FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2013-02-13
Recently, an FBI Special Agent with a background in computer science devised a set of computer programs that has proven to be effective at investigating internet crimes against children in the United States and around the world. The Special Agent created 13 programs in total that have reportedly saved investigators an enormous amount of time and money. In addition, the programs have streamlined efforts to follow internet activity in real time.
While specific information regarding the manner in which the programs function is not available due to their ongoing use by law enforcement officials, short explanations of their functionality have been discussed. To understand the increased efficiencies made by these computer programs, it is necessary to consider how internet crimes against children were investigated before the creation of the programs.
In the past, when law enforcement officers identified a suspect, they would attempt to monitor the suspect’s online activity, by logging into certain chat rooms and waiting for the suspect to enter. Once they believed enough evidence would be contained on the suspect’s computer, officers would physically seize all of the computers from the home. Thereafter, officers would have to wait a number of months before a report of the information from the computers was compiled by computer technicians.
The 13 programs created by the FBI Special Agent have changed that process in a number of ways. Firstly, officers now receive an email alert every time a suspect signs online — thereby, eliminating the need for hours spent waiting for the suspect to appear. In addition, law enforcement officials are now able to search computer files without seizing the computers. The Special Agent explained, “Our whole goal is to be minimally intrusive in everything we do.”
Finally, one of the 13 programs is able to interpret information left in chat rooms and translate it into usable information for police officers. Rather than having to wait for months for the information, law enforcement officials are now provided with this data in real time.
Since its creation in 2010, the programs have reportedly resulted in 330 searches and over 220 arrests. The FBI approved use of the programs in November 2011, and they are now used throughout the United States and in 41 other countries. Consequently, they have better enabled law enforcement agencies across state and country lines to collaborate in their investigations.
Allegations of Texas Internet Crimes Against Children
For those who have been accused of internet crimes against children, it is more important than ever to ensure a strong defense is established. The efficiency of the new computer programs means people suspected of such activity will be investigated at a much faster pace.
If you have been accused of such a crime, consulting with a skilled criminal defense attorney will ensure your rights are protected.