Louisiana Forensic Computer Lab Pursues Porn Cases

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http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/metro/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1056867918262980.xml

Detectives in Kenner, La., had closed in on a 16-year-old boy suspected of creating a Web site of child pornography. They needed a detective to find the illegal images, which he did from the teen’s seized computer hard drive.

The U.S. Justice Department has given a $1 million grant to establish the fledgling Gulf Coast Computer Forensics Laboratory in New Orleans, where a team of detectives and law enforcement officers help solve cases like this by hacking into suspects’ computer hard drives, floppy discs and CDs.

The detectives have assisted with four or five cases, and are tapping into 15 to 20 others using specialized software and a variety of flat-screened monitors. The group serves as a think tank, to brainstorm methods of attack if a detective is stumped by a case.

With child pornography cases making up an estimated 80 percent of their workload, the detectives likely will have their hands full. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recorded 37,647 reports of child pornography on its CyberTipline last year, compared with 3,267 in 1998. One official hopes the lab will help cut through “a choke point” in the prosecution of child-exploitation cases. “There is such a backlog of these kinds of cases because” it might take six months to do a forensic exam of a computer, he said.

Link: http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/metro/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1056867918262980.xml

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