At least three Minnesota men have been charged with participating in a vast, secretive child pornography internet forum after being swept up in a far-reaching FBI sting considered the biggest hacking investigation in federal law enforcement history. Operation Pacifier has also triggered a series of legal challenges that are stirring constitutional debates over how law enforcement tries to smoke out criminals in the darkest corners of the web.

Though it doesn’t consider hacking to be an inappropriate law enforcement tool by itself, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) worries about the scope of Operation Pacifier. “It’s evidence of the need for greater restrictions on law enforcement using this type of hacking,” said Mark Rumold, senior staff attorney for the EFF. “That’s not what’s happening right now, which is the doors are going to be flung wide open and this is going to happen more and more.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016
Star Tribune