“Anti-paedophile police fight child porn ‘epidemic'” by Angus Crawford

Officials of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international organization aimed at ending child sexual abuse, agree that child pornography use is increasingly at epidemic levels. In 2002, it was estimated the web contained just over 45,000 images of child abuse. As of 2014, the number has risen to over 112 million images of abuse. This is an excerpt from a recent article published by The BBC. The source of this excerpt is http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27872401

Mobile phone chip repair Investigators have repaired mobile phone chips to analyse the images they hold. Image courtesy of The BBC.

Mobile phone chip repair
Investigators have repaired mobile phone chips to analyse the images they hold. Image courtesy of The BBC.

The internet trade in images that show child sex abuse is now “an epidemic”, according to the head of the global initiative to combat the problem.

Police officers from around the world serve on the Virtual Global Taskforce.

Its chairman, Ian Quinn, tells the BBC there has been an “explosion” in cases handled by US authorities.

The US alone has 61 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) units, each made up of state, local police and federal agents.

BBC News joined a recent operation in Los Angeles.

Twenty one officers were briefed at dawn in a parking lot in central LA.

Lt Andrea Grossman, from the Los Angeles Police Department, told us they conducted such operations “three to five times per week”.

The amount of images of child sexual abuse on the internet, she says, is “beyond out of control, we’re now just getting to the surface of it”.

[…]

Lt Grossman says paedophiles trade images across the world, which demands a global response from law enforcement.

“Your suspects are our suspects, your victims are our victims,” she says.

Computer forensic experts help gather evidence to prosecute suspected paedophiles. Image courtesy of The BBC.

Computer forensic experts help gather evidence to prosecute suspected paedophiles. Image courtesy of The BBC.

“I start my day at 04:00, so I can talk to the Brits, the Australians, to any international partner.”

Her team also has access to software that can track in real time paedophiles accessing images on peer-to-peer networks.

[…]

The cooperation between the US and UK has led to some high profile arrests.

Earlier this year a British man called Mark Luscombe was jailed after an operation which began in the US.

Luscombe, 29, of Verwood, Dorset, used a paedophile chat room online.

He contacted an undercover agent from Homeland Security who was posing as a man offering his children for sex.

[…]

Detective Superintendent Chris Naughton from Dorset police believes this conviction sends a powerful message.

“From us receiving the information to going through his door was about 48 hours,” he says.

“I think that shows how well [international cooperation] works.”

Officers removed the suspect's hard drive and analysed it in a mobile laboratory. Image courtesy of The BBC.

Officers removed the suspect’s hard drive and analysed it in a mobile laboratory. Image courtesy of The BBC.

Online images accumulate

In 2002 the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reviewed and confirmed 45,055 examples of obscene images of children found online (some of these were duplicates).

In 2013 the figure had grown to 23,881,197.

As of May 2014, the centre had reviewed 112 million files containing images of child sexual abuse.

Predator detentions

In 2003, 339 arrests were made worldwide in connection with Operation Predator.

In 2013, the number had grown to 2,099.

To date, the total number of arrests linked to the operation totals 10,608.

This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit The BBC website http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27872401

Angus Crawford is a reporter for The BBC.