EU plan to force messaging apps to scan for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) risks millions of false positives, experts warn

Source: techcrunch.com 5/2/24 A controversial push by European Union lawmakers to legally require messaging platforms to scan citizens’ private communications for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) could lead to millions of false positives per day, hundreds of security and privacy experts warned in an open letter Thursday. Concern over the EU proposal has been building since the Commission proposed the CSAM-scanning plan two years ago — with independent experts, lawmakers across the European Parliament and even the bloc’s own Data Protection Supervisor among those sounding the alarm. The EU proposal would…

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The Artifice Girl: A movie showing how an AI program could bait and trap predators

Source: imdb.com  Movie description (fiction): “A team of special agents discovers a revolutionary new computer program to bait and trap online predators. After teaming up with the program’s troubled developer, they soon find that the AI is rapidly advancing beyond its original purpose.” Read the full article Related reality articles: AI Generated Images Are Being Used To Catch Online Sexual Predators [sydneycriminallawyers.com.au 5/27/23] Utah company uses AI to catch online predators [ksl.com 6/20/23] D.I.G. AI system used to find sex traffickers [computer.org] Predicting a predator: Purdue AI tool identifies online…

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An anti-porn app put him in jail and his family under surveillance

Source: arstechnica.com 6/13/23 On a Wednesday morning in May, Hannah got a call from her lawyer—there was a warrant out for her husband’s arrest. Her thoughts went straight to her kids. They were going to come home from school and their father would be gone. “It burned me,” Hannah says, her voice breaking. “He hasn’t done anything to get his bond revoked, and they couldn’t prove he had.” Hannah’s husband is now awaiting trial in jail, in part because of an anti-pornography app called Covenant Eyes. The company explicitly says…

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MN: 23 men arrested in Bloomington prostitution sting

Source:  startribune.com 3/20/23 Bloomington police arrested nearly two dozen men in a prostitution sting last week, according to the department. Officers from Bloomington’s special investigations unit created a phony ad for an adult sex worker featuring photos of an undercover Bloomington officer, according to a news release from the Police Department. … Part of the purpose of the sting, Hodges said, was to find potential victims of human trafficking. He said he hoped the men arrested could point police to real sex workers whose services they sought in the past…

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NJ: NJ officials warn YouTube vigilante pedophile hunters to cut it out

Source: newsbreak.com 12/24/22 HACKENSACK, N.J. (1010 WINS) — The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office asked the public to stop posing as children online in an attempt to lure pedophiles for YouTube videos on Thursday. This style of vigilante pedophile hunting has become a popular form of schadenfreude-driven entertainment on YouTube and other video platforms. The content creators often model their makeshift stings after “To Catch a Predator,” the television show in which Chris Hansen would confront pedophiles with law enforcement waiting nearby. Read the full article  

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Federally funded police task forces carry out thousands of online stings each year, despite little evidence that they prevent abuse

Source: theappeal.org 12/19/22 On July 8, 2018, Norman Achin, then a 50 year-old public school teacher living in Northern Virginia, signed up for the adults-only dating app Grindr. Two days later, he was contacted by someone calling himself AlexVA. Soon after they started talking, AlexVA told Achin that he was 14 years old. “I was looking for adult fun. Did not expect to run into your age,” Achin responded through the app on July 12. “Not interested in that kind of relationship with a boy.” The next day, he reported…

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VA: Chesterfield police arrest 16 in online operations involving sex solicitation of minors

Source: richmond.com 5/4/22 Chesterfield County police special victims’ detectives conducted two recent online sting operations involving sexual solicitation of minors that resulted in the arrest of 16 suspects on a total of 31 charges, many of them felonies, police announced Wednesday. The planned operations were the department’s seventh and eighth of this type since June 2020. As in past cases, detectives on March 31 and April 28 intercepted suspects who believed they were soliciting sex from minors through various social media platforms. The suspects communicated with people they believed to…

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FBI agents had women in office pose as kids to bait sexual predators, watchdog says

Source: mcclatchydc.com 8/3/21 FBI agents are accused of using photos of young staffers to lure sexual predators, authorities said. The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General recently released a report accusing some FBI special agents of having women in the agency’s support staff — who were not certified to go undercover — pose as minors or sex workers in photos that were posted on social media to “entice sexual predators.” The inspector general’s office says it learned of the operation during an investigation into a special agent who…

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How a suicidal pizza man found himself ensnared in an FBI sting

This isn’t a story about the police stings that we are all too familiar with. But it is another example of how the FBI goes too far with sting operations. This is based on a story on CNN.com back in 2017 Every day was the same for Rayyan, 21, a depressed pizza delivery man from Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Working for a pizzeria in Detroit, he’d drive late nights on desolate inner city streets, smoking pot hoping to keep boredom at bay. He carried a pistol to protect himself from robbers.…

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USDOJ announces arrest of 2300 for alleged online child sex crimes.

[justice.gov – 6/12/18] The Department of Justice today announced the arrest of more than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders during a three-month, nationwide, operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces. The task forces identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, and 383 children who suffered recent, ongoing, or historical sexual abuse or production of child pornography. The 61 ICAC task forces, located in all 50 states and comprised of more than 4,500 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies,…

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Operation “Southern Impact II” – what the numbers don’t tell

[floridaactioncommittee.org] Parents nationwide have been fed misleading headlines touting the results of operation “Southern Impact II” which purportedly “nabbed 76 child-sex predators” and in which “13 children were rescued or identified as victims”. Without more, those are some scary numbers and what appears to be a very successful “operation”, but if you dig below the surface, it’s not so successful after all… For example; the phrase, “rescued or identified as victims”. Which is is? Were they rescued or did they merely “identify” them as victims? That makes a big difference.…

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FBI’s massive porn sting puts internet privacy in crossfire

For two weeks in the spring of 2015, the FBI was one of the largest purveyors of child pornography on the internet. After arresting the North Carolina administrator of The Playpen, a “dark web” child-pornography internet bulletin board, agents seized the site’s server and moved it to an FBI warehouse in Virginia. They then initiated “Operation Pacifier,” a sting and computer-hacking operation of unparalleled scope that has thus far led to criminal charges against 186 people, including at least five in Washington state. Full Article

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Hundreds of child molesters arrested: ‘Operation Broken Heart’

We don’t have all the details yet, but one thing was certain Saturday: Hundreds of child molesters are off Southland streets after a massive federal and local law enforcement crackdown. “Operation Broken Heart III” nabbed 238 suspected child predators during a two-month drive, according to officials. Participating law enforcement agencies will provide the full story to the public Monday. Full Article

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AL: Charges Dismissed Against Former Child Sex Crimes Prosecutor For Lack Of Actual Minor In FBI Sting

(2012) There is an interesting ruling out of Mobile, Alabama where former child sex crimes prosecutor, ____ ____, was charged with solicitation of a minor over the computer. Special Judge Gaines McCorquodale dismissed the charge on a key missing element under the statute: an actual victim. Since ____ was speaking with an undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old girl, McCorquodale ruled that there was no victim as required under the language of the statute for child enticement. Essentially, no child, no enticement, no charge. Full Article

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