How Delaware’s FRED Ferrets Out Child Porn On Computers

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The sign inside an office in a nondescript Dover, DE, industrial park gives a hint of what happens beyond a set of locked doors. “Caution: Beyond this point may be graphic and sensitive material.” The Wilmington News Journal says that is where Delaware State Police computer forensics experts comb through seized hard drives to ferret out child pornography and other evidence of online sexual exploitation of children. Now, Delaware Child Predator Task Force investigations can move more quickly, thanks to a newly announced collaborative effort that puts the state’s investigative and prosecutorial resources under one roof.

“What used to take several weeks can now take a day, to make a prosecutorial decision and to make an arrest,” said Attorney General Beau Biden. Inside the forensics room are sophisticated computers, each labeled “FRED” — Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device. When a computer is seized during an investigation, its hard drive is removed and placed inside one of the FRED machines. That computer is capable of making an exact copy of the suspect hard drive without booting it up — a process that alters the hard drive and can overwrite deleted files. Forensics experts then can comb through the copy while maintaining the integrity of the original hard drive. The software loaded onto FRED can detect images that may be disguised as Microsoft Word documents or other formats. That allows investigators to restrict their searches and thus comply with the limits specified in the search warrant.

Link: http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080403/NEWS01/804030364/1006/NEWS

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