in New Zealand, and turned their access over to the police.

The address for Anon-IB now redirects to a statement posted to PasteBin, saying that it “vehemently [denies] any and all accusations regarding revenge porn, and child pornography. We do not, and we have never advocated or participated in posting and/or sharing of revenge porn or the subject matter as sickening as child pornography.”

But despite Anon-IB’s statement, the image board has been used to store revenge porn in the past: it was cited as a place where hundreds of celebrity images were circulated, and following a report and shutdown of a secret Facebook group called Marines United last year, many of the group’s former members migrated from Facebook to Anon-IB to host images, discussions and solicitations of images of specific women.

Anon-IB’s owners say that they likely won’t relaunch the site, but while it appears to be a significant blow to the people who share revenge porn, its members have migrated to other platforms, such as Discord, to start again.



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