Daily Management Review

Technology Used by Child Abusers Used to Stop Online Child Abuse by US Fed


Technology Used by Child Abusers Used to Stop Online Child Abuse by US Fed
The US law enforcement officials are using the technology used by sexual predators against them to curb online child sexual offences.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is helping to lead the charge, law enforcement officials are making more arrests and finding more child victims through better computer processing power, quicker culling of online images and use of social media.
Since the inception of the digital age, law enforcement officers have been scrambling to keep up with the lewd behavior by computer as new technologies helped fuel a surge in child sexual abuse and online exploitation.
 “The use of technology is a double-edge sword,” said Mike Prado, an associate deputy assistant director for Homeland Security Investigations and head of ICE’s newly expanded cybercrime center in Fairfax, Va.
“Child pornography has proliferated because off the Internet, the availability of digital cameras, web cameras, and increased processing power. But from our perspective, we’re able to use that technology to our advantage in a lot of ways,” Prado said.
In 2015, 2,394 child predators worldwide were arrested or assisted in arrests by the Homeland Security Investigations arm – ICE, a part of the Department of Homeland Security. This is a rise of 150 percent since 2010. In the same period, more than 1000 victims of child sexual abuse and online exploitation were rescued or identified by the agency. This number has also grown in recent years. It was not until 2013 that the agency had begun keeping reliable statistics on victims.
Better use of technology has been attributed to be the main reason of the success by the ICE. The ability of the agency to review tons of data in a short amount of time, search computer hard drives and use digital cameras to better identify child victims have been vastly expanded by working with private industry and through their own in-house experts, said ICE officials. 40 percent more data collected from search warrants than the previous year is now possible to be combed by the ICE officials and their forensic analysts.
A smartphone app that it says was the first of its kind in U.S. federal law enforcement was launched in 2013 seeks the public’s help with fugitives and suspected child predators, apart from this the law enforcement agency also uses the social media in a significant degree.
The merger of customs and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in 2002 had resulted in the creation of ICE. Crimes such as terrorism and narcotics smuggling are investigated by the officers of the agency even though the agency is far better known for enforcing immigration laws. Child exploitation is a high priority area for the agency as it claims that so much of it crosses international borders.
 Prado says that the better technology has “enhanced our abilities significantly,” and added that even as law enforcement scrambles to keep up with child predators, “the problem is getting worse, not better, unfortunately. It’s becoming easier to photograph and video, to document the abuse of a child and share it with someone around the world.”