Microsoft / Toronto Police Force and RCMP join in private / public partnership to battle online child pornography

Sorry, I’m tired… so I’m just gonna’ post a bunch of headlines – but this is a good one.

Microsoft develops software to aid anti-child porn efforts
Posted on : 2005-04-08 Author : Nigel WrightNews Category : Internet

Software giant Microsoft Corp has announced a program that can help curb child pornography on the Internet. The Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) aids law-enforcement officials in preventing sexual exploitation of minors on the Internet by way of advanced software tools and effective collaboration. Microsoft Canada, the Toronto Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have jointly developed this program.

Using CETS, two separate investigations – by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Department of Homeland Security – were linked together in a child abuse case. As a result, Toronto Police Service’s Sex Crimes Unit managed to charge a previous child sex offender with sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl, taking her pictures in compromising positions and circulating them over the Internet.

“Our vision is to support more effective child-exploitation policing by enabling collaboration and information sharing across police services. The tracking system will serve as a repository of information and will also be used as an investigative tool,” said David Hemler, president, Microsoft Canada.

According to Jennifer Strachan, officer-in-charge, RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Center, the ‘old ways of policing’ don’t meet the needs of today’s cyber criminals. Hailing the new software, she said, “…Microsoft is setting a good example by realizing that with this innovation also comes accountability. Law enforcement will never be industry, and industry will never be law enforcement, but we need to keep the best interests of the people we serve in mind.”

Online child pornography has assumed massive proportions lately. According to reports, the FBI has posted a 2000 per cent rise in the number of online photographs depicting child pornography since 1996. According to Canadian police estimates, over 100,000 Web sites feature images of child sexual abuse.

“CETS is a great tool for information management. It puts together the work of hundreds of police agencies in one place. The tool can establish links from the different agencies that police wouldn’t necessarily make,” said Garry Belair, technology manager, RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Center.

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