The use of an Apple ID for a perfectly legal purchase was the key piece of evidence that has enabled the Department of Homeland Security to identify the man they suspect to be the owner of the biggest pirate website on the net, (KAT).

A lengthy criminal complaint filed against Ukranian national Artem Vaulin by the U.S. Attorney’s Office explains how the Apple ID enabled authorities to identify the suspect …

Events kicked off in November of last year when an undercover IRS agent posing as a representative of a study program booked an ad on the site. That correspondence enabled them to identify an email address linked to both the site and KAT’s presence on Facebook, which led first to an IP address in Chicago and from there to a separate Apple email address (a one).

Apple was served with a court order requiring it to identify any activity from that email address, and responded by releasing details of an iTunes purchase. The IP address for that purchase was found to be identical to one used to access the KAT Facebook page on the same day, providing the crucial evidence linking Vaulin to the pirate site.

Vaulin has been charged with a range of copyright infringement and money laundering charges, with Assistant Attorney General Caldwell alleging that he is responsible for over $1B worth of illegal file sharing.

Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials.

The irony of the alleged owner of the world’s biggest pirate site being caught by a legal purchase from iTunes is straight from the Dept of You Couldn’t Make It Up …

Via TorrentFreak

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear