Software Can ID Computers Trading Child Porn

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Flint Waters, chief of Wyoming’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force, has developed software that identifies computers, by serial number, that trade child pornography on one online network, reports USA Today. The information is used to locate the traffickers and obtain search warrants. The software, used by 1,800 police investigators nationwide, is a powerful new tool being used to combat a growing child porn industry. Waters, who testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee today, says only a small number of traffickers are prosecuted, because police lack the resources to go after more of them. He worries that by revealing how few leads are pursued, he “may embolden some to keep trading.” Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), wants to spend $1.05 billion over eight years on fighting child porn, more than tripling funding for antiporn task forces.

Almost all owners of the 624,000-plus computers that Waters has identified since he began tracking them in 2005 have a collection of child porn and are not accidental downloaders. Of people arrested for possessing child porn, 83 percent had images of prepubescent kids and 80 percent had pictures of sexual penetration, says a Justice Department-funded study that examined 1,713 arrests in 2000 and 2001. More than 99 percent of offenders were male, 91 percent were white, and 86 percent were older than 25. “They’re preachers, attorneys, cops” and other professionals, says Sheriff Mike Brown, head of southern Virginia’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force. People who collect child porn are more likely than others to molest children, but not all collectors are pedophiles, says David Finkelhor of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-04-15-childporn-side_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

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