The alleged founder of KickAss Torrents (KAT), one of the largest torrent sites on the web, has been arrested in Poland this week following an operation spearheaded by the US government to track down the head of the site. More interestingly, the US was able to track him using information handed over by Apple, cross referenced with some data obtained from Facebook.
Artem Vaulin has been charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement as well as two counts of infringement and conspiracy to launder money. As Wired points out, right now the US authorities are trying to extradite Vaulin, claiming that he made $1 billion worth of copyrighted content freely available online.
Investigators managed to track Vaulin down by posing as a potential advertiser for the torrent site but the real smoking gun seemingly came from Apple. Apple handed over the IP address for an iTunes transaction that came from Vaulin’s AppleID. From there, authorities cross referenced the IP address with one used to log in to the KickAss Torrents Facebook page.
Right now, the primary KAT domain appears to be up as it is not showing the typical ‘domain seized’ message. However, the site is unresponsive and inaccessible for many. Some mirrors apparently still work but that may not last long.
KitGuru Says: This isn’t the first time that a huge file sharing site operator has been arrested but these sites always seem to find a way back online eventually, even if a founder gets put behind bars.