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AFP Microsoft CETS Launch

7 March, 2008 | Archived Post

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
7 March 2008

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will receive a high-tech boost in the fight against child predators and paedophiles with the launch of an online tracking system by Minister for Home Affairs the Hon Bob Debus MP this morning.

Developed and donated by Microsoft the technology, known as the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS), is a unique software tool that 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 message is simple: no form of child abuse will be tolerated in Australia or anywhere in the world. Today’s announcement will strengthen the AFPs global online presence in actively policing the internet community,” Commissioner Keelty said.

“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.”

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, which was specifically developed by Microsoft to address the global nature of online child exploitation, could enable the AFP to not only pin-point 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,” Mr 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.

“Child exploitation is a global problem without borders and as such requires a globally coordinated response,” Mr Smith said.

“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.”

“Through CETS and the leadership of law enforcement agencies like the AFP, we’ve created a powerful tool to tighten the net around child predators and paedophiles,” he said.

Online child exploitation is a serious worldwide problem. The FBI estimates that the production and distribution of child abuse images is valued at US$20 billion annually while the British-based Internet Watch Foundation believes the number of child abuse images on the internet has grown by 1,500 per cent since 1997.

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