Child Pornographers Using Social Media to Evade Probers

Print

When federal investigators raided Brian Rubenaker's Seattle home, they found he was trading in child pornography. The Washington Post says that just as disquieting as the photos of sexual abuse was the computer program that Rubenaker, 45, was using. Federal investigators said this was the first time they had come across the Google Hello program, a now-defunct instant messaging system for photos, in a child-pornography case.

Links from Rubenaker's computer produced hundreds of leads that spanned continents. The years-long investigation into shadowy groups on Google Hello and the Multiply social network showed that pedophiles are using powerful encryption tools in social media and other programs to share child pornography illegally. Child-porn rings are using a simple — but highly effective — tool to keep prying investigators at bay. Would-be ring members are asked to share photographs and videos of children being sexually abused in order to gain entry. Because sharing child pornography is a crime — it re-victimizes abused children — law enforcement officers are prohibited from offering images and videos in sting operations. As a result it is becoming more difficult to monitor child-porn rings.

Comments are closed.