ICE Uses Wide Set Of Tools To Hunt For Media Pirates

If you’re rebroadcasting copyrighted video streams how will the authorities ever track you down? Well it looks like you don’t even need to be the content originator, and they’ll track you down because you didn’t really cover your tracks in the first place. [Brian McCarthy] found this out the hard way when his domain name was seized by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement earlier this year.

So how did  they find him? They started by getting the records from the domain name registrar. He had used an alias instead of his real name so the next step in the investigation was to get a name from Comcast to go with the IP which had logged into the name registrar’s interface. They matched the Comcast account holder’s home address with the one given during domain registration, then matched the Gmail account registration infor from the registrar to the same person. The final piece of the puzzle was to stake out his house (no kidding) to confirm that [Brian] lived at the address uncovered by investigators.

ICE really went the whole nine yards. Especially if consider that the website they seized provided links to copyrighted media but didn’t actually host any of it. Nonetheless, [Brian] could find himself spending five years in the clink… ouch.

51 thoughts on “ICE Uses Wide Set Of Tools To Hunt For Media Pirates

  1. Yeah, this is on torrentfreak, doubt he’ll serve anything as he hasnt commited any crime (or well it hasnt been tested in court), his site shouldnt have been seized either

  2. Actually that happened also with, except that the owner lives in Spain, an the web had been declared legal twice by spanish judges.

    As they couldn’t close the web because it was legal they seized the domain name (which, by the way, is their right, as when registering a .com you accept USA law).

    It seems that if you are doing something legal in your country, but not so in the USA you’d better use a domain name not controlled by the USA. (RojaDirecta is now using

  3. If you read the actual article he paid with paypal for the domain. Also, he linked to copyrighted material and earned money off of it, close to $90,000 from advertising on his site. Which technically means he made money off of someone else’s copyrighted material. So he did something wrong, and got busted. Sucks to be him. Hope he gets the whole 5 years for being a retard.

  4. Wow, really? The country is in a financial crisis, every dollar counts, and this is what BO’s government agencies are up to?

    I really hate politicians. This current prez is failing so hard, I don’t know how he will ever get elected to another term. The fact that I fell for his BS and voted for him makes me want to throw myself off of a bridge. I hope the next one is better, but knowing politicians, they probably won’t be. Blah.

  5. @ Ekaj
    You sure have a lot to learn about how government works. President has no control over what a republican controlled senate and congress do.
    And what ICE does is not up to the President either.
    Basically he is just a figure head with limited power.

  6. where would you find a good lawyer for these things. You see a bunch for typical ghetto shit, but what happens when you need a dude that has to understand what is going on in the tech side of things.

  7. That’s wonderful! Way to really stick it to that kid. Now if only there was some other job they could perform with equal zeal. Something that doesn’t involve harassing people who are in the country legally… Dang, wish I could think of something.

  8. @what

    The last time I checked, the Senate and House have been controlled by the Democrats since the 2006 elections, only to lose control of the House in the 2010 elections due to shoving unpopular legislation down the throats of the American public and not dealing with the real problems this country faces. To use the well worn phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid”.

    As far as Presidential authority goes, he can direct the agencies that fall under his direction to focus upon what he thinks is important (think “selective enforcement”). ICE falls under the Department of Homeland Security, which is part of the executive branch of the government. Care to take a guess who is at the head of that branch of the government?

    I think you are the one that needs to learn something about how government works, as well as something about recent political history.

  9. Um, aren’t there privacy laws that prevent this kind of thing? I mean, you can get whois records from the domain name easily, but for Comcast to give away private information?

  10. @Mac well said !

    Only proves how this country is being run into the ground by the “majority”, who by narrow margins impact an election. The shyster used car salesman we have as POTUS is the result of uninformed people voting. If we had a voter competency test (a short quiz of ones knowledge of current events and policy issues), I think we’d do away with Crackhead Bob from the ghetto casting votes when he has no clue what’s going on.

    Or the socialist agenda being taught in public schools nowadays by unions villainizing big business.

    A generation of youth who really don’t care that China will put a man on the moon in the next decade. A generation of tree huggers who killed a super sonic transport. Whoever would’ve thought i’d be telling my grandkids “yep I remember when I was a kid, we had Concorde”. Wow you used to fly across the Atlantic in only 3 hrs ??

    We’re doomed and taking steps backwards as a society.

  11. I have illegals that literally work and find work three blocks from me, but ICE is worried about a civil infraction between private citizen and a private corporation. This is f**king fascism. Thanks for the hope and change. Ron Paul 2012

  12. @will – he didn’t make “money off of someone else’s copyrighted material.” He made money off of the “advertisment” which is completely different – technically. Thus, if he has a smart lawyer, he should get off if not have his case dimissed.

    There’s no different in posting a “link” in how to make a kitchen bomb versus “how to download.” If the material “is already out there” there we’re talk’n freedom of speech.

  13. @JudgeDredd

    Thank you for showing me there are still people who think that taking away constitutional rights will help improve America. We gave blacks and women the right to vote because we realized what restricting voting does. ex: everyone except for a select few “privileged people” get no vote (by statistics you probably fall into that group) and then we become a messed up republic and if you look at how that works out for countries in south america and Africa in particular you’ll see were that path leads.

  14. The best way to what he dId would be to use a wifi connection from another part of town. Then the stake out would of been at the wrong address.

    Not sure how paying with paypal would be un traceable? To get money out you need a bank account. Unless you have a fake bank account too.

    But then you would really be breaking laws then ;)

  15. First of all, I find it stupid that they’re wasting our tax dollars protecting a flawed archaic business model (RIAA / MPAA). This is capitalism if they can’t evolve let them die. There are MUCH better things to spend our tax dollars on.

    Second, if he wanted to get away with it he could’ve used a Visa gift card (bought with cash) for payment and public internet (library, coffee house, etc) to access the site. Of course since he made money off advertising there would still be a paper trail on him getting paid by advertisers.

  16. @Lenny
    Second, if he wanted to get away with it he could’ve used a Visa gift card (bought with cash)

    I expect homeland would trace where and when the visa was bought, and demand store videos handed over (or the store owners mother’s med might get mixed up at the retirement home, most unfortunate).
    Really, that IS what I think your Homeland sec is, or is becoming.
    Just sayin’.

  17. i have one question.. when is this pathetic government of mine going to take aim at real criminals, like murderers and rapists and child molesters.. and politicians..?

  18. ICE = Immigration & Enforcement.
    Customs, you know, the guys at the border that stop forgeries, bootlegs, and whatnot from going in or out. Last I checked, the Internet goes in and out. Further, this material qualifies as bootleg. So how is your money wasted again?

    And how does WiFi across town stop the investigation?? They don’t know how to follow RF energy to an emitting antenna?? Wouldn’t WiFi make it for them to to collect evidence from the street?

    I can’t believe anyone expects Comcast to withhold information when a team of MIB show up with guns & a warrant.

  19. Look! It’s a Terrorist hiding under your bed!

    Quick! Sign away your rights!

    Now, we’ll ruin the lives of kids that download movies.

    Illegal immigrants? Well, they work for anational corporations – so what if some of them are terrorist sleeper agents – we arrested some girl that downloaded a Justin Beiber song!

    After all, that’s what government is for – protecting the profits of the anational corporations that donate to politicians.

    Back to work you serf!

  20. IP infringement is blackmarket distribution cause it’s illegal.

    I remember when people in warez scene were intelligent, mostly computer illiterate at least. Now it’s 99% cattle getting fed by what few crack teams still exist that have skills.

    Also boring corporate types and suburbians are funny when they talk about ‘shifty’ behavior xD

  21. Steal billions from the people (banks) run our economy into the ground and walk away with lots of $$$$$, make a website the RIAA doesn’t like and the GOV is all over you.

    When the big bosses of AIG, Citigroup, countrywide etc get the death penalty(you don’t think their actions resulted in some deaths?) there will be justice. Until that day I’m honestly rooting for the petty criminals.

  22. Im surprised no one start anonymous www2 using wireless technology such as mesh. If kids without electricity in Africa able to do this with net books why cant we in metropolitan

  23. Oh @ Profit, Bank of America(another group of criminal sociopaths) will allow you to open an account WITHOUT a SSI number(as long as you don’t appear to American).

    Why the IRS hasn’t come down on BOA for this is a very interesting question.

  24. I like my solution to the piracy problem, do more, watch less. I have no problem with people getting busted peddling hollywood’s mind numbing drivel for free, because it only fuels the addiction to the escapism they’re selling. Go live your life, be a producer, not a consumer. What are they going to complain about, when its not their content being distributed for free, its people just finding something more productive to do with their time?

    With that said, some of this stuff is down right scary, Sony just got the right to have access to the logs of geohots website to see who downloaded the jailbreak. I hope there are some lawyers out there, that can hang with the corporate dream teams, or We the People will loose every bit of privacy on the internet that we have… Someone needs to start OpenLobby, where we pool money to lobby the government, its the only way to change anything these days. Voting is just where they tell us they love us, to get in our pants.

  25. Actually screw it, I have this idea for 3-5 years already, anyone interested in starting anonymous physical P2P network in NY ? Basically all we need to start this rolling is agree on protocol and hardware, then create website explaining how to set up/join in.

  26. if one of the major holy books gets copyrighted and is no longer allowed to be printed… does it become a crime to share it? (freedom of religion)

    what if a movie touches you in a powerful and religious way? start your own religion and distribute it. (also freedom of religion)

    I would just be absolutely sure you can come up with something other than “it was a good movie” as to why it moved you.

  27. @AngryVoter, I agree with you 100% – BUT – be aware that the “enemy” is walking among us. The ones who elect corrupt politicians like charles rangel, or barney frank (who republicans – that traditionally are in favor of “big business” – took to task for his insistence that banks should give away tax dollars to people who had no business owning homes – thus producing the “crisis” the country found itself in).

    @Fu7urD3ad (with a name like that, it only proves how your offspring will further contribute to the decline of America). Is it too much to ask that when a voter is voting on something, they know what the heck they’re voting on ? I’m not endorsing discrimination on race, sex, etc. Just that the electorate be an informed electorate. Perhaps you’d like mentally retarded people to vote as well ? Or maybe dead people ? (why not ? FOX news reported on “irregularities” in democratic districts – predominantly black, where the names of deceased people were used, and ID’s were never asked for).

    So now we have the likes of rep. conyers – caught on video saying the outrageous comment that he never read any portion of the healthcare bill he shoved down the throats of the public. “oh who has time to read that?”, “you’d need a lot of lawyers”. The only network to air the video clip was FOX news.

    When we have mindless numbskulls voting in equally corrupt officials, we have the situation we have now. People looking for handouts will vote in people making promises to “redistribute the wealth”. Well guess what ? socialism doesn’t work ! (proven again and again).

    By the way i’m no fan of RIAA or ICE. Instead of focusing on some 14 yr old downloading “warez”, they should be concentrating on securing our borders (as many here have stated).

  28. @Whatnot: You can be sued and subpoenaed in any country from any Sony vs. George Hotz. They recently had people raided in Germany and some other places too.

    Money talks, all governments are under capitalist regime..literally. All US Senate Seat holders(people who dictate all coded law in US) are all major investors in the private sector, as are executors in other governments..

    But we’re just people posting comments with no excess capital..thus our opinions have very little effect, even collectively, despite propaganda..

    Get a million people to protest an agenda and watch the semantics and systematic temporary-compromise magic happen..

    This philosophy explains why economical abuse will continue to happen, as shown in the industrial evolution, picket lines and complaining solves 0 problems..

    BTW their is no WWAN that can handle a WAN userbase without an OC back-end..ISPs FTW

  29. This is a silly topic to post on HAD. Really? What are you encouraging? That we cover our tracks better?… or do you mean that we should cower in fear because ICE may come get you if you’re not careful?

    Obvious Troll is Obvious.

  30. I’m keeping in mind that it wasn’t reported that McCarthy himself never streamed copyrighted content himself. In the event he did,I’d have another opinion. At 32 he isn’t a kid, and should know better to engage in outright copyright infringement. School, and public libraries contain information that would allow people to engage in illegal activities. I’m not sure that McCarthy providing information that allows other to engage in illegal activities, is any worse. $90K sounds like a lot, but what was left after expenses & time put in?

    On the political side of things too many America forgot or ever learn the USA was founded by merchants. And we have a A government of the merchants, by the merchants, for the merchants. Ron Paul? I reject him as an option it was clear he he really isn’t willing to step out of the status quo & become truly an independent.

  31. Its not unheard of to criminalize facilitating illegal activities. Anything that can be used in the process of drug use/sales/manufacturing can go from harmless sandwich bag, to illegal paraphernalia, based on intended use. I think what makes this such a touchy subject, is that its attacking a means of information access and expression, which has typically been considered a founding tenant of a healthy Democracy. Considering the political climate these days, I’m surprised more anti-big government folks aren’t freaking out on the slippery slope to this being used to unfairly regulate political speech… well not that surprised, I mean who signs their pay checks?

  32. This should not even be ICE’s jurisdiction.
    We need to protest this sort of stuff because if we don’t stop this we’ll find ourselves living in a police state where you have zero rights.
    Really people need to wake up the government has been acting like a complete thug since 9-11 which was only a lucky strike if you buy the official story.
    It’s also a complete waste of tax dollars if this poor SOB goes to prison it will cost your the tax payer $30,000 a year.

    Plus how much did this investigation cost? At least the fictitious dystopia in THX 1138 knew when something simply was a waste of money.
    I do not condone what he did but I also fail to see how this should be anything more more then a civil case.

  33. The ICE charter directs them to investigate and enforce immigration violations. They constantly refuse to do so. Private citizens have reported endless numbers of businesses that employ illegals and local police are fed up with illegals that they arrest for violent crimes that ICE refuses to take custody of and even when they do, they release them. The recent murders in FL were committed by illegals that the local police had picked up and turned over to ICE 3 times! 1/3 of all the convicted violent prisoners in the US are not US citizens. The feds simply refuse to protect citizens because large anational corporations want to keep wages as low as possible and violent crime gives them an excuse to maintain a national police state.

    The ICE charter directs them to investigate and enforce customs (import) violations. But what they’ve actually done is turn over running our ports to foreign private contractors. It’s laughable. Last year an entire cargo container full of counterfeit prescription drugs was reported by a worker to the local news in Seattle because every time he reported it ICE nothing happened. ICE refuses to protect citizens because huge anational cooperations are profiting from unsafe and unclean sweatshops overseas and bribing US officials.

    In Sweden it turned out the law enforcement people who went after the Pirate Bay had accepted hundreds of thousands in bribes. Every government employee should be audited every year. The only reason they could object is if they’re crooked.

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