Prosecutors tell NPR tools that cloak online identities are complicating efforts to police all kinds of crime. Graphic images of children were found on a laptop computer at the home of Timothy DeFoggi, former head of cybersecurity for the Department of Health and Human Services, The Justice Department says he used his expertise to hide from the law on a network called Tor, which provides software that helps people hide their location and their viewing habits by bouncing messages all over the world.
“A lot of what we thought of as traditional, unsophisticated criminals are now on the Internet selling drugs, selling guns, selling murder-for-hire schemes, selling child pornography,” says Leslie Caldwell, head of DOJ’s criminal divison. She says criminals are a lot smarter about covering their tracks. “Technology is trending toward even greater anonymization, which is something that is just going to make our job more difficult,” she adds. Prosecutors say DeFoggi took substantial steps to avoid detection, including the use of software programs to erase his Web searches.