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Saving children from kidnapping and exploitation

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The BBC reports today of a program spearheaded by the US Dept. of Homeland Security and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to coordinate efforts for combining efforts around the U.S. and the United Kingdom member countries.

Victims of child sexual abuse could soon be identified more quickly when law enforcement agencies can work on a cloud-based archive of abuse material. The database saves time of duplicating efforts and allows investigators to handle the large amount of images of abusers according to James Cole, a national program manager at Homeland Security.

Called project, ‘Vic’ the efforts of the U.S. joined with forces in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are helping test the database.

In the United States there were tens of thousands of local police crossing over jurisdiction on crime scenes and without coordination there was conflicting information. The reduction of ‘conflicting’ data was needed, according to Cole.

Homeland Security seizes 'petabytes' of data every year, Cole added and said that a signature trait of profile was needed to be amassed through data collection and video of images. Netclean and Hubstream among others allow investigators to organize and categorize the material. A summary that is unique becomes known as a ‘hash’ for each new item or data stored associatively.

If investigators could run new data against a ‘hash’ then finding the unique images through cloud services will provide investigators ‘data in real time and know a lot of things about it very quickly,’ explains Cole.

Rich Brown from the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children said ‘Project Vic represents the largest movement of its kind to change the way investigators approach this crime set.’

The difficult part of tracking kidnapped children is that money is not exchanged in a system to track it. Most of the time it is the kidnapping of the child that is the end result. The child will often times appear on the web in a child porn video. Because of this situation the data collection is all the more important. Brown laments that, ‘Sometimes,’ he said, ‘the clues are just not there.’

To find out more about cloud technology see the list below in Author’s suggestions and view the video atop this article on the break-up of a cyber child sex abuse ring for profit on the web by the investigators in the UK joined in teamwork with the U.S. and Australia.

Twitter: Victoria Wagner@victoriaross888

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