The Unknown Crisis: Child Pornography on the Internet
The Case for Civilian Assistance.
Unavoidable Controversy and Bias.
The Magnitude of the Problem.
The Problem is Growing as Technology Grows.
Challenges to the Judiciary
Challenges to Law Enforcement
Conclusion, The Need for Civilian Involvement.
Law Enforcement Support
The Case for Civilian Assistance
The creation of every significant new technology brings with it bright new opportunities; and also the dark side of humanity. The Internet is by far the most progressive instrument yet devised for education, communication, research, business, and entertainment. But the Internet is also a place where Child Pornographers now go to both seek out its next victims and to provide their criminal product to the end users. The Internet has now become the most significant factor in child sexual exploitation and the principal means for exchanging Child Pornography. How can this problem be measured, what problems face Law Enforcement, and what approach can be taken to assist Law Enforcement. As will be observed by examining the attached material, Law Enforcement may not have a clear idea of the magnitude of the problem and even in its present understanding, the problem may already be well beyond the financial and technical abilities of but a few Law Enforcement Agencies. What follows is a compilation of research material created by some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated persons in Government, Law Enforcement and the field of telecommunication technology. This material was collected over a period of five months and all is in the public domain.
Unavoidable Controversy and Bias
The logical way to approach a problem is to define and quantify the it. After five months of Internet research this author can verify that the problem cannot be scientifically quantified. Searches of the Internet for Child Pornography (CP) using available search engines provides unreliable results. Many sites claiming to have CP on them do not have such content and are only labeled as such to draw in the curious, while other sites heavy with CP remain secretly hidden to only those that know how to find them. Further, an entire culture thrives on News Groups that actively transfer files heavy with CP. Indeed, it is our opinion that most sites and delivery conduits for this material never come to the attention of Law Enforcement until reported by concerned civilian Internet users. Incidents of CP reported in any particular state or country come under local jurisdiction while the problem is not local but a world wide one. In addition, most controversial is the issue of the definition of CP and which definition should be applied to any research model. Research conducted in the United States would be incorrect in Eastern Europe. Strong emotions surround this question as laws in some countries differ and in some cases actually permit this type of activity. Further, in dealing with statistics, complex and subtle issues become involved and there will always remain various criticisms regarding the methods used in any study that generates CP statistics for the Internet. Emotion and moral background will influence any study of this type and any researcher who claims to be without bias is fooling themselves or trying to fool the reader. One thing that could be determined – in spite of the fact that research methods preclude an accurate and scientific estimation of CP on the Internet, the problem can be seen to be of a much greater magnitude than was at first expected. So great is the problem, one must begin to question whether the general public, the judiciary or law enforcement as a whole understand the urgency of the situation.
The Magnitude of the Problem.
The problem of Child Pornography on the Internet is enormous. It is supplied by a well established sex industry maintained by crime organizations from all over the world. If the reader understands nothing else regarding this subject, it must be recognized that the Internet facilitates Child Pornography by providing a delivery means to the criminal, but the sex industry maintained by crime organizations from all over the world supplies the original product to be delivered. Quoting findings of the Stockholm Congress Against the Commercial Exploitation of Children here are some examples of the machine that supplies the end product;
- In the Philippines, there are 6 year old children who have sex with motorcycle drivers for $6, two hours’ worth of fares.
- In Bombay, hundreds of children in brothels are held in cages; on the street, 50 cents buys half an hour of sex with a 12 year old.
- In Sri Lanka, tourists rent elegant houses along the beaches, where they keep little boys whom they abuse.
- In Amsterdam, Holland, the show-window prostitutes are now mostly under 14 years of age.
- On Ninth Avenue in New York City, 15 year old girls approach slowly cruising cars behind the General Post Office and offer themselves, $40 with a condom, $60 without.
- In many African countries, in railroad and bus stations, brothels and bars, in private homes and maxi taxis, in parks, piers, and on beaches, the bodies of children are being bought and sold for a minimum of money, for food or candy, for school books, or the entrance fee to a local discotheque. West Africa has become an export center for underage girls.
In a presentation to the Vienna conference on Combating Child Pornography on the Internet, Dr. Agnes Fournier de Saint Maur, Head of the Trafficking in Human Beings Branch of Interpol reviewed evidence retrieved from just one single international case. The evidence:
- Over 1,000,000 still images
- 67 Gigabytes of child pornography material
- 624 CD-ROMs
- 38 computers
- 3227 floppy disks
The Problem is Growing as Technology Grows.
The growth of information technology has transformed the production of CP into a sophisticated yet easy to accomplish world wide “home cottage” industry. Technology and its advance has made it easy for anyone to produce and distribute CP material from their own home. Anyone with access to children, a digital camera and a home computer with an Internet hookup can be in business in short order. And the Internet will then provide the producer with a willing audience of possibly millions.
Indeed, this researcher found over 500 CP lists upon which thousands of Child Porn URLs were posted. In some cases these sites openly advertised themselves as being private homes supplying incest photographs and videos with sound. Using sophisticated tracing software, their servers were found to be located from Moscow to Cairo, from California to Virginia. Over 50 domestic sites were reported to authorities and subsequently shut down during the duration of this research. In addition, one can hardly conduct an innocent search on any subject without some form of “Teen” “Underage” or “Child Porn” Web site address coming up in the first 20 hits on the return list. There is now more Child Pornography available to the average and most casual observer than at any other time in history. That output can be obtained in seconds anywhere a personal computer can be found.
Indeed the creation of the enormous and new demand required to make this pornographic industry grow as it has is what can be considered to be the most significant factor in the history of child exploitation; The Internet – the principal means today for exchanging child pornography. This new technology and the problems it presents defies comparison with all other means of communication, both modern and past. With the new demand, comes the expected increase in supply. Human Rights Watch has estimated that there are a million child prostitutes (children 17 and younger) in India along. It has also been estimated that there are 800,000 child prostitutes in Thailand; 60,000 in the Philippines; 250,000 in Brazil; and between 100,000 and 300,000 in the United States. UNICEF states that conservative estimates place the number of child prostitutes exploited for pornography worldwide to be approximately two million, and that another million boys and girls throughout the world are forced into the sex trade every year. There they are forced to work for years or die of aids. They are offered no other choice.
In the late 1980’s, a coalition of Christian church people disturbed at hearing reports of a dramatic increase in the number of children involved in the sex trade set up research teams in only three locations; Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. The results which were made available in the early 1990’s, filled them with horror. It was not a case of a few hundred children as they had thought, but rather several hundred thousand children between the ages of 6 and 14. (Some were even younger.) In the later 1990’s reports coming out of Taiwan, India and Korea revealed similar findings.
Whereas competent researchers can admit the problem is beyond description, all can agree that by the very nature of the problem itself it is clear, humane and compelling that solutions be investigated. All possible avenues of attacking this problem must be explored. Highly qualified civilian assistance is warranted due to the unique challenges this new communication medium has presented to world wide Law Enforcement.
Challenges to the Judiciary
Law Enforcement faces the task of enforcing the laws given it, but LE agencies are by their very nature only regional at best and their jurisdictions are not far reaching. The Internet however, is world wide and covers every jurisdiction and therefore an entire set of problems never before realized face the judiciary in that they must enact laws that will support LE agencies as a whole in ridding the Internet of CP material. Governments must do what they can to ensure the adoption of a series of international common minimum standards and definitions relating to CP on the Internet. Law makers of every state should ensure that subject to legal exceptions that dealing only with researching the problem and attempts to eliminate CP, the intentional possession, production, distribution, importation, exportation, transmission and electronic storage of CP on or from the Internet is criminalized. Those laws should extend to real and pseudo/fictitious CP. Penalties for CP and its associated behaviors should be dissuasive. Jurisdictions should provide their ISPs with regulations that reasonably provide for penalties for those that knowingly host CP.
Challenges to Law Enforcement
The problem of Child Pornography on the Internet, while enormous, is all but dwarfed by the difficulties facing the Law Enforcement (LE) community. Some of the key challenges facing LE are:
- There are differences in legal systems and legal procedures to counter CP on the Internet from country to country. Internet CP is a world wide problem and as stated previously world wide standards are needed.
- The laws concerning the various forms of CP vary from country to country. They differ on whether audio, video, or text versions of CP should be covered.
- The legislation from country to country differs regarding the content and illegality of CP. Some countries differ on the age of consent of the child engaging in sexual activity and while some countries prohibit both real and fictitious CP still others only prohibit real CP. Shamefully, a minority of countries do not even prohibit CP no matter how it is facilitated or exhibited. In some cultures, minor female offspring are still sold to provide added income to the family.
- There are various approaches to how the crime itself of exhibiting child abuse via the Internet is described. While some countries criminalize the production, distribution and the possession of CP, others fail to cover its possession by the end user. In addition, some of the offences are based on a description of criminal intent and negligence, and others only cover what is described as deliberate criminal intent.
- There are a variety of differing measures of the law concerning the responsibilities of various persons involved in and along the distribution channels of CP and the subsequent sanctions. There are different responsibilities in regard to the producers, end users, ISPs (Independent Service Providers), and among ISPs there are differences in the roles of access allowed to LE, among hosts, nodes, and the actual content providers. ISPs as a whole do not want to be LE agents and resent “Big Brother” intrusion. In addition, for those ISPs with a willingness to help, software that will monitor Internet traffic for specific content vs monitoring specific sites and groups does not exist at this time.
- There is a genuine limit of coordination on some fronts among law officers themselves and between legal jurisdictions, the Internet Industry as a whole, and civilian society. Indeed, the talents of the most knowledgeable segment of society, that being the Internet savvy and computer literate civilian remains almost unnoticed and untapped by LE.
- Cross border evidence gathering and sharing of that evidence is difficult.
- Trans-frontier action against the criminals is constrained by conflicts of jurisdiction and the uncertain issue of which country should intervene and at which point in time to apprehend the child abuser. Once apprehended, who provides trial and jail and under what rights are questions that remain unanswered.
- There is an imbalance between the total anonymity that can be provided through the Internet, on the one hand, and the needs of LE in the detection of CP activity.
- There are very complex challenges presented by the use of encryption, anonymous mail and banking servers.
- There are inadequate human resources. It is not the intent of this work to alienate LE officers attempting against all odds to combat this problem; yet a candid observation requires honest and open discussion and the following must be stated: The facts as this researcher observes cannot be overlooked, officers of the law are first and foremost law enforcement persons trained in the law enforcement profession and are not necessarily persons with graduate degrees in computer science, heavily experienced computer and telecommunication forensics. Therefore, through no fault of their own, many agencies and/or jurisdictions now lack the technological facilities, proper and adequate funding, Internet experienced personnel and the capacity to deal with this new and enormous problem. And this by far is the most significant factor still standing squarely in the way of effectively combating Internet CP.
Conclusion: Thus the Need for Civilian Involvement.
With a problem of this nature, LE needs to set up a specialized system on the Internet for the fast reporting of suspected intentional possession, production, distribution, importation, exportation, transmission, and advertising of CP. A database that can contain attributes of a common format for the exchange of information. A software program needs to be written that will scan the Internet and detect the key characteristics of known CP. One of the most effective means presently for the discovery and reporting of CP sites are civilian reporting hot lines and the subsequent information provided by civilians. In addition, encryption of CP traffic and files makes both interception and prosecution of CP providers difficult if not completely impossible. Many cases have had to be dropped because files and hard disks could not be opened. One of the ways of entering these files is by obtaining passwords through third parties. Civilian advisors, empowered by LE should be able to effectively and inexpensively provide undercover Internet observations and access to these files. In addition, so called “computer geeks” those in the Industry familiar to the Internet and the capabilities of the CP law breaker should be actively recruited to assist LE. Cases sited in the attached research material show where a prosecutor in New York was not familiar with news groups nor how or where they could be accessed. These kinds of situations can be avoided by putting trained civilians to work for LE and then having their output made available to a world wide LE network dedicated to solving the CP problem.
The privacy issues surrounding the Internet culture also introduce a dilemma that can only be solved by trained civilian intervention. Citizens of many jurisdictions do not wish to be “observed” while they surf the Internet for non criminal content and information they wish to enjoy in the privacy of their own homes, whether that information is pornographic or academic in nature. In various jurisdictions such blanket and continual electronic “observation” of Internet traffic is not deserved nor legally warranted by LE officers. CP content therefore will not come to the attention of LE until someone gives first hand sworn knowledge of illegal activity to authorities. LE, in many cases will not have a means of discovering just cause to act upon a crime. Even when discovered, the illegal content may be encrypted by the distribution channel, making it available only to the pedophile end user and out of reach of LE agents. Without a willing, non law enforcement civilian to turn that information over to authorities and assist in creating just cause, such material cannot be seized or decrypted for use in prosecution..
Many issues indicate officers need civilian assistance to combat the Internet CP problem, but no issue is as persuasive as the issue of multiplication of effort. In time, software and techniques may become more widely available in order to monitor the Internet for illegal content while still maintaining an adequate level of privacy. The forensic knowledge level of LE officials will increase in the future and access to hidden files and their means of delivery will be more readily available as evidence. The judiciary will undoubtably improve the law and provide LE officials with a better set of regulations upon which to base their work in the coming years. However, there is not now nor will there ever be enough funding or trained personnel to staff content intercept sites seeking hidden criminal activity along a world wide network of hundreds of millions of computers. Thus, properly trained and briefed civilian volunteers will be an eventuality. A brief examination of this approach shows that this realization is not without precedent.
The American Amateur Relay League has over a 100 year history of providing notification to federal law enforcement of the misuse of the airwaves. The Civil Air Patrol, for the majority of the history of aviation has consistently provided professional assistance to federal aviation officials thereby saving countless tax dollars and easing the burden placed upon LE professionals. In sheriff departments nationwide, auxiliaries and mounted posses assist officials in everything from the recapture of escapees to search and rescue in rough terrain. From town to town, city to city, neighborhood watch groups assist police in reducing criminal activity. Indeed, civilian assistance saves time, money, and frees LE officers to help protect more citizens at greater efficiency. With a crime against a group of victims as defenseless as our own children, facilitated by a technology more powerful than any other communication medium in the history of mankind, it is easy to justify the use of civilian volunteers in bringing an end to this outrage. What is not as easy to justify is leaving Law Enforcement to fight the battle alone, out gunned and under manned.
Mission & Objectives of the Model
Organization of the Task Force
Hierarchy of the Group
Strengths & Weaknesses
Task Force Coordination
Task Force Activities
Suggested Model Time Line
The creation and delivery of Child Pornography using computers and the Internet exists at an epidemic level, and yet there is little notice from society. Adult pornography gets more attention in the manner of public scrutiny, religious indignation, and political action than does the technologically enhanced destruction of society’s innocents. To make this scenario worse, while this horrific problem grows unnoticed, law enforcement possesses little ability to halt this type of crime. Law Enforcement Officers dedicated to eradicating the problem, find themselves “undermanned, underfunded, and outgunned.”
The reduction in the cost of modern Personal Computers, and the increased capabilities of the computer equipment itself creates an atmosphere where those that would exploit children have become remarkably effective. What would have required thousands of dollars of equipment and effort now requires little. In the past criminal organizations of some magnitude were required to supply and maintain a Child Pornographic enterprise, but the crime is now being observed at the “cottage industry” level in small towns nationwide.
The Internet has provided a communications medium like no other in the history of mankind but with it has come the ability to deliver and consume Child Pornography faster and easier than ever before. In addition, the Internet itself can be used by the modern pedophile to lure children into sexually abusive relationships. Pedophiles have been discovered to be major contributors to chat room traffic both to make contact with children to arrange clandestine sexual encounters with them and to deliver pornographic images to others on the Internet. Indeed, many often pretend to be children themselves while “on-line.”
Two highly respected works were used in evaluating the magnitude of the Child Pornography problem for Part One of the Task Force Model project. The Report from the Stockholm Congress Against the Commercial Exploitation of Children entitled “Children for Sale” by Ellen Lukas and “The Internet: A Clear and Present Danger” by Cathleen Cleaver. These two reports summarize the problem well and are included as attachments to this work. The investigative research done on this subject proves that the scope of the problem is much larger than anyone has previously anticipated and it is growing exponentially to a point where it will be impossible to track and eventually eradicate if steps are not taken soon.
Mission and Objectives of the Model
The philosophy behind this project is simple yet difficult to achieve. It is the wish of the members and the will of the ACPO board to establish a project “model” to be used by local, state, and federal jurisdictions whereby a consortium of Law Enforcement Officers, Prosecutors, Civilian business entrepreneurs, and Civilian Advocates may come together by pooling their respective resources into a successful organization designed to attack computer and other high technology crimes; more especially but not limited to, Child Pornography on the Internet. The unique nature of this crime requires an organization that can capitalize upon the strengths of the each element of the Task Force and as an end result be more effective at a reduced expense to the tax payer.
In creating this model, reviews of successful investigative forces were conducted. Successful functions of previous models were adopted and improved upon and less than successful features were omitted. However, the reader will note, the revolutionary component of this model is that it employs the use of Civilian Business and Civilian Advocates performing functions other than criminal investigation.
The nature of the crime along with the characteristics of the delivery device, that being the Internet and personal computers, creates a situation whereby Law Enforcement is finding their usual crime fighting processes of the past to impede their investigations. A new process must be found. It is the objective of this model to find and promulgate such a process that can be established again and again throughout the nation. Organizations of this nature were reviewed and observations were incorporated into the make up of this Task Force model. One such plan, Improving Investigations and Protecting Victims by the Massachusetts Child Exploitation Network is attached to this study.
Online crimes against children consist of the following primary activities:
- Adults seeking illicit sexual contacts with children by becoming friends with the victim. Once having become familiar with the child the pedophile arranges contact for sex and possibly worse, as some children that have fallen victim to this process have never been heard of again.
- Adults seeking to arrange illicit sexual contact with children through other adults willing to obtain children for that purpose.
- Simple online transactions where child pornography is exchanged, sold or purchased. The actual exchange is facilitated by the Internet and occurs through offline methods such as traditional shipping, and also in real time via the electronic transfer of email, file-transfer-protocol (FTP), Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and still other electronic means of transfer.
These primary elements are simple to grasp, but they have within them attributes that make the discovery, investigation, and prosecution of pedophiles more difficult. A consortium made up of Law Enforcement elements, Prosecutors, businesses, and Civilians all contributing what they do best will be able to overcome these problems and create an atmosphere where the criminal stands less of a chance. Some of the reasons such a consortium is needed are:
- Unlike other crimes the Internet expands the pedophile’s reach beyond their local jurisdiction. Even if discovered and identified, small jurisdictions may not be willing to pay for the prosecution of a crime that did not occur in their locality. In addition, the question of venue will always be used to delay any prosecution and increase the expense to Law Enforcement. Not only will investigative techniques have to be changed as the problem escalates, but Law Enforcement, parents, and children need to expand their understanding of child sexual abuse and exploitation to include heavy emphasis on the Internet and the use of computers. Civilian groups are more suited to education and activism than are Law Enforcement organizations.
- Easy Accessibility: Very sophisticated computers and peripherals with fully featured enhancements are now widely available at costs that are low compared to the amount of money that can be made via a “Child Porno” enterprise selling images. Yet, at the same time, many jurisdictions are completely unwilling to supply officers with the modern computer equipment and Internet high speed access due to cost. In some cases the officers are informed that they, “already have guns, cars, and typewriters, we cannot fund crime fighting in another jurisdiction.” When funded at all, a single computer might be forthcoming, for one single officer. Business has the capability to supply the needed equipment and software and Civilians have the ways to raise funds for equipment and software purchases. If funding is left at current levels Internet Child Pornography will continue to increase at its present rate.
- Security: All hardware, software, and the pornographic data can be configured to avoid detection of illicit material unless very sophisticated investigative techniques are employed. Even then, high quality forensic software packages must be obtained and these packages again are expensive when compared to the low cost to the criminal. Business and Civilian professionals familiar with encryption and cryptography can be utilized by the task force to increase the success of investigation.
- Anonymity: Pedophiles assume any identity that they believe will enhance their credibility with children and help keep them from being caught, including identities of individuals not involved in any criminal activity. Civilian businesses and Internet access independent service providers (ISP) are more able to track the identity of individuals and obtain a past history of their activities than Law Enforcement. Access and liability will always limit Law Enforcement but is the specialty of corporate marketing and credit departments.
- Instant and Private Gratification: Pedophiles can view real time images and procure illicit relationships in their own homes under the very noses of wives and parents. All without fear of being discovered in public places. Again, education and activism by Civilians in a task force can more ably educate all in the home about the dangers of the Internet.
- Parental Observation can be avoided: Children often use computers in areas of the home where parents cannot observe their activity. Even some parents that do attempt to supervise may not be computer literate enough to keep the child from becoming a victim or a consumer of Child Pornography. Once again, a Civilian component of any task force is more able to educate.
- The Internet facilitates and will magnify the pedophile’s interest and allow like minded individuals to support deviant interests among themselves. This leads to “sex tourism” for the purpose of child sex encounters well beyond the reach of the local jurisdiction. Businesses as well as our own children need to understand the problem. Travel agencies and chamber of commerce departments must be more aware.
Organization of the Task Force
It must be noted that the manner and composition of the Task Force is as important if not MORE important than any other element in creating the group. The Task Force must be comprised of several subgroups that because of legal restrictions unique to the legal environment as a whole and upon each subgroup they will not be able to have complete knowledge or control over the entire enterprise. In any “Task Force,” the Force as a whole must by definition have Tasks to perform. These tasks are not the goals, missions, or objectives, but rather are specific tasks that someone must do in order to meet and achieve the goals of assisting Law Enforcement. Therefore, it is proper to consider the tasking of such a group to specifically combat the unique nature of these Internet crimes against children and provide Law Enforcement with effective help without compromising evidence or bringing on liability to any subgroup. That tasking leads the entity setting up this group to the knowledge of whom specifically should lead the task force and then populate the subgroups making up the Task Force as a whole.
Hierarchy of the Group
In the successful Task Forces researched, the Task Force was organized in three main branches or subgroups under a coordinator:
- Coordinator (Ex-Law Enforcement or Past Prosecuting Attorney)
- Law Enforcement Branch
- Business (Corporate) Branch
- Civilian Branch
In interviews with Law Enforcement representatives that have been associated with both successful and unsuccessful attempts to set up a Task Force of this nature, it was observed that there was one major factor that contributed to the development of the effective group. That was the personality and the specific present and past profession of the coordinator or founder of the group. It was repeatedly stressed that the Coordinator must have specific characteristics and must NOT have certain negative personality attributes in order for the group to establish itself and then start to achieve the successes that would enable the group to continue in existence. Limitations placed upon the various subgroups or branches of the Task Force make the Characteristics of the Coordinator even more significant as the Coordinator must facilitate communications that will capitalize on each subgroup’s strengths.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Sub Groups
The make up of the organization and content of the communications within the Task Force are dictated by the strengths and weaknesses of the differing groups in the force. However, it should be stressed that this is what makes the group effective. The group should not be forced together for the sake of making a group. Rather, they should come together because each branch can do something and contribute a function that the other branches of the group are not as well suited to perform for themselves. Here is a grid of strengths and weaknesses that demonstrates why such a group can succeed if the communication between the branches of the Task Force is facilitated by an influential, credible, and affable coordinator.
|Law oriented||Profit oriented||Anti-crime oriented|
|Is charged with and has the authority to pursue and arrest suspects.||Has no such authority.||Has no such authority.|
|Has the authority to conduct investigations but reported information is limited without a warrant.||Has no authority to investigate criminal behavior, but is able to obtain a wealth of information not available to either other sub group.||Has no authority to investigate and is only able to report observations to a certain limited degree.|
|Has no political ability to fund itself.||Can provide funding, various resources, and bring pressure to bear on political individuals to provide funding.||Can bring massive pressure to bear on political individuals to provide funding. Can develop not for profit mechanisms to provide equipment and funding for personnel. Provides oversight and focus for the group.|
|Can communicate only limited information on a need to know basis with reasonable cause.||Can communicate a wealth of information but only to Law Enforcement on a need to know basis for reasonable cause shown.||Can only receive that information from LEOs and Corp. that will facilitate activist, educational, and oversight activities.|
It should be stressed that the strengths of the various subgroups make the Task Force effective. Business and Civilian activists have much to offer and without their help Law Enforcement is not going to catch up with the problem of Child Exploitation via the Internet.
Task Force Coordinator
The Task Force Coordinator must be an individual that can portray themselves with credibility in all groups and facilitate proper communications within the Task Force in accordance with the weaknesses and strengths as noted above. The coordinator, by virtue of the material that will be handled, must be a past Law Enforcement Office and if possible, must operate with the blessings and authorization of the Prosecutor’s office. Civilian components of the Task Force under current law must not possess or directly handle evidence yet in a successful Task Force model, there is no such need.
Mr. Joe Mykytyn of JM consulting has worked with several very successful groups and is the co-founder of the Atlanta Metro-Tech Computer Crimes Task Force. Mr. Mykytyn’s biographical information is attached for the reader’s review. His observations have been that with all groups that have proven to be both successful and long lived, the Coordinator has been an individual that, “can walk in both camps with credibility.” It was stressed that the coordinator should be a past Law Enforcement or Prosecuting Attorney that has, “retired but not really retired.” By that it is meant that the coordinator cannot be a retired person that has decided to “go fishing” according to Mr. Mykytyn. He or she must be an individual that has left active police duty and now has their own Investigative agency or the like and is still very active in dealing with Law Enforcement but is in actuality no more than a Civilian.
Next to being past Law Enforcement the next most important factor was the ability of the Coordinator to communicate. Something must bind the group other than a common interest. That element that binds must be the ability of the coordinator to communicate effectively and keep everyone well informed. The coordinator must be able to credibly deal with and be trusted by Law Enforcement, and Prosecutors, and yet still be able to communicate limited information to the Civilian components of the Task Force without allowing the Civilian components to feel left out. Indeed it was found that the most important components of the Task Force were not Law Enforcement and Corporate but rather the Civilian components as they are able to bring pressure upon legislatures, councils, and commissions to fund increased operations. In addition, the Civilian components were able to provide focus and oversight to the Task Force. The Civilians provide the mission and conscience to the group and will over time cause a momentum that neither Law Enforcement nor Corporate will be able to maintain alone.
Developing Communication Within Task Force
Once started, the Task Force must develop its lines of communication. The transfer of information deals primarily with three main functions:
- Law Enforcement investigations and requests for information.
- Corporate information contributions to Law Enforcement.
- The day to day conduct of the business of the Task Force.
One of the first tasks of the Coordinator is to persuade everyone in the group to give up something they do not want to give up. There is no other way to put it.
Law Enforcement must give up a limited amount of information to Corporate; not control, not enforcement, not investigation, etc. Law Enforcement access to special information and manpower, and the permission to deal directly with a criminal. However, they must give up some control over the group and they must not own the group. If they do have total control over the Task Force, the organization may not develop as the dynamic model that will take advantage of the strengths of each subgroup.
Corporate has the money, talent, equipment, and software. They do not have free manpower. Everything Corporate does will be centered around a profit motive and contributions in the form of capital, whether it be financial or actual, will be considered to their accountants to be a charitable contribution. In most cases, Corporate will facilitate the acquisition of resources in exchange for discounted reimbursement. The real benefit to the Task Force contributed by Corporate will come in the form of extensive information about the suspect pedophile that cannot be obtained by Law Enforcement. While Corporate cannot venture into some areas of investigation as it would be an invasion of privacy liability, using already established marketing and consumer databases are able to provide Law Enforcement with a complete historical package of a suspects activities for up to the last 30 years. In Child Exploitation cases this is extremely relevant as some of these perpetrators operate unchecked for decades before being discovered. Only when all resources have been brought to the table will the seasoned investigator be able to reveal the sophisticated and technically adept pedophile using modern encryption techniques.
The Civilian component of the Task Force should handle activities and information dealing with activist functions to educate the public as to the magnitude of the Child Exploitation problem, the proper use of the Internet, the creation of materials for the force, and to communicate with legislators and those that might financially contribute to the Task Force.
Once the three branches of the Task Force have been staffed, (and this may be with as little as one person in each branch or sub group) the Task Force can start meeting on a regular basis until it becomes “one group” to the individual members and not three separate groups with their own interests. At this point, policies can be written and the actual crime fighting activity of the group can be initiated. Success without liability will provide longevity to the group, therefore, it is paramount that the group have within it as a member at least one Prosecuting Attorney from a jurisdiction local to the group. This will provide the Task Force with the ability to be credible in the legal environment and legal guidance that will reduce liability and increase successful prosecutions.
Currently in the United States the law is written in a manner whereby there is no provision for handling evidence of Child Pornography unless one is a sworn Law Enforcement officer. Law Enforcement is not even able to utilize the services of a Civilian computer/cryptography expert without having deputized that individual in some manner. Any contact, even accidental contact with the very material that this Task Force model must attempt to combat creates a situation whereby a felony has been committed in order to prevent a felony. To add to this concern one of the problems with groups like this is that according to officers interviewed, pedophiles attempt to infiltrate such groups in order to either handle such material or to cover their own activities under the guise of being associated with such a Task Force.
Civilians associated with the Task Force must therefore give up something they do not wish to give up and that is privacy. The successful Task Force will need to perform background checks on Civilians handling any sensitive information. In addition, any Civilian that intends to become authorized through the Prosecutor’s office or be deputized to directly assist Law Enforcement should be willing to take a polygraph test. Any Civilian allowed access to Law Enforcement communications must be well established and stable.
It should be noted that one of the reasons Task Force models such as this fall apart is that no Civilians, (it could be as few as one) ever become deputized or authorized by a Prosecutor but are still actively assisting Law Enforcement and placing themselves in danger of arrest while attempting to halt a criminal activity. There is no good reason for any of the Civilian volunteers to place themselves at risk and the well organized Task Force will have made provisions for this problem. Many see this situation as a police department hiring a police photographer yet not allowing the photographer to look through the camera at the evidence. Since in this case, viewing the evidence is against the law.
One of the better solutions that could be attempted is to develop a sworn Corporate police officer with all of the authority available to Law Enforcement and the resources of the Corporate environment.
Task Force Activities
All Task Force activities fall into the following categories: recruitment, solicitation of support, education, enforcement, and prevention. Recruitment has already been address in regard to the Task Force Coordinator. However, recruiting core members must follow generally accepted guidelines for filling any position that would be dealing with sensitive evidence or information of the level to which the applicant aspires. For example, a Civilian advocate willing to lobby the legislature needs only to handle facts and statistics and does not necessarily need to have the same level of training and evaluation as would as would an officer handling evidence. Task force activities should consist of but not be limited to any of the following items in support of these main categories:
- Establish and fund a core group of technically skilled investigators and consultants from federal, state, and local Law Enforcement to coordinate undercover investigations of high tech crimes.
- Develop an internal training process that would establish and maintain the highest of ethical standards and guidelines for operations and prosecutions. This protocol must be dynamic and be able to reflect changes in the law and governing court decisions regarding the defense of entrapment. The development of this education content should be under the direct supervision of the Prosecuting Attorney.
- Develop a lead/case response protocol to encourage collaboration and information sharing both within the Task Force and to other entities outside the Task Force. In addition, this communication protocol must anticipate the need to identify victims and their parents and to be able to refer them to the appropriate medical and social service providers. Within this protocol a manner in which to prioritize cases first must be developed.
- Create a Law Enforcement training program and train Law Enforcement officers in the local area to enhance their awareness of the exploitation of children on the Internet. This training can be developed into a multi part presentation that can be used for Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, and legislators.
- Provide for a system where Civilian assistance can be utilized to enable the Task Force to give technical assistance to jurisdictions throughout the state.
- Provide for a system where Civilian activism can be utilized to create funding for the Task Force whether that funding is on a Not-For-Profit basis, or publicly funded through the budget process.
- Provide for a system where Civilian as well as Law Enforcement representatives may apply for grants for investigations, hardware equipment, software, training, and other costs associated directly with combating high tech crimes. (Government Assistance Almanac)
- Design, develop, and securely maintain a stand alone case management data base system to properly handle case management information and results of subsequent investigations. Already existing police record packages such as the C.O.P.S. case management software can be purchased for less than it would cost to develop such a package from scratch. In addition, procedures for the collection and safe maintenance of evidence must be assured in compliance with acceptable investigative procedures.
- Develop and subsequently institute undercover investigations to seek out and discover high tech crimes especially, but not limited to, Child Pornography. This would include acquisition of equipment, software, and personnel specific to the task. The collection of information, tracking ISP log history on a timely basis, and the periodic review and sanitization of equipment. (Cleaning of various virus, trojans, and open port “spyware” placed on Internet computers by hackers.
- Develop a prevention and education program. This program could include brochures, handouts, videotapes, booklets, and timely notices that Civilian as well as Law Enforcement speakers could use in educating schools, church groups, community based youth programs, and other civic groups. This education should provide children and parents with guidelines that will promote Internet safety. Information on how to filter, block, or monitor their children’s Internet activity along with how and where to report pedophile activity or the presence of Child Pornography web sites.
- Provide for the purchase of forensic software and the associated training that accompanies such tools. Those products should consist of but not be limited to the Encase Forensic Software, Data Interception by Remote Transmission (D.I.R.T.) Software, Binary Audit Identification Transfer (B.A.I.T.) Software, and others specific to the project.
Time Line for Building the Task Force
|Month 1||Evaluate and hire the Task Force Coordinator.||Prosecutor/LEO|
|Months 1-3||Prepare lead/case management systems and protocols.
Set up an internal personnel evaluation and training process.
|Months 1-3||Recruit key Law Enforcement and technical personnel and form the investigation unit.||Prosecutor
|Months 2-4||Recruit Civilian and Corporate assistance.
If possible, deputize selected individuals.
|Months 2-12||Through Civilian activists lobby for grant and funding support, equipment, software and supplies.||Civilian
|Months 2-12||Identify liaison personnel in other agencies and organizations including local judges.||Coordinator
|Months 2-4||Obtain Hardware and Forensic Data Collection Software.
Develop a secure process for evidence maintenance.
|Months 3-6||Set up the lead/case response protocol.||Coordinator/LEO|
|Months 2-12||Conduct investigations based upon leads and undercover work.||LEO|
|Months 2-7||Develop educational material including a video tape.
Pilot test the materials for effectiveness.
|Months 2-7||Develop training for Law Enforcement personnel.||Prosecutor/LEO|
|Months 5-7||Draft an Children’s Anti-Sexual Exploitation Handbook.
Pilot test the materials for effectiveness.
|Months 7-12||Conduct 4 training events for civic groups. Material for this training can be internally prepared material along with already existing material available from the FBI.||Civilian
|Months 1-12||Conduct monthly meetings for the conduct of business.||Coordinator/LEO
|Months 1-12||Evaluate and report on the operations of the Task Force.||Coordinator/LEO|
The problem of Child Exploitation using personal computers communicating on the Internet is of such a magnitude that Law Enforcement organizations nation wide are finding themselves poorly funded, staffed, and supplied. Present day Law Enforcement needs a different approach to attacking this problem. The Task Force described in this model is one such approach. In preparing this model, we recognize that there are agencies that have a wealth of experience along with already established protocols for the investigation process, including referrals of underage victims to social services and medical facilities. In some jurisdictions, multi disciplinary teams have already been established for dealing with this problem. But, the Internet and the modern desktop computer have caused child exploitation to be driven into the major problem it is today has raised new issues that can no longer be dealt with in the traditional manner. New protocols and investigative techniques along with an organization designed to anticipate Internet crime is the only way society is going to eventually stop the pedophile.
The Internet: A Clear and Present Danger?
By Cathleen A. Cleaver
Children For Sale: The Stockholm Congress Against the Commercial Exploitation of Children
By Ellen Lukas
Fact Sheet: Crimes Against Children Research Center
University of New Hampshire
Child Pornography: Police and Justice Cooperation
Europol; Deputy Director Willy Bruggeman
Hiding Crimes in Cyberspace: Digital Encryption of Evidence
By Dorothy Denning and William Baugh, Jr.
Child Sexual Exploitation: Improving Investigations and Protecting Victims
By Massachusetts Child Exploitation Network
Feasibility of Establishing an Internet Crimes Unit in Michigan
By MSP Investigative Services Bureau
Mr. Joseph Mykytyn, Jr.
Forensic Software Product Information
D.I.R.T. (Data Interception by Remote Transmission)
By Codex Data Systems
B.A.I.T. (Binary Audit Identification Transfer)
By Codex Data Systems