Today we announced our partnership with U.S. based nonprofit organization, Child Rescue Coalition (CRC), a partnership that will see Magnet Forensics and CRC come together to help achieve our shared goal of protecting children against child sexual exploitation and abuse.
As a former digital forensics examiner, our Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Jad Saliba worked tirelessly to combat this type of crime and it has remained his driving force ever since. We asked Jad to share his thoughts on the partnership, and what it means to Magnet Forensics and the ICAC community.
This partnership came together on the recommendation of national police forces in the United Kingdom and Canada. Can you tell us more about why the partnership makes sense to you?
Jad: Our driving principle at Magnet Forensics is: “Seek Justice. Protect the Innocent.” No one person, community group, law enforcement agency or organization can do that on their own. If we are serious about that purpose, we know that dedicating ourselves to making great software products isn’t enough. We have to find new ways to support others who are similarly aligned to this goal and work together to expand our reach.
Child Rescue Coalition is a great example of just that. The work they do and technology they provide has helped thousands of children around the world. They are a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to protect innocent children through technology. The whole team at Magnet Forensics is proud to have the opportunity to support their incredible team, and with our donation, help fund and sustain the important work that they do.
Bottom line, we know that by working together, we can help law enforcement get even more predators behind bars.
The press release cited some pretty grim statistics about Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) and the strong correlation between viewing abusive material and actually committing offenses. Can you explain more about how technology facilitates these crimes.
Jad: Technology like cell phones, social media, and chat apps has unfortunately made a lot of things about child exploitation and abuse easier. It’s easier for offenders to find one another and to validate their actions. It’s easier for offenders to find new victims through apps and websites. It’s easier for them to record their offenses, and to share those recordings, or even live streams, with other offenders. And, it’s easier for them to hide their tracks thanks to encryption, proxies, anonymization, etc. All of this activity results in a huge increase in both the data involved in each case and, sadly, the number of crimes committed.
However, technology also has a huge role in helping to solve these crimes. Technology like CRC’s Child Protection System (CPS) aggregates and indexes historical data from 12 billion peer-to-peer and chat network records to reveal patterns of predatory behavior. It includes sophisticated analytics to help investigators around the world focus on the offenders who are in their local area and/or who are most likely to abuse children. It provides investigators with meaningful information about activity in their locality that they may not have otherwise known. It enables them to be proactive and identify offenders who may be targeting children in a specific area, and then also helps determine whether a local suspect may have access to children in some kind of trusted role.
CPS is used by law enforcement in 79 countries around the world. Since 2014, it’s enabled investigators to arrest 10,000 online predators and rescue over 2,300 abused children. Those are pretty compelling statistics and certainly an organization we want to support.
Anything else you’d like to share? What makes you most excited about this partnership and what’s to come?
Jad: There is so much work still to do to help law enforcement, and especially ICAC investigators and examiners, more efficiently prevent and combat these heinous crimes. But I’ll say this – when I initially developed IEF back in 2009, it was with one goal in mind – to help that most vulnerable part of our community that were suffering from unspeakable crimes, and yet could not help themselves.
A lot has changed since those beginnings.
Magnet Forensics has evolved into an international organization that creates powerful software products used by over 4,000 agencies in 93 countries. However, that core truth has never changed. Adam [Adam Belsher, Magnet Forensics CEO] and I are now lucky enough to have a team of employees around the world who are also committed to this cause. It’s been a pleasure to get to know the great folks at CRC over the past several months, especially Carly Yoost (CRC founder and CEO) and Bill Wiltse (CRC President) and we can truly say their dedication and passion is unmatched.
In the months to come, I’m excited to show you how Magnet AXIOM and CPS can work together to make an even greater impact. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements.