INDONESIA: Police going online in search for pedophiles

Software system combats online child exploitation by detecting offenders' digital signatures

Jakarta Post
Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jakarta --- The National Police are now equipped with a powerful new computer system to hunt pedophiles who use the Internet to swap child porn and information about exploited minors.

Indonesia is the first country in Asia, and only the second in the world after Canada, to utilize the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS), a software system aimed to combat online child exploitation globally.

"In the world in general, there are at least 50,000 child exploitation crimes discovered through the Internet. But only 500 have been solved," National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Makbul Padmanegara said at Wednesday's launch of the system.

"Taking this kind of integrated approach allows each player to bring their expertise and contribution to the table, producing a more effective response to the heinous crimes. We are now equipped with tools to better protect children around the world from online predators."

Representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Australian Federal Police, the Canadian Embassy and Microsoft also attended the event.

The system is currently in use in the major cities of Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Medan, Bali, Surabaya and Batam, as well as Lombok.

According to Sr. Comr. Petrus Reinhard Golose of the police information technology and cyber crime unit, the CETS system works to detect all digital signatures made by offenders on the Internet.

Microsoft's Asia Pacific director Peter Moore explained that the police search for offenders would be expedited by knowing how to search different databases for e-mails and chat sessions. The latter are often used to exchange information among pedophiles, or to prey on unsuspecting children using the Web.

"They would be able to share the information across the provincial centers in Indonesia and law enforcement authorities in different countries across the world," Moore said.

Four police officers visited the Toronto Police Force Headquarters in February 2006 as part of its Instructor Development Program to understand how CETS is being deployed and used to track online child predators in North America and across the world.

Upon their return, the four officers trained 29 other fellow officers on the CETS system operation and were scheduled to start a new training class in July.

The U.S. Department of Justice has played a leading role in the capacity-building efforts of the National Police by providing
technical assistance in the form of training and education. This has helped National Police investigators to further develop the skills necessary to investigate instances of computer facilitated crimes such as child exploitation, identity theft and credit card fraud.

The fight to curb sexual exploitation of children through the Internet is bound to become more complicated, with the convergence between the Internet and mobile phone making access to cyberspace more open.

A report by ECPAT International released in September 2005 states that Asia is leading the way in connectivity and that it estimated 1 billion people would be mobile phone subscribers by 2010.

Published: Thursday, June 29, 2006