Rescuing Exploited Children by Using Digital Intelligence to Solve Cases Faster
Child exploitation is a crime that requires our best efforts in rescuing victims and bringing perpetrators to justice. The challenge is clear. Always-on-connected devices and networks have created channels for predators to exploit children and distribute explicit material more easily than ever before. The exponential increase in the number of images and videos being shared online requires a collective and collaborative approach.
Due to this increasing challenge law enforcement agencies are still being told to do more with less. Thankfully, initiatives like Project VIC and NCMEC (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children) are providing great hope in solving these crimes. Together, Project VIC and NCMEC share a common commitment to providing law enforcement with the tools, data, and support needed to effectively and efficiently rescue children.
With technology partners like Cellebrite, they are developing better solutions for law enforcement that can make a real difference to frontline officers. These solutions are designed to produce actionable digital intelligence to identify and rescue more victims, bring offenders to justice and reduce the psychological impact on investigating officers.
In the webinar, Discover Actionable Digital Intelligence to Fight Child Exploitation, you will hear how industry experts from the NCMEC and Project VIC are using digital intelligence solutions to transform investigations involving exploited children.
The goal of NCMEC is to better prioritize cases and files in order to more quickly assist law enforcement with victim identification and child sexual exploitation investigations. NCMEC has partnered with Cellebrite to “find the signal in the noise” of data by leveraging digital intelligence solutions to surface only the relevant files from the increasing volumes of data.
The webinar starts by examining the scale of the child exploitation problem facing law enforcement today and how NCMEC and Project VIC are responding to that challenge. You will hear how NCMEC and Project VIC partner with technology companies and law enforcement to make use of technology that generates actionable intelligence faster and with more accuracy than ever before.
Such partnerships are resulting in more victims being identified and rescued, more offenders being brought to justice, and a reduction in the psychological impact on frontline investigators being forced to view known illicit images and videos over and over again. The webinar will wrap up with a Q&A session.
Jennifer Newman is the Senior Program Strategist for NCMEC’s Exploited Children Division (ECD). Jennifer joined NCMEC in 2001 and has spent the past 17 years working on cases, programs, and issues in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children.
In her current role, Ms. Newman assists in the growth and development of the ECD’s strategy, policies, roles, and services. Working closely with the management team, Ms. Newman helps implement projects, workflows, policies, and systems to enable the ECD to perform at an optimal rate and provide new and enhanced products and services to the public, industry, law enforcement, NGOs, and other stakeholders.
Richard W. Brown is the Project Coordinator for the domestic/international child rescue initiative called “Project VIC.” This project incorporates the latest technologies to run newly discovered images against existing image video libraries to maximize image and video matching.
Project VIC prides itself on using supported Open Standards instead of proprietary technology. This project has allowed investigators to swiftly process thousands of images and video from hard drives seized in criminal cases and sets aside cataloged images so they can concentrate on rescuing child victims depicted in images never seen before.
Derek Brown is Vice President for Analytics at Cellebrite and works with Law Enforcement agencies across North America to collect actionable intelligence from vast quantities of digital data.
Derek has a P.h.D. in Signal Processing and has over 20 years of experience partnering with law enforcement agencies, government departments, and financial services organizations to maximize the value they realize from their investment in analytics solutions.
Outline of the Topics Covered in the Webinar
NCMEC’s Exploited Children Division – Child Sexual Abuse Images and Videos on the Internet
In the first section of the webinar, Jennifer will talk about the two units within NCMEC’s ECD division, which are the CyberTipline and the Child Identification Program. As we explore statistics that indicate the scale of the problem, we will highlight the main challenges that affect all professionals in the child exploitation prevention line of work.
Actively Traded Files: Relationship of Offender to Exploited Child
“Actively traded” means the images or videos being traded, collected, or actively sought in cases that have been submitted to NCMEC by law enforcement where images from these particular cases have been seen in five or more CyberTip reports. Jennifer will discuss the data regarding the nine most common relationships of exploiter to exploited children as well as the types of exploitation depicted in digital media.
The CyberTipline can be considered the start of an investigation where a tip or lead comes in and then it is sent to Law Enforcement to continue the investigation. Jennifer will explain the data received by NCMEC starting January 2010 through to June 2017. For example, there was a rise from under a million reports in 2011 to over 8 million reports in 2016 of which 99% of those reports were from Electronic Service Providers (ESP).
Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP)
CVIP is responsible for the end of the investigation after the forensics have been done and the images have been seized and reviewed, The CVIP assists prosecutors to prepare for the prosecution and all it entails. CVIP serves as a clearinghouse for child exploitation cases, so children that have been identified worldwide.
Jennifer will discuss the escalation between September 2012 to October 2017 in terms of; identified children worldwide entered into the system, requests for case reviews, and images and videos submitted by Law Enforcement and processed by CVIP.
4 Main Challenges Facing Organizations Fighting Child Exploitation
In this part of the webinar, we will explain the four main challenges faced by the NCMEC, Law Enforcement and other organizations when trying to stop child exploitation that includes the silent victim, time, technology and the volume of information.
As a clearinghouse, NCMEC tries to remove data silos by pulling together all the images that are part of a case and integrating them into a series that may include files from International sources, State agencies, local agencies, and Federal agencies. Jennifer will explore how the data is brought together using Hash Values (binarily similar images), to identify multiple uses of the same picture in several locations and devices, Metadata and more.
Over the years Project VIC has listened to thousands of frontline investigators who have all said that they need to tackle the growing volumes of duplicate materials we are still forced to view. As a result, one of Project VIC’s main goals is to get actionable digital intelligence to the desktops of detectives worldwide.
When an investigator opens a case for the first time Project VIC wants them to know immediately if they have a case of a collector or an actual producer of illegal materials, which is the first step in any child exploitation case. Richard will explain the victim-centric approach that pairs investigators with the tools and data that is optimized to help law enforcement with their investigative techniques.
Project VIC has unique international data collection capabilities that utilize cloud services as well as informational gateways installed on law enforcement desktops and computer labs that can be used right at the crime scene. The data tools can indicate to law enforcement if they are viewing images and video already identified and known for years or are they looking at new material just taken with someone’s cell phone or tablet.
Richard will discuss the 4 main purposes of Project VIC data; to help find victims, reduce workloads, reduce exposure of detectives to offending media, and create alerts to improve time to arrest.
Project VIC – Tool Provider Overview:
Project VIC proactively works with tools and other service providers to get them to receive robust data from other Project VIC compliant services. These practices have now built an international Project VIC community focused on a victim-centric approach to investigations.
Richard will present the four main areas Project VIC’s technology partners are playing a part in to address data standards for instant collaboration and sharing and datasets for actionable intelligence data imported into market tools for frontline investigators.
The collaboration with technology partners is bringing Project VIC closer to making a specialized mesh network to exchange data focused on collaboration from domestic and international partners to enhance actionable data built on standards that are shared across systems, tools and like services.
Project VIC Success Stories
Project VIC’s surveys of users have proven they are now not being exposed to explicit videos and content because of the millions of known data libraries widely distributed to law enforcement via cloud services. Richard will explore recent success stories resulting in more victims rescued, less exposure of investigators to harmful material, and better convictions when production material was found early on.
With the technology partnerships Project VIC is identifying gaps and finding long-term sustainable solutions. The collaboration with Cellebrite is an example of a solution provider working with a non-profit to add much-needed features in the field to identify children. These true partnerships are meant to give value to the investigators, law enforcement and governments to adopt the victim-centric policing methodology to increase the rate of child rescues.
Today Project VIC uses Cellebrite Pathfinder and Cellebrite UFED Cloud to give the law enforcement community the ability to integrate Project VIC data into their products this type of data integration will make a significant difference to law enforcement professionals in certain environments.
Top 5 Q+A Session Questions:
- How can a law enforcement agency obtain a hash library of exploited children images and videos from Project VIC?
- How does NCMEC work with the international community in terms of being the US clearinghouse? How do they provide assistance?
- In regard to the Cyber tip line and NCMECs use of industry partners, what controls have been implemented both to allow for progress in identifying those who exploit children and protect the personal privacy of the individual?
- With Project VIC integrating Cellebrite products, will the agency require an internet connection in order to identify hash values or can that hash library be downloaded for offline use and how do we go about uploading hash values to the Project VIC cloud?
- How much does geocoding on photographs assist with victim identification and investigations?
Access the webinar, Discover Actionable Digital Intelligence to Fight Child Exploitation, to understand how industry experts are using digital intelligence solutions to transform investigations involving crimes against children.