Hunting Warhead: Hunting Warhead
December 3, 2022 11:03 AM - Subscribe

How do you take down a criminal network that’s hidden in the shadows? How do you rescue child abuse victims who could be anywhere in the world? Hunting Warhead follows the journalists and police on a global mission to expose the darkest corners of the internet. What they discover shocks them. Host Daemon Fairless tracks down the investigators, survivors and criminals themselves. A co-production of CBC Podcasts and the Norwegian newspaper VG. [All the content warnings. If you think you might be disturbed by this, you are probably right.]
posted by johnofjack (3 comments total)
I listened to this yesterday and today. Yesterday at work, multitasking, the first three episodes weren't easy to listen to, but then in the fourth episode there's an agent with a 2"-thick manila folder who opens it and takes a photo out to show to a woman and her husband, asking them if that's their daughter, and then another photo after that of the daughter in her bathroom, at a time which must have been just seconds before or after the mother was there, and at that point I realized that my throat was tight and my heart was pounding but I felt cold, and now I had a headache? I felt like I had a headache. So I stopped there because I didn't want to make a scene at work, didn't want people coming by asking if I was okay. I finished the shift and went home and fed my cat and had a good cry and then set about thinking about dinner.

Today I listened to the rest of it, and cried again, again in part of it with that same family, where the mother is giving a victim impact statement in court. The mother impressed the hell out of me. The journalists impressed the hell out of me. The discussion of ethics was interesting; the discussion of criminal psychology was interesting (though uncomfortable); even the discussion of terminology was interesting--how the phrase "child pornography" centers the viewer but "child sex abuse" centers the victim.

This podcast was extremely good, and I'm glad I listened to it, and I will probably never listen to it again.
posted by johnofjack at 11:10 AM on December 3, 2022

It is a great podcast. Now the feed seems to just be CBC advertising their other series every few weeks though, which is a bit annoying.

What did you make of the ethics of agents covertly running the website? They had to maintain the illusion that nothing had changed, which meant posting and otherwise spreading horrific content.
posted by WildMuffin at 7:28 AM on July 26, 2023

I tend to view utilitarianism with extreme skepticism since I've seen it deployed often more as a post hoc defense than as a predictive and consistent set of ethics--but Kantian philosophy strikes me as equally unworkable, so ... I just don't know. I felt really conflicted about it, bouncing between "that's just wrong" and "but they could catch a lot of people" and "but will they? And would it be worth it?" endlessly, without ever reaching a conclusion.

In the end what I remember most about it was a visceral feeling of disgust. Sadly, "a visceral feeling of disgust" is also not a predictive and consistent set of ethics.

It's ... a hell of a thing to ask employees to do, I do know that much. What did you make of the ethics there?
posted by johnofjack at 6:48 PM on August 16, 2023

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