Microsoft arms Australian Federal Police with cyber weapons

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Microsoft arms Australian Federal Police with cyber weapons

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will receive a technology boost in the fight against child predators and paedophiles with the launch of an online tracking system, developed and donated by Microsoft.

Dubbed the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS), the software tool enables the AFP to work with law enforcement agencies throughout Australia and around the world to share and track information relating to online child exploitation and abuse.

AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty said CETS will help increase the effectiveness of AFP investigations by enabling officers to store, search, analyse and link large quantities of evidence and match cases under investigation by Australian and international law enforcement agencies.

“The CETS system will be adopted nationally by the AFP as part of broader efforts to combat child exploitation and better protect children in Australia and around the world from online exploitation,” said Keelty.

The implementation of CETS by the AFP is the result of a recommendation put forward by the Australasian Police Child Protection Committee (APCPC), which consists of state, territory and New Zealand police, along with CrimTrac and the Australian Crime Commission. The AFP is working closely with the APCPC to implement CETS throughout Australia.

The system was specifically developed by Microsoft to address the global nature of online child exploitation and could enable the AFP to not only pinpoint and collate information on an individual under investigation in Australia, but also find information relating to the individual that may be stored in other countries.

Microsoft senior vice president Brad Smith said, law enforcement officials across the world have repeatedly told Microsoft that processing the massive amounts of evidence they come across is challenging.

“They accumulate thousands of images, thousands of e-mail messages and hundreds of website links, address books and contact lists,” Smith said. “With so much information and data to process, connecting the dots is a difficult job. Imagine trying to connect those dots across different cities, states, countries and law enforcement agencies – CETS was developed to tackle this very issue.”

In addition to Australia, the system is now operating in eight countries, including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Italy, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom.

In the United Kingdom, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has credited CETS with helping to save 138 children from abuse, make 240 arrests and dismantle three international paedophile rings.

“While the internet has contributed many benefits to our lives, one unfortunate downside is that it allows child predators to find one another and form virtual communities around the world through which they exploit and perpetrate heinous crimes against children,” said Smith.
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