Forensic Techniques Used to Catch Internet Child Pornographers

Posted: June 2, 2011 in Crime Tips, Crime Watch
Tags: , , , , ,

One of the biggest problems facing law enforcement with catching and prosecuting Internet child pornographers is that technology hasn’t caught up with this type of crime yet.  It’s an immense problem and the scope of it seems almost endless for these dogged investigators.  The problem with the investigative process is analyzing and classifying images.  This process is overwhelming and extremely time consuming.

How many children are victims of online sexual exploitation?

  • In 2008, it was reported that there were approximately 8.6 million child pornography images and videos on the Internet.

The 2008 Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) Annual Report revealed these staggering statistics of child pornography Internet victims:

  • 69% are under ten years old.
  • 24% are six years old and younger.
  • Some are babies.

According to the latest online victimization research through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC):

  • Approximately one in seven youth online (10 to 17-years-old) received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet.
  • Four percent (4%) received an aggressive sexual solicitation – a solicitor who asked to meet them somewhere; called them on the telephone; or sent them offline mail, money, or gifts.
  • Thirty-four percent (34%) had an unwanted exposure to sexual material — pictures of naked people or people having sex.
  • Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the youth who encountered unwanted sexual material told a parent or guardian. If the encounter was defined as distressing – episodes that made them feel very or extremely upset or afraid – forty-two percent (42%) told a parent or guardian.

There have been two new software tools developed to catch these child predators: NetClean Analyze and Oak Ridge System.

NetClean Analyze addresses the key issues to help minimize time investigators look at and duplicate images and videos, allows for collaboration between police departments, and facilitates more efficient customized reports.  This software has been made available to ALL law enforcement agencies.

The Oak Ridge System runs software to rapidly scan hard drives on confiscated computers, which assists investigators in quickly reducing the amount of time for forensic analysis. 

There are other emerging tools and software that will further assist in these investigations to help prosecute these child predators. 

I can’t emphasize enough that you must be vigilant if you are a parent to keep your children safe when they are on the Internet.  If you EVER see ANY child pornography on the Internet or if your child alerts you to anything inappropriate, REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY to your local police department.  ALL children should be safe from child predators and pornographers on the Internet.


Jennifer Chase
Award Winning Author & Criminologist

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