Freedom hosting admin Eric Eoin Marques, age 36, of Dublin, Ireland was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang, he was sentenced to 27 years in prison followed by lifetime supervision. He is the creator of dark web hosting service Freedom Hosting, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to advertise child pornography on the dark web.
Marques the Admin of Freedom hosting established it in 2008 as a free hosting service for onion services. Before the FBI seizure of the service in 2013, half of the onion services in operation used Freedom Hosting. In the United States, providers of electronic services are not directly responsible for user created content. But the admin of Freedom Hosting publicly, pretended not to have any involvement in the operation or use of the onion services created by Freedom Hosting users. In reality, the admin directly assisted certain services in their day-to-day operation. Marques specifically assisted services that facilitated the distribution of content depicting child abuse.
During the investigation, the FBI found out that Freedom Hosting provided hosting for at least 200 child exploitation sites. The websites contained millions of pictures and videos. Almost two million files involved victims that law enforcement had identified in previous investigations.
The administrators of child abuse forums revealed Marques’ role in their operation.
The FBI took control of the Freedom Hosting servers in July 2013 but they lost control after Marques regained access by changing the admin passwords. On July 29, the police in Ireland arrested Marques on an international arrest warrant. The FBI once again took control of the Freedom Hosting servers. Shortly after his arrest, every onion service hosted by Freedom Hosting displayed a “Down for Maintenance.” Many of the websites on Freedom Hosting had nothing to do with the spread of child abuse content, including Tor Mail and the Hidden Wiki.