Investigators tackling the trading of child sexual abuse photos on the Internet will now find it easier to detect objectionable images, Internal Affairs Minister Amy Adams says.
Internal Affairs’ Censorship Compliance Unit has been working with Microsoft on the development of PhotoDNA, world-class technology designed to identify and remove images that exploit or endanger children.
The technology will allow investigators to detect and process objectionable images more efficiently as well as re-examine the methods they use to review the images.
Microsoft is making PhotoDNA available to law enforcement at no charge via different programs:
· NetClean Analyze. PhotoDNA is being made available through a new version of NetClean Analyze, a free technology already used by law enforcement in many countries worldwide. The new version will also include functionality to support connections between NetClean Analyze and the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) where appropriate.
· The Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS). PhotoDNA is being integrated into CETS, a collaborative global law enforcement program supported by Microsoft technology for child pornography investigations. CETS helps law enforcement agencies follow hundreds of suspects at a time and eliminate duplication, making it more efficient for the agencies to follow up on leads, collect evidence and build cases against suspected child pornographers. CETS is currently used by agencies in Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.
· Direct licensing. Certain law enforcement agencies with the technical capacity and resources required to manage PhotoDNA source code integration themselves can license the technology directly for use in child sexual exploitation investigations. At this time, the Netherlands Forensics Institute and the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs have licensed the PhotoDNA source code.
“The trading of objectionable images of children is abhorrent to me and most New Zealanders, and as a government we will be doing what we can to stop it,” Ms Adams says.
“New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to have access to this technology, which gives investigators another valuable tool to help us in the fight against this problem.
“During the forensic analysis of a seized computer system, it is common for the Censorship Compliance Unit to review more than 100,000 image files. This technology will make the process much faster.
Private companies are also applying the technology. Facebook is planning to implement PhotoDNA on its network to further its commitment to keeping children from being victimized.