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Cops Trained To 'Net' Child Porn

Guy de Maupassant, french writer
wikipedia.org
Microsoft Corp. and Interpol are joining in a program to train law enforcement officers around the world to use technology to catch child pornographers.

About 300 police officers from 90 countries have already gathered in Costa Rica, Brazil and other countries for training in the "Global Campaign Against Child Pornography," sponsored by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. The group plans to host as many as 10 sessions a year.

The campaign is funded by donations of $500,000 each from Microsoft Corp. and Sheila C. Johnson, a member of the center's board and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. Microsoft and Interpol, the international police organization, will spearhead the training of officers, said Interpol Chief Ronald Noble.

"Let them look at the crime differently and also learn how technology can let them investigate a crime locally and globally as well," Noble said.

He described how police officers in Sweden had obtained a video of a child being abused by a man. Through identifying the man's Spanish-speaking accent and singling out a radio broadcast in the background, authorities were able to locate the man in Connecticut and eventually prosecute him.

Officers must view pictures as not just evidence of crime but as of crime scenes themselves, Noble said. Everything from newspapers in the background, to shampoo bottles to furniture can point authorities to culprits, he said. The new campaign will make cooperation easier among local law enforcement agencies, Interpol and the center, so that child pornography can be decreased, he said.

The International Centre was founded in 1998 and launched by the U.S.-based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. In 2003, more than 200,000 reports of Internet-related child pornography were made to the organization's CyberTipline. A recent Department of Justice study found that one in five children between the ages of 10 and 17 has received unwanted sexual solicitations online.