The web site Perverted-Justice.com which purports to "out" predators of underage children hampers law enforcement efforts to track down online predators.
The operators of Perverted-Justice cruise the chat rooms generally in Yahoo! Romance Chat, seeking victims to identify on their site. Operators private message chat room participants, enticing them to engage in a sexual conversation with the operator posing as an underage child. The Perverted-Justice operator coerces the chatter to divulge their telephone number, and provide the operator with a photograph.
At the end of the conversation, the operator informs the chatter that they have been busted by Perverted-Justice, and that their telephone number and photograph have been posted to the Perverted-Justice web site. The conversation is also posted.
Perverted Justice have designated themselves investigators, judge, jury and executioner, disregarding the established legal system, and in most cases, openly violating existing laws and tainting ongoing investigations.
Posting IM messages that were obtained by recording private chats in Yahoo! Messenger and AOL IM violates both Yahoo!'s and AOL'S Terms of Service. Posting explicit chats involving a minor may also be in violation of current U.S. Federal Regulations.
Perverted Justice does not post the original private message. The posting is an altered version, and they do not post the chat room conversation leading up to the private message. There is no way to determine whether the person or the Perverted Justice operator initiated the conversation. The profile of the Perverted Justice operator is constantly changed from what the alleged predator had seen. For an example, click here.
Changing a profile in effect destroys valuable evidence, and causes one to wonder what exactly an alleged predator had seen to entice them to converse with the Perverted Justice operator. The potential for entrapment comes into play at this point.
It is possible to alter Yahoo! messages, changing the tone of the message. Also, the archived messages are flawed in that they do not provide a date stamp, only a time stamp, and cannot be relied upon to be an accurate log for legal purposes. IRC logs are only marginally more accurate as to date and time, but still not generally usable in a court of law. Yahoo! Messenger uses the XOR algorithm to encrypt messages stored on the users computer. The XOR algorithm is a weak encryption method, easily defeated by decoders, which are available for download via the Internet.
In other instances, the Perverted-Justice operators give the chatter an address to meet, and entice them to meet in person. When they do meet, it's not a young person, but generally a news crew or the Perverted-Justice operator acting alone. This sets up the potential for disaster with untrained persons meeting an unknown chatter. A recent meet can be found on their site, click here.
Confronting a suspected predator should only be done by competent law enforcement personnel, and not untrained amateurs. It is only a matter of time before one of the Perverted-Justice operators encounters a situation that they are unprepared to handle.
The site is operated by anonymous persons, with no training either in law enforcement or the law. They disregard accepted law enforcement procedures covering the gathering and preservation of evidence; practice methods which may be regarded as entrapment; and do not follow the rules of "chain of custody" of evidence.
Can Yahoo! Chat logs be altered? Yes, very easily. Does Perverted Justice post the original log? No, it is copied and pasted from their message window. How do we know the FULL message, when they admit that Yahoo! deletes the first line. What was the first line? We don't know. How was the original contact made, by the alleged predator, or the PJ operator? We don't know.
Perverted Justice is hosted on Valuweb. Is their server secured from possible intrusions by persons wishing to change or destroy information? No, Valuweb is not immune from hacking. If people can hack into and change Official US Government web sites, they certainly can alter the Perverted Justice site. There is absolutely no assurance whatsoever that any information on the Perverted Justice site is accurate, and secured from tampering.
Perverted Justice institutes "Info First!" program.
Perverted Justices "Info First!" program defies all legal protocol, in effect rendering any evidence obtained unusable in a court of law. It is apparent from reading the Info First page that Perverted Justice has not consulted with an attorney, or any prosecutor as to their methods. There is no mention of full disclosure procedures and independent review of the server and logs by defense appointed experts; who is the owner of the server where the logs reside; who has access to said server. Perverted Justice simply put is an unlicensed, non chartered, non appointed, vigilante group with NO LEGAL STANDING IN ANY COURT OF LAW IN THE UNITED STATES. They are not duly appointed officers of the court, but a group of anonymous vigilantes. Rarely does any law enforcement agency utilize an outside entity to conduct evidence gathering, and certainly not an anonymous group of amateurs who hold no standing in law enforcement.
It's time that Perverted Justice cease operations, and let competent, trained law enforcement and prosecutors go about the business of tracking, prosecuting and convicting online predators.
Perverted-Justice has been contacting various news outlets, seeking publicity for their site. Following each mention on news sites and TV news, questions arise as to the legitimacy and methods of operation. Several law enforcement officials and prosecutors have also questioned their methods, concerned that the site jeopardizes ongoing investigations, giving advance notice to other predators, driving them further underground and more difficult to apprehend in a legal manner.
The owner of Perverted-Justice also operates Angrygerman.com A look at his home page clearly demonstrates this person is not an Internet Professional, but a person seeking notoriety. The site is chock full of ranting, profanities, and sexual innuendo.
One entry from the Angrygerman 'blog type site:
"Random Thoughts - Look, when you get to be El Gigante Intwardnet Celebitty like I am, you get accustomed to mailbags and mailbags of fanmail. Trust me, it comes by the boatload. In fact, just this week I got a few pieces of stellar fanmail. To give you fine peons a look at the life of a BIGGIE TIME website-guy, I figured I'd reprint a few for you."
Perverted Justice owner plans to run for the Vice Presidency in 2016. More strangeness from a twisted individual. Our only question is, will he use an alias?
Another Perverted Justice Operator posts on their Yahoo! Profile:
"Hobbies: Playing hackey sack with the nutsacks of would-be pedophiles at http://www.perverted-justice.com."
Chatmag recommends persons not to enter any chat room with the intention of soliciting an under age person for any conversation nor do we condone or recommend anyone becoming involved in such unsupervised vigilante sites such as Perverted-Justice. The Perverted-Justice site deludes people into believing they are helping in the war against online predators.
We also recommend that news organizations more fully research Perverted-Justice prior to engaging in sting operations involving this group.
We at Chatmag are opposed to such sites that have no accountability, operate outside the boundary of the law, and tend to incite "mob justice".
We are also opposed to certain "white power" web sites that have taken issue with Perverted Justice. To the best of our knowledge, Perverted Justice has no connection with racism in any form. The problems with Perverted Justice are strictly legal in nature.