Police have arrested two men for sharing sexually explicit videos featuring underage participants over the eMule P2P network, the first such arrests for using an international P2P network in Japan.
The two suspects, salarymen aged 27 and 37, shared various videos, featuring participants “around the age of ten”.
“They knew both that the videos were illegal, and that they were providing them to overseas users” police say.
Police are pursuing an investigation into those with whom they shared the videos, but admit that assembling a case may be difficult due to the international nature of the transfers and the need to cooperate closely with police overseas.
The arrests are on charges of providing the illegal materials (or possessing with intent to supply), rather than for the newly introduced crime of “simple possession”.
This is said to be part of a wider international police operation, involving police from 74 countries, focused on the network; whether the Japanese police were the primary instigators of these arrests seems unclear.
Leaving aside the question of their alleged offences, for which they will likely receive little sympathy, this highlights the inferiority of many P2P networks popular internationally, in that they support minimal to no encryption, and have non-robust architectures.
eMule is a particular offender in this regard, having no real encryption support and an architecture which relies on public servers; similar criticisms might be leveled at Bittorrent.
Thus they are essentially able to exist only because of the relative indifference of law enforcement.
The three Japanese P2P networks, Winny, Share and Perfect Dark, all stand in stark contrast, being engineered with complete anonymity in mind; arrests have only followed after the first two have been years out of development.
Japanese users will doubtless reconsider using the international networks after these arrests, even if they do possess impressive size.