Eric Eoin Marques

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Irishman branded the “largest facilitator of child porn on the planet” remanded in custody

Published August 8, 2013 by misty534

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United States has 10 days to formally request extradition of Eric Eoin Marques

 

The United States has 10 days to formally request the extradition of a man from Ireland who has been described as the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet.

Eric Eoin Marques, who has Irish and US citizenship, has been remanded in custody for another week after appearing before the High Court in Dublin.

US authorities are seeking his extradition on four charges in connection to website images described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.

An FBI special agent last week told the court the suspect, who has an address on Mountjoy Square in Dublin’s north inner city, is accused of being “the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet”.

If convicted, he faces sentences of up to 30 years in prison.

Dressed in black jeans and an Adidas T-shirt, Marques stood at the back of the packed court flanked by prison officers during the short hearing, with members of his family nearby.

The court heard the 28-year-old was arrested last Thursday in the Irish capital on a provisional warrant and refused bail last Friday morning amid fears he was a flight risk and would interfere with evidence.

Ronan Kennedy BL, for the Attorney General, asked the judge to remand the suspect for another week in anticipation of a formal request for extradition from the US which will be received and certified by Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter by then.

The accused can be held for up to 18 days for a request, he said.

“If at that juncture a formal request for extradition is not received and not certified by the minister, Mr Marques will be released,” he added.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott warned Mr Kennedy “time was running out” before granting the application.

No objection was made by Marques’s legal team.

 

Irish Mirror IE

 

FBI bids to extradite Irishman, 28, on suspicion of being ‘largest child-porn dealer on planet’

Published August 5, 2013 by misty534

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An Irishman accused of being the ‘largest facilitator of child porn on the planet’ by the FBI could face extradition to America.

U.S. authorities want to extradite Eric Eoin Marques who they allege is involved in distributing graphic and violent images of child pornography, a court heard.

The 28-year-old appeared before the High Court in Ireland, after he was arrested on a Maryland warrant for four charges of distributing and promoting child pornography on the internet.

Mr Marques, from Dublin, appeared before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday due to an extradition request by the FBI, the Independent reported.

He was denied bail until the extradition request has been determined.

The images he is accused of distributing and promoting relate to distressing depictions of youngsters being raped or tortured.

Mr Marques, who has no previous convictions, has been identified as a ‘flight risk’ by gardai and the FBI.

The High Court heard that large payments had been trasnferred to accounts in Romania, and his computer’s brwsing history revealed that he had inquired about Russian visas.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he accepted the evidence that Mr Marques was a flight risk.

Mr Justice Gilligan remanded Mr Marques in custody, to a sitting of the High Court on next Thursday.

His arrest coincides with the disappearance of a vast number of ‘hidden services’ hosted on anonymizing encrypted network Tor.

The website is accessed via a programme called Tor which enables all members to remain anonymous online and uses an ‘onion’ system to make sure their IP address is always hidden from police.

Tor is free software and an open network that makes identifying the physical location of the computers operating the marketplace – or anyone visiting it – all but impossible.

It protects internet users against a form of network surveillance and state security known as traffic analysis.

They can be used for good – such as activists trapped in oppressive regimes – or bad, with drug dealers selling illegal substances without risk of getting caught.

Marques is alleged to be behind Freedom Hosting, a major hidden services hosting provider, Arstechnica reported.

Freedom Hosting was one of a number of hosting providers specializing in hidden services.

The business — which is in no way connected to the Tor Project — allegedly hosts child pornography sites, as well as sites that allowed pornography traffickers to post their links for distribution, Arstechnica reported.

Freedom Hosting was brought to the public’s attention in October 2011 after the hacking collective Anonymous shut down the largest host of such illegal material on the Web.

In a statement issued on the internet, Anonymous said that it had warned Freedom Hosting to take the sites down but the company failed to do so.

Anonymous hackers then disabled its servers and would continue to do so until the material was removed.

Its operation began on October 14 and targeted child porn on the ‘darknet’ – anonymised sites designed to protect users’ identities, which are invisible to normal web users.

Anonymous hackers detected the links to the pornography and removed them but they were up again within five minutes.

They then discovered that 95 per cent of the links were being hosted by Freedom Hosting and so shut down the firm’s servers.

Freedom Hosting switched to their backups but Anonymous closed them down again.

 

HOW USERS CAN HIDE BEHIND ANONYMOUS SOFTWARE

Tor is a popular internet anonymising tool which can be downloaded for free from the web.

It enables all members to remain anonymous online and uses an ‘onion’ system to make sure IP addresses – each computer has its own one – are always hidden from police.

It makes identifying the physical location of the computers using the software all but impossible.

Tor only protects users from being monitored on applications that are properly configured to send their Internet traffic through the programme unless individuals also use it as a browser instead of Google or Internet Explorer.

As well as protecting users from being tracked by police, it also means they are protected from network surveillance and state security known as traffic analysis.

This makes interference with the website difficult on morality grounds as it is used by activists trapped in countries with oppressive regimes to communicate without being tracked by governments.

Prime examples are human rights groups in China and Iran which would otherwise be censored or even persecuted for expressing their views.

A large proportion of Tor’s funding comes indirectly from the U.S. state department’s internet freedom budget.

Anna Edwards

FBI says Irishman is baron of online child porn

Published August 3, 2013 by misty534

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US authorities have asked the High Court to extradite a 28-year-old Irishman alleged to be involved in the distribution of online child pornography, and described by an FBI special agent as “the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet”.

Eric Eoin Marques appeared before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan on foot of an extradition request by the FBI and was yesterday put back in custody until next Thursday.

The court heard that Mr Marques, who has both Irish and US citizenship, was arrested on a Maryland state warrant that records charges of distributing and promoting child pornography on the internet.

Judge Gilligan refused to grant Mr Marques, with an address at Mountjoy Square, Dublin, bail until the extradition request has been determined.

American authorities are seeking his extradition on four charges. He is charged with distributing, conspiring to distribute, and advertising child pornography. It was also alleged he aided and abetted a conspiracy to advertise child pornography and the court heard that if convicted he faces sentences of up to 30 years in prison.

The charges relate to images on a large number of websites described as being extremely violent and graphic and depicting the rape and torture of prepubescent children.

Barrister Ronan Kennedy, counsel for the Attorney General, said Mr Marques was arrested on Thursday on foot of an extradition warrant was issued by a US court on Jul 29 last.

Gardaí and the FBI both objected to bail being granted. It was claimed Mr Marques represented a flight risk and may try to interfere with evidence.

The court heard that large sums of money had passed through Mr Marques’s bank accounts, including large payments sent to accounts in Romania.

It also heard that a search of Mr Marques’s computer revealed he had made inquires about how to get a visa and entry into Russia. He had no previous convictions nor had he come to the attention of the authorities before. The FBI special agent referred to him as having been “anonymous”.

Mr Marques told the court he was born in the US but has lived in Ireland since he was five years of age. He said his father is Brazilian and his mother is Irish. He said he had visited Romania a few times.

He said he was last in Romania a few weeks ago when he withdrew €6,000 on his credit card to help a friend start a business.

He also told the court several weeks ago he searched online about a Russian visa out of curiosity due to the issues surrounding NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Through his counsel, Remy Farrell SC, Mr Marques said he would abide by any bail terms and conditions set down by the court, and had surrendered both his Irish and US passports to gardaí.

Refusing bail Mr Justice Gilligan said he accepted the evidence that Mr Marques was a flight risk.

He remanded Mr Marques in custody to a High Court sitting on Aug 8.

Irish Examiner