Defining a Global Approach to Eradicate Internet Crimes Against Children

14 November, 2019

Richard W. Brown, CEO at Project VIC International

A big shift is taking place in policing today. Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) have an increasing number of tools at their disposal to solve cases and locate perpetrators of Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC). Young victims of these horrific crimes can now be found and safeguarded at much greater speeds than was previously possible.

Leveraging New Technologies

However, this feat is not being achieved by one group alone. I really believe in the NGO-Industry-LEA collaboration model – sharing information is key. It is so important to bring the data we all have together, communicating across borders and boundaries to resolve investigations.

Right now, we’re seeing many technology companies working with neural networks, AI, machine learning and cognitive services to support law enforcement. With the sheer volume of data society now produces, there’s a real need to reduce processing times down to milliseconds.

At Project VIC, we’ve developed a delivery system to help law enforcement get data on demand. We’ve seen a huge turning point in their ability to leverage data.

The police can now get relevant data at crime scenes in seconds if required because of new developments in cloud delivery options. Project VIC International has created a system of efficiency, while providing advantages for investigators’ health.

Now digital forensics technologies provided by Project VIC and CameraForensics can use automation to find that one single detail in a set of seized photos that will help LEAs find the perpetrator of an offence, that’s one set of photos investigators don’t have to spend hours closely examining. It’s a huge benefit for their mental health.

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Creating a Data Sharing Standard

Technology is just one part of the puzzle. Standardisation for data sharing is a huge challenge when bringing cross-border resources together. The internet itself may be borderless, but investigators in different countries more than likely will be using different investigative tools and data – the difficulty of sharing valuable information can hamper international collaboration.

Creating technology that meets the needs of complex ICAC investigations by working directly with LEAs has always been at the heart of what we do at Project VIC International.

The Project VIC Sharing Initiative was initially focused on a group of ICAC Task Forces and Federal Agencies who wanted to increase the number of children safeguarded by improving on policing practices and procedures. It’s since grown into a global standard, with collaborators across several continents.

Project VIC’s smart workflows have been developed with law enforcement processes in mind, while following victim-centric workflows. In 2018, we created VIClabs to facilitate and aid in the deconfliction of International LEA Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) focused projects.

This project has now led to the creation of international data sharing standards we call the Video Image Classification Standard “VIC”. The standard guarantees every tool and service can interoperate, enabling quicker identification and rescues of victims globally.

Our mantra has always been to make it easy for any investigator, anywhere in the world to access the latest technologies to help investigators in their fight against child abuse, regardless of their geography or resources. It’s our obligation as global citizens to bring state of the art technologies to investigators in the Global South.

In our recent work in India, we’ve been able to go into a country which hasn’t experienced “VIC” cloud collaboration and create a standard for data sharing that will be fundamental for rescuing victims of ICAC crimes in the country.

What does the future hold?

It’s important that we work together. The needs of law enforcement are changing on smaller cycles and we all need to be agile enough to keep up with the criminals. New technology and close cooperation between LEAs, Industry and NGOs, are working and have become models for combatting ICAC crimes. These models are successful in their ability to deliver new capabilities and collaboration must continue for us to be successful in addressing this horrible crime.

Discover more about how the CameraForensics platform facilitates collaboration