On the job
Nothing - and I mean nothing - gets my blood boiling worse than the victimization of children. The vile and subhuman creatures who prey upon little kids should be staked out in the sun and left to feed the crows.
Barring that, they should be hunted down and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And for doing just that, I salute every single individual involved in pursuing this case:
What started a year ago with an Edmonton woman overhearing a disturbing conversation between two children ended yesterday with the Attorney-General of the United States announcing the dismantling of a large, highly organized child porn ring that swapped pictures and live video of children being sexually abused and raped.
More than 40 people were under arrest, at least 10 of them in Canada. Two "administrators" who allegedly helped run the Internet child porn trading post are from Canada, one in Edmonton and the other in Longueuil, Que., police and prosecutors said.
Others charged are from at least nine U.S. states, Australia and England, with other arrests expected, including several more in Canada.
I'm especially impressed by both the Toronto and Edmonton police departments.
The Toronto Police are are acknowledged as world leaders in flipping over the rocks under which these vermin hide, and were instrumental in creating one of the most fantastic tools yet conceived to battle the proliferation of child pornography:
The Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) was developed by Microsoft Canada and law enforcement agencies, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Toronto Police Service. The technology lets investigators spot trends and link pieces of information in, for example, child pornography cases, which often span borders and involve unknown perpetrators and victims. Also, CETS is accessible to multiple agencies and can be linked to systems used by law enforcement agencies in other countries.
The program had backing at the highest levels within Microsoft. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates instructed Microsoft Canada to work with law enforcement to develop CETS after he received an e-mail from Gillespie in January 2003. The Toronto Police detective sergeant told Gates that officers in his unit were falling behind sex offenders because they lacked the tools and training to properly investigate crimes on the Internet or penetrate shadowy communities of pedophiles.
"I sent the e-mail and about three weeks later I was contacted by Microsoft Canada. They wanted to know what they could do for me. To be honest, I thought it was people in my office playing a joke on me. When I sent the e-mail I really did not expect to hear anything back," Gillespie said. Following the first contact, Microsoft and Gillespie had several meetings, the collaboration ultimately led to the development of CETS.
The more I read about Bill Gates - in spite of all Microsoft's many faults - the more I like him.
The Edmonton police are to be commended on pulling off an extremely audacious raid to perfection:
By January, it became clear that one of the alleged ringleaders lived in Edmonton -- the same city where the investigation had started.
This user was an "administrator" for the site and was one of its most trusted members, authorities allege.
On Jan. 26, Edmonton and Toronto police officers raided his home in a lightning fast strike.
"With good planning we were able to take him out while he was logged on and we then assumed his identity," said Det. Krawczyk.
The man did not have a chance to disconnect, erase files or warn others; no one in the chat room knew he had been taken into police custody.
The investigators who had been monitoring him and analyzing him for months were then able to perfectly mimic him online in the chat room.
The undercover infiltration was so sound that the man's account was still active late yesterday, uncompromised and still getting responses online.
The tolerance for error on such a raid is precisely nil. The officers who pulled it off are true professionals.
This is a fight that can never be completely won, but one that absolutely must be fought. I can't imagine the emotional stress and trauma that working on these cases must cause to the police and lawyers who make up the investigative teams. I know I couldn't do it. But they have my most heartfelt admiration and respect.