The following presentations have been confirmed for 2023 YTVC
Female Paedophiles: Interview Strategies for the Most Overlooked Offender
Special Agent Brad Beeler (USSS) & Dr Stacy Cecchet (Obsidian Forensics)
Theme: Prevention and disruption strategies targeting technology facilitated crimes against children. The presentation will review the more common typologies of female sex offenders seen in ICAC cases, including co-offenders, teacher/nurturers, and sadists. Investigative pitfalls- such as overlooking females in the home and miscalculating the interview strategy will be discussed, with case examples provided to elucidate concepts.
The Triumph Program: The Washington State ICAC TF Pioneering Wellness and Resiliency Program
Dr Stacy Cecchet (Obsidian Forensics) & Kelly Crouch (ICAC)
Prolonged and repeated exposure to secondary trauma leads to symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Law enforcement officers assigned to Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) units are amongst the most vulnerable population in the criminal justice field – receiving less psychological and wellness support and having a significantly higher risk of suicide when compared to their non-ICAC counterparts. During this presentation, attendees will learn more about the Washington State ICAC Task Force three-pronged approach to resilience and how to replicate it in their own agencies. This approach provides strategies to build resilience and protect staff for agencies of any size or level of funding.
How to develop a disruption mindset
Mr John Pizzuro CEO RAVEN/ICAC Commander (ret)
While investigating every type of crime type, there has always been one constant lesson to success and that is an investigator’s mindset. To become a disrupter, you need more than skills, you need to be equipped with mental fortitude, the ability to overcome, to think way outside the box, and to excel in a space of the unknown. Failure is always imminent and success always seems fleeting yet it is your mental makeup that will enable you to go further and make an impact greater than yourself or your organization. That impact is to save our children from exploitation. This presentation will give you everything I learned on how to be a disruptor, how to go further, how to excel in a proactive space, how to rely on guile, innovation, and every psychological tool that you have at your disposal. In this presentation, real-life examples will be given, as well as tools and techniques that I used to overcome some of the most difficult challenges. For us to succeed we must go further than we ever have and everyone one of us has the resources internally to make that happen. This presentation will teach you how to unlock those mental resources to become a disruptor.
Intricacies within Capping investigation and prosecution (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Special Agent Vanitha Pandi (FBI)
The online grooming practice known as ‘Capping’ has dramatically increased in popularity in recent years that has resulted in the capture and distribution of what is known as ‘Self-Generated’ child exploitation content. The presentation will add on the complexities of pursuing a successful arrest and prosecution of capping targets. Specifically, how undercover work can be managed, what is needed for a successful indictment, the difficulties in using and incorporating foreign information, victim management and inter-agency issues.
Undercover policing approach to tackling online child abuse and exploitation in England & Wales (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Detective Chief Inspector Philip Attwood (Serocu)
In 2017 in England & Wales, the regional organized crime units received funding from the government to create 10 hubs to tackle the expanding threat of online child sexual abuse and exploitation. This presentation will chart the journey from the inception of the south-east hub capability, into how we developed our tactics and techniques to maintain and ensure credibility as the more sophisticated offender has developed over time. Ensuring welfare of our staff is a growing area of concern as the repeated exposure to child abuse material. The presentation focuses on the development of CAID ingestion, my role within innovation and working with NGO partners to develop efficiency gains and improve target hardening efforts to focus on high harm offenders. I would provide a case study of a typical UCOL deployment, highlighting the tactical considerations, legal challenges and behaviour of offenders. The presentation provides an overview of the development of the Online CSEA Covert Intelligence Team (OCCIT) and the strides achieved between developing intelligence development with covert partners, creating industry targeted reports to provide a starting point for platform engagement between the tech companies and the government to address their challenges around artificial intelligence moderation and verification requirements. OCCIT are leading in the virtual reality space from both a threat and pro-active deployment space. Finally, discussing the advancements made in utilizing covert assets in the live streaming threat, targeting Asian based traffickers and unlocking mechanisms to identify UK customers as well as prevention techniques as part of covert deployments as part of the whole systems approach to tackle this crime.
Coordination of Undercover Operational Intelligence (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Detective Inspector Dajana Holst (Swedish National Police)
This is a study of how, through international cooperation and coordination, arrests and rescues can occur everywhere in the world. With the help of real-time international intelligence sharing, lead-times can be reduced allowing for more impactful arrests. With the starting point of ways to make undercover work, which is inherently secretive, a generous intelligence machine while keeping operational integrity intact. We will evaluate organizational, legal and other obstacles and how to overcome them as well as challenges that we have yet to solve.
Examples, Operation Viper, a collaboration between Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Australian Federal Police and Swedish National Police that lead to the safeguarding of a toddler and an unborn child. Operation Ingentinget – Primary failures in Intelligence Coordination and how this was later rectified. Later a Creative Collaboration with Argos leading to multiple arrests and children safeguarded. Operation Carlton – “Lessons Learned” in failures to process intelligence and share information. Identification was in hindsight possible 6 months into the operation but took two years to come to fruition.
Police2Peer – a technical, preventive initiative
Police Superintendent Bjørn-Erik Ludvigsen (National Cybercrime Center, Norway)
Police2Peer is an ongoing, multinational police initiative in Europe, led by Norway and have been in operation since March 2017. The method is to utilize technology used to commit crimes against the perpetrators, rendering the technology untrustworthy, the impact substantial while establishing a police presence on unpoliced platforms. Police2Peer operates on file sharing, peer-to-peer networks – sharing video and images of uniformed police officers from 11 countries from police computers, officially stating the same warning message in local languages, subtitled in English, and also offer an invitation to those that have a sexual interest in children. The intention is multifold, such as increasing the perceived fear of detection through information, to render the platform unusable and of low quality for child sexual abuse material retrieval, to limit the continued abuse of the children in the files shared on the networks and provide information regarding the possibility to get help for their sexual interest in children to those that possess, distribute and consume CSAM. We operate a website in the official INTERPOL languages with links to global help resources (https://helplinks.eu) for those that have a sexual interest in children – and mirror this across all encrypted networks like TOR, Freenet etc. It is direct “advertising” – providing those that need the information the most, the information they need and, on the platform and at the time they need it the most. Rather than getting access to even more child sexual abuse material, they are provided with a stern and worrying message of consequence – but at the same time – provided with a possible way out of their behaviour. So far, the results have been massive. Although Police2Peer cannot claim responsibility for all the results – we believe that we have played a huge part in the reduction of 67% of IP addresses in possession of what is known to be actual child sexual abuse material on the networks we target. Monthly, more than 1.5 million IP addresses are no longer making child sexual abuse material available to the users on these networks.
Operation HUNTSMAN – Disrupting Online Child Sextortion within Australia (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Jodie Baumgartner (AUSTRAC) & Scott Ralph (AFP)
In late 2021, the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) and AUSTRAC identified that online extortion of children was growing in frequency, and that it was evolving from a traditional attempt to solicit child abuse material (CAM) into a profit-driven offshore scam. After monitoring this ‘sextortion’ scam for several months, the ACCCE identified a rapid and sustained increase in the volume of sextortion efforts targeting Australian children. In response, the ACCCE and AUSTRAC initiated Operation HUNTSMAN in July 2022. HUNTSMAN Phase One focused on increasing awareness of this scam to make Australian children a hard target, and gathering the information to enable Phase Two. HUNTSMAN Phase Two focused on disrupting this scam by dismantling the domestic financial networks that underpin online fraud. HUNTSMAN Phase Three focuses on preventing domestic elements from supporting offshore crime into the future, and evidencing the role played by key persons offshore to enable international police action. This presentation will provide; an overview of the crime, actions not/taken by ACCCE, critical partner capabilities, barriers we encountered, and lessons we bring from this online victim-based crime to emerging issues.
Project NEMESIS – Tackling the rise of end-to-end encryption (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Detective Chief Inspector Philip Attwood (Serocu)
The use of end-to-end encrypted applications (E2EE) to facilitate the grooming and sexual exploitation of children has grown exponentially in recent years. In addition to the direct contact offenses between criminals and children; offenders are using these networks to share child sexual abuse material, discuss the abuse of their own and other people’s children and to share tips and knowledge on avoiding detection and identification by law enforcement. The companies whose platforms are used to facilitate this abuse have a wide range of responses in connection with the abuse of their services. Some companies employ proactive technology to identify and terminate the criminal groups while others are making a conscious choice to have no knowledge of their users and nothing to provide to law enforcement when a legal request is submitted. Undercover agents and officers have been infiltrating many of these groups but before this project never had a way to memorialize the activity taking place beyond rudimentary screen shots of their undercover device. The objective of this session is to raise awareness of Project NEMESIS which is free to law enforcement and designed to help LE undercovers and their research analysts’ better triage and target those who present the highest risk to children. NEMESIS is operational yet remains in development, including adding the ability for the officer to export the CSAM being traded to quickly identify new CSAM in order to promote rapid victim identification and to aid officer welfare. The session will be a brief overview of what E2EEs are followed by a live demonstration of the NEMESIS system along with the results of the deployments made and the “apps” added thus far.
Many lights in the dark: strength in collaboration (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Inspector Coen Dufais (National Police of the Netherlands) & SGT Simon Fogarty APM
This presentation will address the collaboration and inter agency initiatives, prevention and disruption strategies and techniques, and technology facilitated crimes against children. Using an international collaborative approach to saving a young Filipino girl from dark web centric ongoing sexual abuse. Victoria Police’s Victim Identification Team identified a new producer of CSAM who had access to a young girl. Utilising an international collaborative network of Child Exploitation Law Enforcement Specialists, they were able to reach out to international partners to validate intelligence, monitor, identify, disrupt, locate and arrest the producers and ultimately save a child. The presentation will discuss a darkweb investigation detailing a collaborative approach between Victoria Police Victim Identification Team, Dutch National Police Covert Engagement Unit, AFP, FBI, HSI, Philippines National Police, and the learnings and outcomes from initial identification to international deployment and the rescue of the child.
A Spiderweb Unraveled: NIJASDAD Investigation
Special Agent Jonathan Hendrix (HSI)
In 2015, Detective Stu Butler, Task Force Argos initiated an undercover investigation of a potential contact offender, username: nijasdad on an image sharing website. Det. Butler engaged with the subject via email where the offender shared abusive images of two young toddler children. IP addresses showed that the offender was in the Nashville, TN, USA area. The lead was referred from Argos to the HSI Cyber Crimes Center, where further analysis led to the identification of a Nashville area ice cream shop as the source of the IP addresses. C3 referred the lead to SA Hendrix in Nashville which began an urgent effort to identify and rescue the minor victims. Agents quickly determined that the suspect was using open Wi-fi to communicate through various businesses that offered open Wi-fi services. SA Hendrix identified a pattern of life for the suspect and working with the businesses identified a suspect and a local area depicted in some of the imagery. The suspect, Jarrett TURNER was a high-profile local area window washer who dressed as Spiderman and visited children in the hospital and other events who had been featured on local news broadcasts. The case opened a spiderweb of offenders around the US and the world who had traded new production child abuse material with TURNER. The case also highlighted techniques using fingerprints from imagery to help in the positive identification of TURNER. As a result of this investigation several children were identified and rescued and several offenders were apprehended and prosecuted.
Safeguarding Hong Kong’s Children from Online Sexual Predators
Senior Superintendent Frances Lee & Senior Inspector Ivan Au (HKP)
Online exploitation of children is a global problem, with prominent examples in Hong Kong including soliciting children online, while some cases eventually develop into contact crimes such as unlawful sexual intercourse, rape or prostitution. The Hong Kong Police (HKP) adopted multiple strategies to protect children and youths from online exploitation and abuse. In terms of enforcement, proactive cyber intelligence gathering and analysis using technology allows the identification of individuals who possess revolting materials with subsequent prosecution of the offenders. Traditional policing techniques including cyber patrol and decoy deployment in online platforms are also performed to infiltrate into groups or channels providing child pornographic materials where local syndicates supporting the provision of such materials are neutralized. This presentation aims to provide the audience an understanding of the characteristics of technology facilitated crimes against children in Hong Kong, and to apprise the current investigative, prosecutorial, legal, policy issues and the collaboration and interagency initiatives related to the crimes of child exploitation. Case examples of using interagency intelligence and technology to detect relevant crimes will also be discussed.
INTERPOL’s Crimes against Children Unit – Promoting International law enforcement Cooperation on Online Child Sexual Exploitation
Criminal Intelligence Officer Nicole Poynton (HSI)
INTERPOL’s Crimes against Children (CAC) Unit enables national law enforcement agencies to work together to investigate online child sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA). INTERPOL CAC is committed to partnerships, research and cooperation that raise the standards of international policing to make the world a safer place for children. This workshop will give an overview of how INTERPOL CAC works towards building law enforcement’s capacity to investigate OCSEA on a global level, coordinates international operations, develops OCSEA case referrals for member countries, leads international victim identification taskforces, drives efforts to reduce the availability of child sexual abuse material on the open web, and facilitates the development of technical solutions towards the prevention and investigation of OCSEA. Attendees will obtain an enhanced understanding of the importance of international law enforcement cooperation to address online child sexual exploitation, and the pivotal role INTERPOL plays therein.
Virtual Identities – Current and Future Challenges for Law Enforcement
John Penn II (Adobe)
The state of the art of digital identity is rapidly changing and will be incredibly disruptive. New technologies are pushing the limits of digital, online and virtual identities. Faces can be quickly manipulated. Whole bodies can be scanned and 3D printed. Virtual environments, augmented reality, haptic suits and other technologies promise to provide consumers with the ability to be whatever they want to be. Along with those advances will come new opportunities for abuse. This will be a new era of challenges for law makers and law enforcement. Machine learning and AI have already lowered the bar on artistic creation. Deep fakes have made it easy to replace a face in live video. AI’s are able to replicate speech in chat and create images from mere textual requests. Some of the challenges that may come of this are new methods of extortion, new difficulties in victim identification, and new challenges in charging the individual who abuse the technologies. In this talk we’ll look at those challenges current and what’s coming around the corner.
Behind the Curtain: Analysis of Child Predator Discussions on the Use of Social Media in Grooming & Exploitation
Jessica Smith (Clicksafe & NCPTF)
Online communities allowing people to connect about their interests exist for just about everything you can think of from gaming, to parenting, to cosmetics, sports and, even child predation and exploitation. Though these communities operate primarily in the shadows of the deep and dark web, the conversations are detailed, offering a great depth of information regarding the tactics used to groom and exploit children. This presentation will offer an overview of trends, both conversational and observable online over the previous year, including preferred hunting grounds, novel grooming tactics, platform-specific OPSEC measures and actionable takeaways that will help law enforcement better focus their investigative energy within online child exploitation cases.
To prevent the abused to become an abuser
Dr Åsa Kastbom MD, PhD (University Hospital of Linköping, Sweden)
The presentation will describe how to prevent an abused child to become an abuser. It will describe how an early intervention and an acute, and if needed, a long-term treatment of an abused child can not only reduce the harm done to the child, but it can also prevent the child to become an abuser later in life. In this session she will describe different therapeutic and medical methods we use in the treatment of sexually abused children from the age of 3 to 18 years. She will give some cases and discuss how we, with the right treatment, can disrupt the potential cycle of offending. This will provide an understanding as to how law enforcement and the medical field can walk hand in hand to prevent and to disrupt the cycle of offending. As a result, the cycle of offending can be disrupted if law enforcement keeps finding the victims and the medical field treats and helps them afterwards.
Rolling out the red carpet – non-offending partners and affected family members as important allies in disruption
Natalie Walker (PartnerSPEAK), Detective Sergeant Nicole KENNY (AFP), Detective Sergeant Brendan CLARK (VICPOL)
The presentation will report on PartnerSPEAK learnings from formal and informal interviews with LEA and affected family members (AFM) of CSAM perpetrators from around Australia. There is much desire from police around Australia to respond in a trauma-informed way to AFM on the worst day of their lives but what are the potential implications of the way we work with families on CSAM disruption? This presentation will address: Peer support as social change – how bringing people together makes patterns of offending behaviour observable, First impressions count – police interactions and opportunities with AFM who report CSAM offences or concerns, Support for AFM is support for disruption – how a family liaison role upholds the core LE function of disruption, There wasn’t enough evidence to lay charges but now the family knows – an opportunity to build alliances, and Police across Australia report that responding to AFM is more distressing than viewing CSAM – how does providing support for AFM help police members? This presentation will identify the opportunities for LEA to harness their approaches to AFM to further support disruption strategies.
Stop It Now! Australia: An overview of service development, implementation, and early outcomes
Georgia Naldrett & Dr Gemma McKibbin (University of Melbourne)
This presentation will introduce Stop It Now! Australia, a newly launched child sexual abuse prevention program implemented by Jesuit Social Services with an evaluation being completed by the University of Melbourne. The service was started 30 years ago in the USA by Fran Henry, a victim-survivor of child sexual abuse. It has since been implemented in the UK and Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium. In line with one of the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, it has also received national support with The National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to child sexual abuse committed to funding a national offender prevention service similar to the UK’s Stop It Now! service. The service provides anonymous support and advice for people concerned about their own or someone else’s sexual thoughts and behaviours towards children. It is a support and action-based service comprising telephone, chat and email-based formats that aims to empower individuals to take steps to protect children from sexual harm. The presentation will provide an overview of the Stop It Now! objectives and model, including preceding international services, before discussing development and implementation of the Australian pilot service. Service usage data from the initial six-month implementation period will be presented, as well as early findings from the formal service evaluation conducted in partnership with the University of Melbourne. Case studies will be introduced to demonstrate the need for such a service in the Australian context and the emerging themes and challenges in service provision to date. Discussion surrounding the development of a service for young people concerned about their sexual thoughts or behaviours will also be explored.
Understanding the presence of neuro-atypical diagnoses in harmful sexual behaviours and sexual offending: Observations from the field
Ashley Phelan & Cameron Craig (QPS); Carol Ronken & Dr Deidre Thompson (Bravehearts)
In a review of Bravehearts’ Turning Corners clients, it was found that of the clients where an assessment was noted on their file in relation to an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis, 50% of were diagnosed or had a suspected diagnosis of ASD. In addition, a high rate of comorbidity was identified among these clients, with ADHD (30% of clients) and intellectual impairments (14%) presenting in this client group. Additionally, officers within the Queensland Police Service, Child Protection Offender Registry, have identified that a significant proportion of reportable (child sexual) offenders supervised in the community have been diagnosed with, or exhibit behaviours consistent with a range of neurodevelopmental conditions, most notably, ASD. The purpose of this presentation is to bring together observations of the prevalence of ASD among young people and adults who have identified sexual behaviours/offending, present learnings around working with these populations, and to discuss the importance of understanding behaviours and specific needs to assist these individuals desist from future offending. Attendees will leave the session with an increased understanding of how ASD may present among these groups, how best to work with individuals to manage their behaviours and risk, and to highlight the importance of future research efforts focusing on the prevalence rates of neurodevelopmental conditions amongst this cohort.
Capping from the Safety of Your Own Home
Scott Anderson (VID – QPS)
The online grooming practice known as “Capping” has dramatically increased in popularity in recent years that has resulted in the capture and distribution of what is known as ‘Self-Generated’ child exploitation content. Cappers, as they refer to themselves, are using social, gaming, and messaging platforms to manipulate children into sharing sexual content either of themselves or with friends and young siblings. This presentation explains capper’s modus operandi, scope of the problem, highlight the challenges associated with proactive investigations of this crime type, and discuss the long-term dangers associated to capping victims.
Harmonising Classification Language of Child Sexual Abuse Material
Scott Anderson (VID – QPS)
A persistent challenge in the sharing of hash datasets of confirmed illegal child sexual abuse and exploitation media files is that local definitions of “illegal,” which is largely based on the legislation of the country the organization resides, vary from organization to organisation. This results in multiple organizations trying to categorize all CSAM to their own legislative standards with no efficient way to truly collaborate with other jurisdictions. The Global Standard initiative, led by INHOPE, is defining an ontology that will form a foundation to facilitate collaboration for child exploitative matters. The ontology is designed to meet the needs of all stakeholder groups involved in the categorisation or implementation of CSEM/CSAM -based datasets by deconstructing existing categorization schemata required to assess media illegality into common classifiers for language and terminology harmonisation. The ontology will form the basis of a system that will be able to determine the illegality of media for a given jurisdiction based on their own categorisation schema and legislation. In addition, the more granular content and context-based classifiers will assist in better reporting of CSAM content as well as the training of machine learning algorithms for the automatic detection of CSAM. This presentation will report on current stage of the initiative and the future roadmap.
Online exploitation of children occurring on mobile dating apps
Dr Sarah Napier (AIC)
This study analysed data from an anonymous Clearnet survey of 5,512 adults of all ages and genders in five different countries, to ask about first exposure to child sexual abuse material (CSAM). A total of 742 (13.5%) survey participants self-reported viewing CSAM; 77% were male, 19.5% were female and 3.5% identified as another gender. Most respondents first discovered the CSAM and atypical adult pornography (BDSM or bestiality) before they were 18 years. Findings suggest that the age of first exposure to CSAM has decreased over time and that more adolescents are discovering this material now than in previous generations, mostly by accident. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
Looking beyond the screen: Understanding and responding to online child sexual exploitation offenders
Dr Marie Henshaw, Dr Reneta Slikboer, Ms Erika Fortunato (Swinburne University)
The rising rate of online child sexual exploitation (OCSE) and increasingly advanced technology used to facilitate these crimes pose significant challenges to understanding individuals who engage in OCSE offences. This in turn raises challenges about how to disrupt this behaviour and, ultimately, how to keep children safe online. In recognition of the complex and dynamic nature of OCSE offending, the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science (CFBS), Swinburne University of Technology, is conducting a large-scale program of research into OCSE in partnership with Monash University, Victoria Police, Corrections Victoria, and the Australian Institute of Criminology. Collectively, this work aims to build further understanding of OCSE offences and offenders, and to enhance criminal justice and clinical responses to OSCE offending. This symposium will provide a brief overview of the issue of OCSE and the literature pertaining to the characteristics of OCSE offenders, before introducing the program of research being conducted by the CFBS. Preliminary outcomes from three studies will be presented. First, emerging findings relating to the offending characteristics and trajectories of a large sample of Victorian OCSE, contact-only and mixed offenders will be presented. The second component will consider the characteristics and offending patterns of 153 female OCSE offenders identified within the broader Victorian sample, including an exploration of solo versus co-offending. The findings from these studies may inform the identification of targets for disruption, provide context for guiding disruption efforts, and by extension prevent OCSE through improved knowledge. The practice implications of these individual studies and the broader program of research will be discussed and plans for future research considered.
Preventing repeat child sexual abuse material offending: The development and piloting of the CEM-COPE Program
Dr Marie Henshaw, Dr Reneta Slikboer (Swinburne University)
Research indicates that online child sexual abuse offenders without a history of contact sexual offences against children (‘CSAM-only’) have distinct offending and psychological characteristics when compared to offline contact sexual offenders. This suggests that CSAM-only offenders are likely to have different risk profiles and intervention needs than other child sexual offenders, and that existing sexual offending treatment programs are unlikely to be suitable for this group. Despite growing awareness of this issue, approaches to intervention for CSAM offenders vary substantially across services and jurisdictions nationally and internationally. Such inconsistencies have the potential to undermine online child sexual exploitation disruption and prevention efforts, and thus may place children at risk of ongoing harm. This presentation will introduce the CEM-COPE Program, a novel 30-hour psychoeducational and skills-based program that aims to reduce the likelihood of reoffending among CSAM-only offenders. The program was developed by the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Swinburne University of Technology, in recognition of the need for an evidence-based and systematic approach to CSAM-only intervention in Australia. The first section of the presentation will outline background research findings on the comparative characteristics of CSAM-only offenders and consider international practices and best practice recommendations regarding offence-specific intervention for CSAM offenders. The remainder of the presentation will focus on the development the CEM-COPE Program and the associated research pilot being conducted in partnership with the Problem Behaviour Program, Forensicare. The program development process will be outlined, before presenting qualitative findings from the program pilot study. The presentation will close with a discussion of the implications for future revisions to the program and Australian practices to prevent CSAM offending.
Data Fusion in Criminal Investigations using Legal, Closed, and Open Sources (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Kevin Metcalf (NCPTF)
To disrupt criminal behaviour and networks, it is necessary to understand investigative methodologies more broadly. We will discuss the interconnections between legal returns, open-source, and closed-source information by examining each and then walking through case studies where the methods were applied. We will discuss techniques for identifying people who are using technology to hide. Some topics will include facial recognition, geolocating images, advertising IDs, breach data, legal strategies, and dark web data lakes focusing on data exploitation and fusion.
Facial recognition technology in law enforcement: towards effective regulatory approaches
Professor Nicholas Davis (UTS)
Australian law does not effectively regulate facial recognition technologies (FRT). Current regulations neither uphold human rights nor incentivise positive innovation. In September 2022, the Human Technology Institute released a landmark report, Facial recognition technology: Towards a model law, which proposes a risk-based approach to regulation to foster the innovative, responsible use of FRT, while ensuring human rights limitations are minimised. FRT is a powerful technology in the field of child protection, regularly and successfully used to identify missing persons and track perpetrators at high levels of efficiency and effectiveness. However, better, clearer rules are required to ensure that poorly-designed or recklessly-deployed systems – particularly when used at scale – do not pose widespread risks to the rights of Australians. It is essential that Australia develops and enforces rules for the development and deployment of FRT that put the needs of the most vulnerable at the centre of policies, laws and standard operating procedures. As FRT systems become ever-more tightly woven into the personal, professional and communal lives of Australians, FRT must only be used when appropriate precautions have been taken to minimise the potential harms that they pose, and to secure public trust. The current climate of regulatory uncertainty and piecemeal rules that differ across jurisdictions and use-cases create a regulatory vacuum that urgently needs to be filled. This presentation will outline the model law in the context of the broader child protection agenda, covering what it implies to prioritise ‘human centered design’ in the context of FRT systems, the risk to technology deference, and how individual use cases influence system-level effects. While the presentation focuses on FRT, we will also cover what research in this area reveals about broader spheres of use of emerging technologies, including predictive analytics and machine-learning based advisory systems in the field of child protection.
Psychological health and wellbeing: Prevalence, causes and interventions relevant to child abuse and online child exploitation investigators
Dr Jacqueline Drew (Griffith University)
Co-authored by Dr Jacob Keech (University of the Sunshine Coast)
There are known psychological risks for police investigators working in the areas of child abuse and online child exploitation. The complex interplay between stressors and health outcomes that result from the unique relationship between policing duties, the police environment and psychological hazards in this specific police context is not adequately understood. Drawing on data recently collected from Queensland Police Service (QPS) investigators, the presentation provides critical insights into the proportional harms stemming from the experience of trauma, organisational and operational stressors. The connection between these harms and psychological and wellbeing outcomes will be discussed. The presentation will highlight effective interventions designed to support investigator wellbeing, focusing on both contextual workplace factors, as well as individual coping strategies and resiliency. To this end, the presentation will discuss the current initiatives being undertaken by the Western Australian Police Force (WAPOL). Rather than mandatory psychological assessment they employ a more innovative approach to psychological monitoring. WAPOL conducts wellbeing workshops to meet the reactive and proactive responsibilities of their police agency to support the psychological health of Sex Crime Division investigators.
Online child sexual offenders’ language use in real-time chats
Prof Martine Powell (CII)
We analysed chat log communications between 38 adult males and children who were accessed by the males via social media for sexually exploitative purposes. Our goal was to understand how sexual offenders engage with children online and the dialogue they use to elicit compliance with sexual requests. Results revealed 72 discrete linguistic tactics, contained within eight overarching dialogue-based ‘moves’. Tactics focused mainly on requests for sexual activity, were non-sequential (i.e., dynamic) and three distinct sub-group patterns of tactic use were evident. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Child sexual exploitation material users’ perceptions of and motivations for offending
Dr Jonah Rimer (UQ)
This presentation provides insights from an in-depth, long-term research project with online child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) users. Research about CSEM offending largely stems from the psychological sciences, uses quantitative methods, and focuses on individual-psychological characteristics of offenders. In contrast, this presentation is founded on an anthropological study that included 17 months of fieldwork in UK group programs for CSEM users (participant observation in nearly 100 program sessions with 81 group members, and 31 interviews with these individuals). The broad objective was to explore why and how people commit CSEM offences, and to do so utilising novel methodologies and analytical lenses that differ from the majority of existing research. Focus will be placed on unique aspects of digital environments and people’s engagement with them. The presentation will centre on key elements that impacted participants’ offending, decision-making, and their demarcations between online and offline worlds. Particular attention will be paid to notions about how both online offending spaces and children in CSEM were said to be less or not “real” compared to offline, which impacted offending decisions. This will be detailed through analyses of participants’ Internet and CSEM usage patterns; constructions of boundaries; perceptions of online spaces and differences in social norms between online vs offline worlds; and constructions of children in CSEM. Finally, the presentation will discuss implications and ideas for potential interventions. The goal is to provide foundational research-based information about offending, which can then better inform prevention, investigation, and treatment: such efforts must be based on an in-depth understanding of why and how individuals commit online exploitation offences, and long-term research provides opportunity to provide such insights.
Project Mercury – A Global Effort (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Senior Special Agent Austin Berrier (HSI)
This case presentation will discuss Project Mercury, a 3 ½ year undercover investigation involving 5 Eyes and European nations. This pre-Pandemic investigation into the online sexual exploitation of children on the live-streaming platform Zoom led to the indictment/arrest of approximately 250 offenders & the safeguarding of 89 child victims globally. Through in-depth law enforcement undercover techniques & with the cooperation of Zoom, the offender landscape was infiltrated, identified, & disrupted. This case study will discuss the cooperation of partner nations to disrupt a space on the internet being used to sexual exploit children & how cooperation with the tech entity, made the space inhospitable for offenders. Topics discussed will include; the genesis of the investigation from one phone call to police to a global investigation, the formal & informal investigative & prosecutorial coordination, lessons learned (both good & bad) and deeper dives into some of the noteworthy suspects. Lastly, attendees will learn how Zoom made the conscious decision to combat child exploitation of their platforms as a model to others in the tech industry.
Prevalence and risk factors for online child sexual abuse perpetration in Australia, United Kingdom and the United States
Dr Michael Salter (UNSW)
This presentation will report on the findings of a representative survey of 4500 men in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States about their behaviours and attitudes related to online child sexual exploitation. The survey gathered data on demographics, overall health, trauma and abuse history, internet use, attitudes to online child sexual abuse, degree of sexual interest in children and perpetration of online and contact offences against children. For the first time, this survey provides information on the prevalence of online child sexual offending against children by men in Australia, as well as the degree of attitudinal support for online offending evident amongst men in the community. The presentation will identify distinct demographic and attitudinal profiles and patterns of offending amongst Australian men who have committed sexual offences against children, including live streaming, viewing child sexual abuse material, soliciting children online, and committing contact offences. The presentation will also present data on men who indicate that they are interested in offending against children, or who hold attitudes supportive of abusing children. The presentation will include a comparative analysis of the findings between the three jurisdictions, and draw out the implications for prevention, early intervention, disruption and investigation.
Financial and Asset Forfeiture for Child Exploitation investigations (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Special Agent Joshua Fry (HSI)
This presentation explores financial and asset forfeitures tips and tactics utilized in child exploitation investigations. The presentation features U.S. case law and multiple examples of successful local and international investigations including joint investigations with Australia. The techniques are directly adaptable to Australian law and cases currently on-going.
My Pictures Matter: Participatory crowdsourcing of training data for fighting CSAM
Campbell Wilson (Monash University)
Disrupting the solicitation and exchange of child exploitation material through AI-assisted processes requires large image collections as training data. Developing machine learning models using “proxy” (non-CSAM) data helps limit the use of actual CSAM in the development of such technologies. This proxy data would, for example, train machine learning models on lawful adult sexual material in conjunction with benign images of children, in order to infer potential CSAM material or at least flag material worthy of further investigation. However, any large dataset comprising images of real children raises ethical challenges in relation to consent for collection and use. Our objective is to create a (benign) child image dataset that prioritises and protects the rights and privacy of children depicted; suitable for developing proxy-data based technology to counter child exploitation. An added benefit to crowdsourcing such data is raising public awareness and encouraging participation in efforts to fight CSAM. By allowing for metadata about images to be collected direct from the source, we argue it also helps in establishing trustworthy ground truth for attributes such as the age of children depicted. AiLECS is working to strengthen the technical and ethical robustness of AI training data by creating a world-first dataset of benign images of children where all images have specific consent for use in technologies to counter child exploitation; and the collection is documented and managed according to our VALID data principles (Veracity, Agency, Longevity and Integrity in Datasets).
Child Exploitation – A Philippine Context
Detective Superintendent Graeme Marshall & Senior Constable Chris Chappell (AFP)
The presentation is drawn from personal experience as the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Child Protection Liaison Officer deployed to AFP International Command Manila Post from January 2018 to May 2021. The presentation will provide the audience with an appreciation of: The scale and impact of international child exploitation on the Philippines, The challenges and opportunities associated with investigating child exploitation in the Philippine context – Particularly relevant to foreign law enforcement members engaging with the Philippines, The genesis, establishment, operation and success of the Philippine Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC) bringing together law enforcement, Filipino government and non-government sectors to leverage reach and capability to protect children, A case study relating to notorious dark-web child abuse material producer “Raheli” and how international cooperation was critical to identifying and arresting him, and; The services AFP International Command provide that are accessible to all Australian law enforcement agencies. The presentation will leave the audience with an understanding of how to engage with AFP International Command and Filipino law enforcement to work collaboratively across international jurisdictions to investigate online child sexual exploitation on a global scale.
Operation Corregidor (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Special Agent Martin Conley (HSI)
Homeland Security Investigations’ Operation Corregidor targets the production and distribution of child sexual exploitation through live streaming webcam shows whose customers are located worldwide. This investigation is part of a global effort that has led to the infiltration and dismantlement of numerous international child sex trafficking organizations and criminal rings. Since initiating this investigation, Operation Corregidor has been able to infiltrate closed communities of offenders and subsequently identify child traffickers and sex tourism offenders. This growing child abuse industry involves child traffickers in the Philippines who collect viewership fees from vetted customers internationally. Paying customers direct child traffickers to perform acts of sexual abuse on minor children in real time during private webcam interactions. Customers also travel to the Philippines to engage in the hands-on abuse of victimized children. Investigative efforts involve extensive collaboration with international partners, including Australian authorities. To date, investigative efforts of Operation Corregidor have led to the rescue of 246 children, 95 arrests, and the dismantlement of 34 child sex trafficking operations internationally. This case study details innovative investigative techniques leading to the identification of child sex dens in the Philippines. Learn how, through undercover operations, HSI Special Agents discover and ultimately infiltrate a closely protected community of offenders leading to global arrests and victim rescues. Presenters will discuss collaborative efforts with international law enforcement agencies and the strategies implemented, to include innovative real time international surveillance operations, which lead to the arrest of traffickers in the Philippines, the rescue of children under their control, and the identification of hundreds of clients worldwide.
Curtailing online harms: How eSafety is using regulatory insights, research and collaborative partnerships to compel transparency from the tech industry and combat child sexual exploitation material
Julie Inman Grant (eSafety)
An insight into eSafety’s journey from a complaints-based regulator, focused on assisting Australians to have harmful content removed from the internet, to the first regulator in the world with powers to mandate transparency and require minimum compliance measures from technology companies. Through a unique operational model combining new regulatory powers and tools encouraging proactive and systemic change, protection schemes providing compassionate citizen service, and wide-ranging prevention and education programs, eSafety is driving the technology industry to build their products and services on a Safety by Design platform. The Commissioner will provide an overview of how eSafety is implementing its new world leading powers under the Online Safety Act: through mandatory industry codes or standards, and new transparency and accountability powers through the Basic Online Safety Expectations. As technology evolves, eSafety continues to look for ways to harness the best evidence to improve online safety for Australians, in addition to data and insights from its complaints schemes, extensive research, and ongoing engagement with schools and diverse communities. The presentation will highlight the contribution to this work by the wider law enforcement community and we seek LEA perspectives so eSafety can target its powers prevent online exploitation and abuse, to protect and support victim-survivors, and to ensure that industry implements proactive and systemic change.
Breaking the wheel: disrupting child sexual abuse thoughts and behaviours
Rebekah Kilpatrick (National Office for Child Safety)
The National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse 2021-2030 was launched in October 2021. It provides a nationally coordinated strategic framework for preventing and responding to child sexual abuse in all settings, including online. The National Strategy includes measures aimed at upstream disruption, that is, measures that will stop people before they offend, will reduce the likelihood that existing offenders will re-offend, and will deliver targeted public messaging. International research suggests those with a sexual preference for children and young people are often aware of their attraction for some time before they are known to the criminal justice system or seek treatment. Services must be available to intervene during this period, before someone ever harms a child or young person or before they commit a further offence. Prevention services and recidivism reduction programs such as this already operate in like-minded countries worldwide. Similarly, some countries use online tactics or broader awareness campaigns to divert users away from harmful or criminal materials, for example using pop-up messaging where certain search terms are used on adult pornography websites. This presentation will focus on new National Strategy-related services and campaigns that will disrupt the commencement or cycle of child sexual abuse. This will include Australia’s adoption of a national Stop it Now!-style service, and a new pilot program to reduce child sexual abuse offender recidivism.
Data-driven approach to disrupt CSAM offers on the TOR net
Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Thomas Goger (Bavarian Central Office for the Prosecution of Cybercrime)
The Bavarian Central Office for the Prosecution of Cybercrime is competent for prosecuting high-profile cases of cyber- and cyber-enabled crime in the state of Bavaria, which includes to a significant extent the investigation and prosecution of CSA and CSAM cases. Having partnered up with research institutions (Dutch TNO and Austrian Complexity Science Hub Vienna) and industry partners (CFLW and Iknaio) we have developed a data-driven approach to semi-automatically trace money flows related to CSAM on the darknet efficiently by use of the open-source tool GraphSense and the Dark Web Monitor developed by TNO. This approach is currently being piloted in the investigation of a CSAM cluster on the TOR net where more than 5K bitcoin addresses are being traced over several hops to identify customers sending money to these addresses and to identify perpetrators forwarding money from these addresses to known VASPs. Ultimate goal of this – still ongoing – operation is, at the end of the day to disrupt a whole network of CSAM and CSAM scam sites on the TOR net. Employing Jupyter notebooks, the cross-analysis of comprehensive TOR net data as well as real-time blockchain data provides new insights on a tactical but also on a strategical level regarding the connections between different clusters of CSAM sites on the TOR net. What appears to be as isolated offerings of CSAM can quickly be linked to new and emerging clusters and hence provide additional entry points for investigative measures. https://cflw.com/2022/06/22/dark-web-monitor-pilot-in-bavaria-extended-with-graphsense/
“Hello pigs”: A two year long international investigation into one of the darknet’s most wanted offenders (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Adele Desirs (QPS), Kristin Boorse (Thorn), Cassie Herrington (AFP)
During this case study, we will present a TOR child abuse case that took over 2 years to solve. Thanks to international cooperation, close-knit collaboration between Victim ID and Undercover Officers, OSINT techniques and the latest technology, we were able to rescue a kid from internet’s darkest places.
The rescue of Savely: The international cooperation and selfless actions of the working group to save the life of a seven-year-old boy
Special Agent Greg Squires (HSI)
An in-depth walk-through of the investigation of darkweb user ‘LBO’ and how working undercover long-term combined with diligence and reviews of postings and private messages combined with boots on the ground detective work by international partners led to the rescue of seven-year-old Savely from the hands of LBO who had kidnapped, sexually abused and held him captive for 52 days in Russia.
The NCMEC Perspective: 2023 Trends, Issues & Priorities
Jen Newman (NCMEC)
Serving as the nation’s clearinghouse and largest child advocacy organization in the U.S., NCMEC will share data, insights and activities that no doubt have a global impact. CyberTipline data from 2022 will have just been released and will be discussed at length, highlighting trends and the effect of current reporting worldwide. In addition, this presentation will showcase NCMEC’s involvement in global activities, such as the expanding reach of our law enforcement training programs around the world through our incredible and valued partnerships. Also discussed will be our international advocacy, such as supporting regulators like Ofcom and the eSafety Commissioner and consulting on the EU Centre. Finally, NCMEC will discuss priorities for 2023 centered on survivor engagement and services, such as the December 2022 launch of the new Take It Down service, upcoming roundtable and engagement with survivor consultants, and creating new training materials and video modules for law enforcement and child-serving professionals based on survivor feedback.
The power of partnerships for success
Commander Helen Schneider (ACCCE)
The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) was established in 2018, and set out on a journey to free children from online child sexual exploitation. In its fifth year, it is time to reflect on what has been achieved collaboratively and to look to the future to see where the ACCCE is heading. Establishing the right kind of Centre came with its challenges and opportunities, especially when it comes to our partners. Partnerships are such an integral part of the ACCCE and underpin its five pillars:
- Prepare future capabilities and technologies to counter online child exploitation
- Prevent the online exploitation of children, and intervene earlier in the abuse of victims
- Protect victims from further victimisation, and protect the wellbeing of staff
- Support authorities to pursue, disrupt and prosecute online child sex offenders, and remove victims from harm; and
- Promote the ACCCE, its successes and the work of its partners in achieving collective objectives.
The ACCCE has received over 100,000 reports of online child sexual exploitation into the triage unit since its establishment. Reports received have increased substantially, and this is being seen globally as predators looking to exploit children. Where to now? What technology enhancements do we need to try and stay ahead of predator activity? How can we better reach the Australian community to be heard, not only by those that want to stay informed, but to those that are unaware of the risks surrounding children online. What does the future hold in this rapidly changing environment and how will the ACCCE move forward to continue its mission to be coordinated and connected with our partners to counter online child sexual exploitation?
Canadian Amanda Todd Case Study – The Facebook Technical Analysis (LEA & Prosecutors Only)
Warren Bulmer (ICMEC Australia)
This 90-minute presentation will discuss and show some of the analysis conducted in the prosecution of Aydin Coban. He used 22 different Facebook accounts as well as other online identities to torment Amanda Todd. She died by suicide at the age of 15 as a result of his torture of her. This presentation will cover the technical analysis, trial preparation, reports and testimony completed in the case to prove these Facebook accounts were linked. It will cover the aspects brought in the trial, but also highlight the ones that the jury did not get to hear.