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

Last week, the Dutch police seized the servers for anonymity IB, after a one-year investigation. The panel of images has been notorious for its use as a revenge pornography repository, as well as for the threads that have been trafficked by the users who identified the women in the images.

Anon-IB was an anonymous, free message board that allowed users to post images, and was organized by location and subject. It was part of an online ecosystem in which users exchanged images from one place to another as interchangeable letters.

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

Police say that four of the suspects have a considerable amount of personal data from "a few hundred" women they targeted, taken from email, social networks and cloud storage accounts that they hacked. Earlier this month, RTL News in the Netherlands reported that they had found a large number of these images (many of which they suspected were from minors) hosted on a private cloud account in New Zealand, and converted their access to the police

The Anon-IB address now redirects to a statement posted on PasteBin, saying it is "vehemently [denies] any and all allegations regarding pornography of revenge and child pornography. We do, and have never advocated or participated in publishing and / or sharing pornography for revenge or the subject as disgusting as child pornography. "

But despite the Anon-IB claim, the image panel has been used to store porn revenge in the past: it was cited as a place where hundreds of celebrity images were circulated, and after a report and closure of a secret Facebook group called Marines United last year, many of the former members of the group migrated from Facebook to Anon-IB to host images, discussions and requests for images of specific women.

The owners of Anon-IB say that they probably will not relaunch the site, but while it seems to be a significant blow for people who share revenge pornography, its members have migrated to other platforms, such as Discord, to start over.