Major challenges: encryption, anonymisation technologies, live-streaming and ”deleters”

The police officers in the survey highlighted a number of the challenges they face whilst working on child sexual abuse cases. Encryption, anonymisation technologies, live-streaming and “deleters” are the four areas that were most frequently mentioned.

Encryption and anonymisation technologies

Almost a third, 32 per cent, of the respondents mentioned encryption and anonymisation technologies such as TOR as an increasing trend. Also as one of the major challenges of investigations.

“Encryption, use of TOR and the darknet for hosting and distributing child exploitation material.”

”Encryption and TOR remain growing/existing problems.”

“Wider use of TOR and Darknet to attempt to avoid detection.”

“Anti-forensic techniques more prevalent. Encryption in particular.”

Live-streaming

Live-streaming has been a widely discussed trend for several years. It is mentioned as one of the key challenges that police officers working on child sexual abuse cases face.

“Live-streaming of abuse increasing.”

“Users are streaming through tor networks or in general streaming.”

“Increasing grooming cases – livestream.”

Deleters

Although the majority of offenders still collect large amounts of material, some people have started to make efforts to dispose of material after they have looked at it and are therefore called “deleters”.

”Efforts to dispose of images and videos after viewing.”

”Many of the P2P cases today involve persons who download and delete. Expediting the execution of search warrants is more important than ever.“

”The immediate deletion of files after they have been downloaded.”

A glimpse of future trends?

There are a number of areas that have been mentioned by just a few police officers, but that are interesting because they show something new:

1, The offenders, not just the victims, are becoming younger.
”Younger offenders. Age has moved significantly lower.”

2, More 3D-generated material
”3D generated imagery and cartoons are on the rise.”

3, An increasing amount of child sexual abuse material from the African continent.
“Starting to see an increase in images coming out of Africa.”

Comment about the result:

From encryption to live-streaming
Björn Sellström, Swedish Police, NOA.

Encryption and anonymisation technologies are among the major challenges in combatting the spread of child sexual abuse material…

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