Intellectual Property Theft - And a Worldwide Child Sex Trafficking Ring
Enforcing the Law is of Paramount Societal Import
The thing about criminals is - they commit lots of crimes. They don’t find one secluded illegal niche - into which they nestle down, breaking just this law or that one. Criminals - are criminals. They break laws - plural. Of all sorts. Their respect for the law is…hampered. They are quite comfortable - operating entirely outside the realm of legality.
But even amongst the criminal class - there are some lines which most will not cross. The most readily apparent line they draw - is abuse of children, especially sexual abuse. Child sex abusers fare particularly poorly in prison.
We non-criminals are, of course, utterly revulsed. It really is beyond comprehension.
So when a criminal ring is busted - and we discover one of their many crimes is child sex trafficking - it is unfathomably nauseating and pernicious. And the full weight of the legal system must be dropped directly upon them.
It was the pursuit of intellectual property (IP) thieves - that led to the other, awful discovery.
CoStar Sues Longtime Competitor Xceligent, Alleging Data Theft: “CoStar alleged it has found thousands of examples of its copyrighted photos and data on publicly accessible portions of Xceligent’s site.
“It also alleges that Xceligent contractors in India and the Philippines ‘bombard’ one of CoStar’s sites to copy CoStar’s content ‘despite technological blocking and repeated notice…that such conduct is prohibited.’…
“The filing of CoStar’s lawsuit was timed with the execution of a search-and-seizure order issued by a regional trial court in the Philippines that was requested by CoStar. That order…instructed sheriffs to raid offices of Avion BPO Corp., a Filipino company that CoStar alleges has been a contractor to Xceligent.
“According to the search-and-seizure order, the Filipino court found ‘probable cause’ that ‘Avion is committing contributory infringement by…stealing Costar Realty copyrighted photographs for the benefit of Xceligent, a client of Avion.’”
The raid on the massive server farm - netted more than just stolen IP.
“Backpage” is, amongst many other things, a child sex trafficking website. Much of their heinous catalog - was stored on servers on the same server farm as CoStar’s heisted IP.
Backpage Critics Find Surprise Ammunition in Philippines Raid: “It was a daring raid carried out with military precision in a remote city of the Philippines - an operation that yielded surprise ammunition for a legal battle over the classified ad site Backpage, which has been accused of promoting sex trafficking….
“The mastermind was the U.S. company CoStar, a multibillion-dollar enterprise that runs Apartments.com. The target: the headquarters for a firm called Avion where hackers were believed to be stealing proprietary real-estate photos and information on behalf of an industry rival.
“Wielding a court order, the teams swept through Avion's sprawling facility — eight hours from Manila and accessible by a single road — and emerged with 262 hard drives containing 35 terabytes of data.
“CoStar says the trove contained proof its intellectual property was being ripped off, a claim its competitor denies.
“But there was also something far more disturbing: indications that Backpage used Avion to drum up business in the sex trade overseas.… “‘We got 1.7 million photographs,’ Curtis Ricketts, senior vice president of CoStar, told NBC News of the December 2016 raid.
“‘It was building picture, building picture, porn, porn, prostitute ad, building picture and then - bang! - a picture that couldn't be anything other than, you know, child pornography.’…
“‘We just immediately shut the computer off, picked the phone up, called the attorneys. They called the FBI.’…
“An Avion employee manual includes step-by-step instructions on how to use a fake IP and email address to pose as someone responding to an adult ad on a rival site. It details how to create escort ads on competitor sites, by copying photos from real Backpage ads, to widen the pool of customers and then invite them to Backpage.”
We delve into all of this awfulness - to make a couple of points.
The obvious point is already made - Backpage’s repulsive site and practices should be legally crushed.
The other point is - IP theft…is theft. Crimes are crimes.
And crimes committed - erase the lines we as a society must have to exist in an orderly and sane fashion.
Down the road of lawlessness - lies madness.
This first appeared in Red State.