According to recently released statistics from ICAC, an agency whose aim is to make the internet safer for children, only 2% of reported child protection cases are investigated in the United States each year. Often the media seize every opportunity to disparage forensics organisations, child protection charities and law enforcement agencies for not coming up with more effective solutions to these cases, but the reality is that the investigation of illicit image distribution is a wide-ranging and complex area, fraught with difficulties.
Digital forensics professionals will undoubtedly come across such
cases as part of their general workload. Sometimes a case will begin
with an investigator specifically looking for suspicious images, whilst
at other times the illicit nature of the images will be discovered in
the course of an unrelated process. Regardless of the initial push,
however, it is undoubtedly one of the most taxing and time-consuming
parts of the job.
Internet Watch Foundation – on the frontline
The Internet Watch Foundation in the UK understands the issues around
child protection investigation better than most. The IWF fields reports
from the public about illicit imagery around the internet, and has been
dealing with potentially criminal internet content since 1997. The
organisation receives around forty thousand submissions per year, and
manages to deal with around ten thousand of these...