Reminder to Clinton Pedophiles in DOJ Pride – Serco is tracking you!
Source: New Scientist
Global swoop on newsgroup paedophiles
By Will Knight • November 28, 2001
More than 130 people in 19 different countries have been arrested or are under investigation after police traced the distribution of child pornography through different internet newsgroups.
Technical experts at UK internet service provider Demon Internet aided officers from the National Crime Squad’s new Hi-Tech Crime Unit with the investigation.
A spokesperson from Thus, Demon’s parent company, says that investigators were not given access to the server logs that record Demon users’ activities.
Investigators were simply provided with access to newsgroup postings in the same way as any other Demon customer. Technical experts from Demon then helped officers distinguish the identifying information contained within the message “headers” of particular postings.
Officers traced postings relating to certain images to different internet service providers around the world and then contacted Interpol to track down suspects.
Investigators say they discovered 10,000 suspect postings to over 30 different newsgroups and identified 60,000 new images. They plan to use face recognition software to identify victims in different images, to help trace them. This software has been developed in conjunction with UK company Serco, although no technical details have been released.
“This operation has sadly and distressingly brought thousands of new images of abuse to our attention,” said Detective Superintendent Peter Spindler of the National Crime Squad. “These young victims need to be identified and protected as quickly as possible.”
Spindler added: “We are able to show that those accessing these newsgroups did so regularly and with purpose.”
Nine regional police forces in the UK were involved in the operation. Warrants for searches or arrests were issued in 19 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, and the US.
According to a report by the BBC, another 400 suspects could not be traced by investigators. Police have not said how they evaded detection but it is possible to post messages to news groups anonymously using intermediary servers that strip away header information.
The UK government introduced legislation in 2000, giving the police greater access to internet communications. Further provisions for the extended storage of data is included in new anti-terrorist legislation currently passing through parliament.
Privacy advocates claim that these laws could be misused and some question the justification for the legislation. Peter Sommer, at the London School of Economics computer science department, says that the techniques involved in the latest paedophile investigation did not require a special police warrant.
“It is apparent that the existing legislation was sufficient to help the NCS gather evidence and secure the ISP co-operation needed,” Sommer told New Scientist.