Dept of Homeland Security Orders Reddit to Reveal Users Linked to ‘Evolution’ Scam

Popular social network Reddit, has been requested, by subpoena, to hand over personal data of five users linked to Evolution, a dark net marketplace that vanished with millions of dollars worth of bitcoins belonging to users. The writ order suggests that the apparent scam might be the target of a federal investigation.

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Dept of Homeland Security Orders Reddit to Reveal Users Linked to ‘Evolution’ Scam

Popular social network Reddit, has been requested, by subpoena, to hand over personal data of five users linked to Evolution, a dark net marketplace that vanished with millions of dollars worth of bitcoins belonging to users. The writ order suggests that the apparent scam might be the target of a federal investigation.

The subpoena, which was sent earlier this month by the Baltimore Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement, demands Reddit to provide the authority with personal data about five users of the subreddit /r/darknetmarkets.

The said users include NSWGreat, an alleged former staff member of Evolution; Deepthroat_, evosmith and z-l, three users who claimed to have information about the identities of the marketplace operators; and Gwern Branwen, a security researcher and moderator of the subreddit.

A copy of the subpoena shared with Wired, reveals that the DHS is looking for personal information about these individuals, including names, IP addresses, records of session times and durations, phone numbers and financial data.

While Reddit is unlikely to have possession of the whole set of information sought by the feds, the social network does "[store] the IP addresses associated with specific posts, comments, and private messages for 90 days after they are made or sent," according to the site's privacy policy.

"We may disclose – or preserve for future disclosure – your information if we believe, after due consideration, that doing so is reasonably necessary to comply with a law, regulation, or valid legal process," reads the relevant page.

The subpoena requests information about the five individuals, however Branwen believes that NSWGreat might be an important target for the federal investigation into Evolution's sudden disappearance.

NSWGreat, who first informed the public about the "Evolution Admins Exit Scamming," claims to be a former staff member of the marketplace. Speculations suggest that the individual is an Australian vendor who used to sell goods on Evolution.

Earlier this month, Evolution, once the largest drug marketplace on the dark net, vanished over night in an apparent scam by its administrators. Operating under the pseudonyms Verto and Kimble, the individuals are believed to have taken as much as US$12 million worth of bitcoins from users.

 


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