KIEV, Ukraine—Police "swooped" down on the Kiev-based data center for BitTorrent giant Pornolab Wednesday, seizing its servers and shutting it down. Notable for being the 93rd most popular website in Russia, which last year seized the domain name for the massive Torrents.ru, putting it out of commission, Pornolab had decided to put its data center in the presumably safer Ukraine.
"The [Russian] authorities... say it was a huge operation, serving 2 million registered users," reported TorrentFreak. "With the recent demise of Empornium and PureTNA, this may mean it was the biggest porn tracker in the world. In the last 24 hours, however, all that came to an end.
Police accuse the operators of violating Part 2 of Article 301 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, "which covers crimes against children using the Internet—in this case the importation, production, sale and distribution of pornographic material without age restriction," wrote enimax for TorrentFreak.
Sentences under that article can reportedly range from fines to five years in jail. TorrentFreak indicates that the Ukrainian authorities are interested in pursuing cases not just against the BitTorrent itself but also the individuals who operated it and used it.
"Due to the nature of BitTorrent—downloaders automatically upload too—they too are being accused of the unlawful distribution of restricted material," the article says, adding that In May 2010, another adult-themed BitTorrent, xsweet.net.ua was "targeted for the same reasons and its 35-year-old operator arrested."
Pornolab is currently offline.