As a proof-of-concept, human volunteers unversed in the child-pornography lexicon were given 10 popular Gnutella code words, such as "ITA" (Italy) or "PTHC" (Preteen Hardcore) and then asked to guess which were related to child pornography.For comparison, ICE arrests about 2,500 child predators in the U. About 53 percent of search terms and 88 percent of the search results contained code words that had not been tallied by CEOP.The agency may have eventually discovered them during the course of their investigations, but Rashid's team realized they could stay ahead of this "cat-and-mouse game" with the help of a computerized strategy.In a move that pits technology against criminals (and, some fear, privacy), a group of researchers at Lancaster University in England and law-enforcement officials at the United Kingdom's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (CEOP) is developing software that tracks the Web's evolving child pornography lexicon as well as predators' chat strategies to help law-enforcement agencies catch the most secretive of these criminals before they strike."There's a list of about 50 key words that are very indicative of child pornography," says Doug Skinner, a forensics expert who works at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Va.,* and sometimes coordinates with CEOP as part of the Global Virtual Task Force.Because each peer participates in routing network messages to and from other peers, Rashid's team could set up a specialized client to intercept and log these queries throughout large segments of the network.
Czech police nab a man suspected of raping 12-year-old girls after offering them car rides via an Internet Web site. shuts down a pedophile chat room Web site, and the site's leader is caught with over 75,000 pornographic images.
In Ohio, a 400-pound man, likewise, uses a Web site to impersonate a 15-year-old boy in order to convince a 12-year-old girl to send photographs and videotapes of herself naked. Social networking over the Web has helped connect millions of Internet users, but all of this online interaction can also have a serious downside: a proliferation of pedophiles who use code words to trade in child pornography or prowl chat rooms and befriend underage victims, peppering their messages with words like "kewl" and other youthful colloquialisms.