UsingTechnology to Police Child Pornography in cyberspace

October 11, 2011
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My old alma mater, Lancaster University, is leading a project to help law enforcement agencies spot criminals who make and distribute child pornography over the internet. Peer to peer networks allow the fast sharing and downloading of files. Many of these of course are entirely innocent but these networks have become a magnet for paedophiles interested in publishing and distributing sexual images of children. With new files being created on the internet every day it is increasingly difficult to keep track of what’s out there. The software being developed by Lancaster University and others will be used to identify child pornography as soon as it appears on the internet, allowing police to intervene to remove it before it is widely shared, protect the victim, and identify and catch the perpetrators by use of behavioural profile building. Currently European law enforcers have to undertake this work manually, and require huge resources to police the web. Police and academic experts across Europe are coming together to assist work on the project which is funded by the European Commission. The project over 2 years was welcomed by Interpol, whose spokesman said “Anything that makes [our] work easier will result in less children being abused and the capture of those carrying out that abuse both directly and indirectly”.

Well done Lancaster! I wish your project every success!

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