Investigating Internet crimes against children:
Seeking a new law enforcement paradigm
Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.
- Laurence J. Peter
Dr. Frank Kardasz, April 14, 2008, Revised: May 26, 2013
For the first time in history, law enforcement officers in the 21st century possess proactive methods to
identify and bring to justice those who sexually abuse minors. In years past, law enforcement had to wait for
reports of child abuse before investigations could begin. But today, using innovative undercover techniques
and the Internet, investigators can proactively seek out and apprehend offenders. Although this is one of the
greatest advancements in the history of the enforcement of crimes against children, investigators still
cannot take full advantage of the innovations. This work explores some of the stakeholders in the cyber-
struggle and the troubling reasons that more resources are not devoted to the growing problem. The work
explores legal, systemic, societal and psychological hurdles related to Internet crimes against children and
suggests a new law enforcement paradigm that better recognizes such crimes.
The Internet opened an uninhibited world of wild digital wonder to this generation. Cyberspace offers terrific
opportunities for education, commerce, entertainment and information exchange. Sadly, a troubling dark
side to the World Wide Web exists where improved law enforcement efforts are needed. The quiet collision
of young people and sex offenders on the Internet has resulted in a desperate but sometimes purposefully
ignored cyber-struggle for the protection of children. Those who abuse minors make extensive use of
computers and the Internet. Better law enforcement is urgently needed. Law enforcement officers in the 21st
century possess proactive undercover methods to identify and bring to justice those who sexually abuse
minors. In the past, police had wait for reports of child abuse before investigations could begin. But today,
using undercover techniques and the Internet, investigators can seek out and identify abusers. Although
these are the greatest advancements in the history of crimes against children, law enforcement still cannot
take full advantage of the innovations.
Proactive undercover methods can identify those who lure and entice minors towards sexual abuse.
Undercover officers posing as minors have been very successful in identifying hundreds of offenders who
have also committed contact “hands-on” offenses against real victims (Kardasz, April 25, 2008).
Investigative operations can also identify those who traffic images and videos depicting the sexual
exploitation of minors. Possessors of unlawful images are also often found to also be “hands-on” contact
abusers. Surprising studies of incarcerated federal prisoners by Hernandez and Bourke (November 2000)
indicated that a significant number of possessors of unlawful images were also contact offenders.
Sophisticated investigative methods exist that can identify possessors of unlawful images (Koch, April 15,
2008, Software tracks child porn traffickers online). Increased investigative efforts into unlawful images will
also result in an increase in the identification of molesters.
This page explores some of the stakeholders in the cyber-struggle and the troubling reasons that more
resources are not devoted to the problem. The paper explores legal, systemic, societal and psychological
hurdles related to Internet crimes against children and suggests a new law enforcement paradigm that
better recognizes such crimes.
The Commerce Clause of the US Constitution (Article I, Section 8, and Clause 3) has been interpreted as
giving some authority over the Internet to Congress. Legislators are understandably reticent to tread on the
First Amendment freedoms provided by the Internet. Efforts to safeguard cyberspace are sometimes
perceived as costly by the business community and draconian “snooping” by free-speech advocates
(McCullagh, April 14, 2006). At risk are the under-represented Fourteenth Amendment due process rights of
children who have no socioeconomic power.
Those who assert Constitutional protections should review the words of Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps in
anticipation of the Internet, he wrote (July 10, 1810):
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must
go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more
enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions
change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the
times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized
society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
Jefferson refers to the discovery of “new truths.” One of the new truths discovered in the exploration of
cyberspace is that the Internet is a conduit of both good and evil. Jefferson may have opined that
constitutionally protected rights to free expression are in question when they permit the rights of children to
be horribly violated. Perhaps the free expression rights that protect offenders require review and controls.
Progressive human minds invented computers and the Internet. Deviant human minds invented ways to
misuse cyberspace. A middle ground favoring public safety must be found.
The legal quagmire of conflicting rights will not be resolved anytime soon. Until effective safeguards are in
place, minors who become victims of Internet sex offenders are not receiving the equal protection and due
processes guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. More work is needed to
resolve these constitutional conflicts.
Internet crimes involving unlawful images of the sexual abuse of children are now widespread and the
number of images and videos available via cyberspace is probably incalculable. A Congressional study in
2006 identified several key factors that contributed to the proliferation of child pornography on the Internet.
First, and perhaps most problematic according to the study, is the sheer number of child abuse images on
the Internet. United States law enforcement sources estimated approximately 3.5 million known child
pornography images online (U.S. House of Representatives, January 2007).
The exact number of child pornography web sites is also difficult to determine. In the year 2001, the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children's CyberTipline received more than 24,400 reports of child
pornography. Five years later, at the beginning of 2006, that number had climbed to more than 340,000.
(National Center, March 15, 2006).
In 2008, during a 30 day period in February and March, offenders in Arizona were observed using one small
avenue of the Internet to traffic 15,220 unlawful images (Kardasz, March 25, 2008). The Internet has fueled a
tremendous and immeasurable increase in the amount of child pornography being produced, trafficked and
Luring and Enticement
Curious and unsuspecting adolescents visit the Internet each day seeking friendship and information but
sometimes instead encounter sexual deviance and menacing predators. One study showed that one in
seven youngsters received unwanted sexual solicitations and that 4% received aggressive solicitations
involving a stranger who wanted to meet in person (Wolak, Mitchell & Finkelhor, 2006. p. 1).
In luring/enticement cases involving actual teens, few of the minors who are victimized ever report the
crimes. Victimized teens are often too embarrassed to notify law enforcement and fearful of their parents’
wrath for disobeying rules against communicating with strangers online. Sometimes a teen returns home
after secretly meeting an Internet stranger without his or her parents ever discovering the illicit tryst.
In 2002, an Arizona Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force undercover officer posing online as
a young girl was contacted by a man who requested a meeting for sex. When the man went to the location
where he believed that he would meet the minor he was arrested. Investigators learned that the offender
had previously met two girls whom he had victimized and to whom he had given sexually transmitted
diseases. In their shame, the girls had never notified their parents of the crimes. The girls' distraught
parents only learned of the offenses when detectives informed them of the suspects’ confessions (Phoenix
Police Department, Report No. 2002-2233604).
In some cases, a child's natural curiosity leads them to Internet places where they do not belong, and with
sad results. Beginning at the age of 13, a California boy was repeatedly victimized by offenders who met
him via the Internet after first seeing his image on a web cam. The boy suffered sexual abuses at the hands
of the men who had first contacted him online. Some of the boys Internet acquaintances had assisted him
in operating commercial pornography websites featuring sexual images and videos of himself (Eichenwald,
December 19, 2005).
In many cases, the teens who are lured by sexual predators will never come forward due to fear or a
misplaced sense of guilt. A few of them, like 13 year old Kasie Woody of Arkansas (Family Life, October 12,
2004), and 13 year old Christina Long of Connecticut (CBS News, May 21, 2002), were forever silenced by
Internet sexual predators who lured them via the Internet, sexually victimized them and killed them.
Child prostitution is also being facilitated via the Internet. Pimps use message boards and social
networking sites to find customers seeking to engage in paid sex acts with minors. In January 2007, Cook
County Illinois police arrested three adults who used Craigslist, a free Internet advertising site, to offer the
sexual services of girls as young as 14 years old. The illegal prostitution business resulted in profits of tens
of thousands of dollars for the pimps. Undercover officers investigated and solved the case by responding
to postings on Craigslist (Gutierrez, January 11, 2007).
In the past, child molesters were characterized as often lurking near school yards. Folklore held that child
molesters frequented school yards because that is where the children were. The Internet is the new
proverbial schoolyard. Cyberspace provides a ready hunting-ground for those who seek children.
The Internet is an important part of the daily lives of millions of young people. For some youngsters
cyberspace is more influential than school, family or religion. In March 2008, an Internet-obsessed Arizona
teenager became so attached to a popular social networking site that when his father revoked his computer
privileges he shot and killed him (Walsh, March 05, 2008).
Internet social networking sites are places in cyberspace where subscribers may post personal information
about themselves and share the information with others. Children and adults use social networking sites to
communicate and to make friends. A study in 2006 estimated that 55% of young people have established
online profiles in one or more of the dozens of social networking sites (PEW, January 1, 2007).
Most social networking sites are free and permit users to register without providing information about the
users’ true identities or whereabouts. The sites are well suited for molesters who can pose as harmless
mentors while disguising their true intent. There have been many incidents of registered sex offenders who
have created online profiles portraying themselves as inoffensive individuals seeking romance without
reference to their malevolent pasts (Kardasz, Internet social networking sites. 2007).
Proactive undercover “sting” investigations often lead to the apprehension of Internet sexual predators.
Undercover officers posing as teens are often solicited by cyberspace acquaintances who offer to
participate in sex acts. Entrapment is seldom an issue in such cases because each communication
between the suspect and the undercover officer is recorded in a computer for later review by all parties
involved. Unfortunately, only a very few law enforcement agencies have personnel devoted to proactive
investigations of offenders who lure and entice minors.
Disenfranchised Youth are Perfect Victims
Children and teens are disenfranchised from social and political power. They are unable or unwilling to
express their needs for Internet safety. Some children who become the victims of child pornography
offenses are too young to phone 911 for police assistance. They cannot call their elected official and they
are often too intimidated by the offender to ever tell anyone.
Helpless child victims of sex offenders cannot summon the assistance of law enforcement. Some victims of
child pornographers are too young to formulate words or use a telephone. The evidence of a child's
victimization is invisible to the public and the crimes are often unreported. Because crimes against children
are not publicly apparent, law enforcement agencies may marginalize the problems and give the crimes
lower priority than other offenses. Consequently, relatively few law enforcement resources are devoted to
the problems of children.
Funding for Internet crime investigations is relatively small. Most police departments have many more traffic
cops than crimes against children investigators. Abominations against children are mostly committed in
private locations. The offenses do not create the conspicuous noise of gunfire or a car crash. The crimes do
not have the noticeable smell of smoke from a fire and cannot be seen from the street like graffiti or broken
windows so public attention is not drawn to the crimes. Offenders know that children are easily intimidated
into silence and often cannot communicate well enough to be understood by authorities. For offenders,
disenfranchised children are perfect victims partly because the crimes are invisible to law enforcement and
children are powerless.
Internet Service Providers
Internet service providers (ISP) are the unwitting facilitators of Internet crimes against children. ISP’s provide
offenders with the connections to the web that allows crimes to occur. Without a cyberspace connection
provided by an ISP, Internet crime would impossible. Some conscientious ISP’s are taking helpful steps to
provide crime prevention education information to users but more assistance to law enforcement is needed.
Other unwitting persons who benefit from Internet services include businesses who advertise on web sites
for the purpose of drawing buyers to their products. Some businesses have been surprised to learn that
their advertising banners have appeared on web pages featuring child pornography. Some of the
responsibility for cyberspace safety and enforcement also lies with those who benefit from advertising on
Most ISP's charge a fee for service and individual subscribers often pay with credit cards. The subscription
and payment process provides a path for law enforcement to use subpoenas or search warrants to trace
back to a subscriber by following the money trail. The subpoena and search warrant response process can
be time-consuming for both law enforcement and the ISP's. Delays in the response process can stall law
enforcement investigative efforts. When an ISP does not retain subscriber data, the investigation
In 1998, a federal law was passed (Cornell Law School, 2007) requiring ISP's to report child pornography to
the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). By 2002, thousands of reports were
flooding into NCMEC from those ISP's that chose to comply with the law. Those reports were subsequently
sent to federal, state and local agencies for investigation. The large number of reports quickly overwhelmed
the small staffs of those few agencies that employed investigators who had the technical expertise needed
to investigate Internet crimes. Investigators began to complain that ISP's were sometimes failing to respond
in a timely manner to subpoenas or search warrants requesting subscriber information. Investigators noted
that in some cases, ISP's retained no information whatsoever, leaving investigations to a dead end.
A small survey of law enforcement investigators in 2006 showed that the number one need of those who
investigate Internet crimes against children was for improved responses from Internet service providers. At
Congressional hearings in 2006, law enforcement officers requested improved data retention by ISP's
(Kardasz, April 6, 2006). Representative Ed Whitfield from Kentucky responded to the request by saying, "I
absolutely think that is an idea worth pursuing. If those files were retained for longer periods of time, it
would help in the uncovering and prosecution of these crimes." When news of the request for improved data
retention reached the Internet industry, some in the field denied that there was a problem and expressed
reluctance about the idea to preserve data. The idea was subsequently mis-characterized as unnecessary
government intervention in attempts to "snoop" and pry into private citizens’ lives (McCullagh, April 14, 2006).
The need for ISP's to retain data and to respond quickly to legal process from law enforcement is a critical
need for investigators of Internet crimes. Lack of response to law enforcement subpoenas and search
warrants can have dire consequences for victims and stall or end law enforcement investigations before an
offender can be identified (Kardasz, February 12, 2008).
Special Agent Flint Waters of the Wyoming Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force testified before a
Congressional Subcommittee that in one case, an ICAC investigator intercepted the Internet transmission
of a video showing the rape of a two-year-old child and traced the video to a computer somewhere in
Colorado. When the investigator approached the Internet Service Provider, Comcast, to request the
customer information for the Internet protocol address, Comcast replied that it had not retained the
customer records for that address. As of the date of the hearing (April, 2006), to Mr. Waters’ knowledge, the
child in the video had not been identified (U.S. House of Representatives, January, 2007).
Internet service providers, credit card companies, social networking sites, gaming sites, providers of chat
rooms, e-mail services and those who advertise in Cyberspace are all among the facilitators who are
caught in the middle of the Internet crime problem. The providers tacitly assent to Internet crime while
profiting from subscribers and advertisers. Providers should logically bear some of the responsibility for
correcting the problems. In the same way that automobile manufacturers begrudgingly gave way, after
thousands of roadway deaths, to regulations mandating vehicle safety, ISP's must provide improved Internet
safety before the annual number of Internet crimes matches the annual number of vehicular accidents.
For Internet service providers, preserving information and providing it to law enforcement in response to
legal process is an unwanted and unprofitable chore. As the tragedies associated with some ISP's
reluctance to preserve and provide information gain increased attention, public pressure and legislative
action may dictate that ISP's work harder to help law enforcement officers identify the suspects associated
with Internet crimes. Eventually, reluctant ISP's will be unable to turn a blind eye to the crimes and might be
forced to become partners in justice instead of facilitators of injustice.
Politics and Mute Constituents
Children can easily become a political afterthought because they do not make financial contributions to
political campaigns and they do not vote. Teens cannot organize and hire influential lobbyists to represent
them before legislators. Minors are the mute and powerless constituents of well-intentioned elected
officials who are unknowingly blind to their victimization.
Media and Unlawful Images
In cases involving unlawful images and videos, the crimes against children facilitated by the Internet are
sometimes so horrible that the news media is unable or unwilling to fully describe the incidents. Adding to
the dilemma is the fact that unlawful images are themselves contraband and cannot be released for public
viewing. When written in text the dispassionate descriptions of unlawful images use statutory legalese to
explain the criminal sex acts involved. The pedantic written descriptions of the images and videos can never
fully describe the abominations suffered by the victims.
Media and Luring/Enticement
Well intentioned media organizations in partnership with cybervigilante groups and sometimes with the
cooperation of law enforcement have conducted undercover sting operations targeting Internet sexual
predators (MSNBC, 2008). Such operations present unique and unusual challenges to law enforcement
(Kardasz, March 17, 2008). The sting operations do little to quell the onslaught of Internet predators and in
some cases make the work of undercover officers more difficult. The cybervigilantes often make the
offenders more wary as the predators later demand more proofs from undercover officers, asking the
officers to show that they are not with law enforcement or the media before completing the criminal act.
Uniformed crime reporting.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) service collects data describing the
saturation of law enforcement officers within various regions of the US. In 2004 there were 675,734 sworn
officers who provided law enforcement services to more than 278 million people nationwide (Dept. of
Justice, FBI, 2004). The UCR also reports the number of officers per 1000 population in various regions of
the US. Depending on the location, different areas of the US had between 1.8 and 5.5 officers per 1000
population. The DOJ does not gather statistics about the number of citizens who use the Internet and no
information is reported in the UCR about the number of law enforcement officers engaged in battling
offenders who use the Internet to victimize minors.
The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is ineffective in capturing statistics specifically
related to Internet crimes against children. NIBRS does not have specific categories that capture Internet
crimes against children (Finkelhor D., and Ormrod, R. December 2004). This tragic failure to collect data
permits statistics-driven administrators to deny and ignore the existence of the problem.
Spending for enforcement.
The Internet crime problem craves increased resources for law enforcement services, training and
equipment. Unfortunately, resources for law enforcement functions of any kind are sometimes scarce. The
competition for the limited available funds occurs in environments where agencies contend with one
another for each slice of the budget. Knowledgeable advocates for children continually hope that more
government dollars will be devoted to the enforcement of Internet crimes against children. In his 2006
testimony to Congress (April 6) Grier Weeks, Executive Director of the National Association to Protect
The federal government must get serious. We are losing this war, (against child pornography) and we are
not supporting our troops on the front lines. Recent estimates of the size of the exploding global criminal
market in child pornography are in the multi-billion dollar range. Yet by no objective measure can we claim
to be serious or prepared as a nation about stopping what is being done to these children. The FBI’s
Innocent Images National Initiative is funded at $10 million annually. By comparison, the Department of
Housing and Urban Development just announced it was awarding more money than the entire Innocent
Images budget to build 86 elderly apartment units in Connecticut and almost 7 times their budget on the
homeless in Ohio. The administration has proposed 20 times the entire Innocent Images budget for
abstinence-only education programs through the Department of Health and Human Services. The
Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force program received about $14.5
in fiscal year 2006. That is less than one-fifth the amount proposed for a new initiative to help former
prisoners reintegrate into society. Last year’s budget included $211 million for the Department of the Interior
for “high-priority brush removal” and related projects. $14.5 million doesn’t clear much brush.
A Civil Liability Mandate
A tragic case of investigative failure led to a 10.5 million dollar lawsuit settlement in Washington after it was
learned that an offender identified as the result of an Internet tip was also a serial hands-on offender who
had molested numerous children (Kardasz, September 15, 2008). An investigator in Tacoma did not
respond quickly enough to the original tip and the subsequent lawsuit on behalf of the victimized children
alleged that while the complaint languished, victims were being molested. The offender, a certified foster-
parent, was subsequently arrested but the Tacoma Police Department, the Washington Child Protective
Services Agency, and the Seattle Police Department were sued. The suit alleged, in part, that deliberate
indifference and failure to investigate the original complaint in a timely manner resulted in the continuing
victimization of several foster children. Each agency settled out of court and the total payout was reported as
$10.5 million. The case is a tragic reminder that improved law enforcement efforts are needed.
Offenders, the public and law enforcement.
Crimes against children are particularly repugnant. Most people wish to mentally disassociate themselves
from thoughts of dreadful abuse involving helpless children. Law-enforcement investigators must deal with
the fact that the identification, investigation, and prosecution of child molesters may not be welcomed by
their communities—especially if the molester is a prominent person. Individuals may protest, and
community organizations may rally to the support of the offender and even attack the victims. City officials
may apply pressure to halt or cover up the investigation. Many law-enforcement supervisors, prosecutors,
judges, and juries cannot or do not want to deal with the details of deviant sexual behavior. They will do
almost anything to avoid these cases (Lanning, 2001, p. 142).
Crimes against children are the most reviled types of investigations for law enforcement officers. While
respectful of the need to bring offenders to justice many officers say, “I could never work those kinds of
crimes.” The true facts about the sexual victimization of minors is so psychologically distressing that few
can emotionally tolerate being deeply involved in the investigations.
Community based policing is not designed for invisible victims.
Traditional law enforcement approaches based on community oriented policing theories are not applicable
in the area of Internet crimes against children. In a community oriented policing services publication
intended to guide police administrators in evaluating their local child pornography problem, writers Wortley
and Smallbone (May 2006, p. 29) recommend a curious statistics-based method for analyzing the problem.
The publication clumsily counsels administrators to understand their local problem by determining how
many complaints related to child pornography have been investigated in their jurisdictions. Unfortunately,
because the victims of crimes against children cannot complain, using the suggested methods to evaluate
child pornography crimes based on local crime statistics is an invalid over-simplification.
Unlike spectacular crimes and incidents involving crashes, explosions, shootings and widespread
newsworthy bloodletting, the evil offenses against children are committed in dark and private places by
offenders who often psychologically control or humiliate their victims into silence. The crimes are mostly
unreported. Statistics will not reveal the true story.
Federal and local law enforcement.
Because of competing priorities, Internet crimes against children have received relatively little attention from
federal law enforcement agencies. Since 2001, Federal efforts have focused appropriately on terrorism and
border protection. The continuing war on illegal drugs is also a proper federal priority. Several enforcement
efforts against Internet film piracy, copyright violations and file-shared music were mounted after demands
by influential and well-heeled victims in the movie and music industry (Dept. of Justice, November 17,
2006). The slow response to cybercrime is partly because Internet crimes are relatively new phenomena.
Crimes against children were only added to Federal law enforcement duties in the mid 1980s, and Internet
crimes against children only began to rise in the late 1990s. Law enforcement is far behind the criminals in
the war against illegal images. In April, 2008, when asked about the war on child pornography, FBI Director
Mueller admitted to Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, "We're losing" (Ryan, April 23, 2008).
Local law enforcement resources at the state, county and city levels are drawn to homicides, sex assaults,
gangs, drugs, burglaries, property crimes and other offenses of legitimate local importance. Consequently,
those who fight Internet crimes against children are often overlooked under funded and understaffed.
Advocates for children agree that more funding for the enforcement of cybercrime is needed (Koch, April 15,
2008, Limited funds hinder child porn fight). As the issues become more apparent to the public and to
lawmakers, perhaps funding will increase.
Advanced training and investigative skills are required in order to conduct proactive investigations of Internet
sexual offenders. Law enforcement investigators who are generalists and who must also carry caseloads
involving other types of crimes are unable to conduct extensive undercover investigations involving Internet
crimes against children. Consequently, few law enforcement agencies have staff who are devoted full time
to proactive enforcement of Internet crimes against children.
Law enforcement educators.
Internet crimes against children are a troubling afterthought for many law enforcement agencies. Some
agencies find it easier to mount Internet safety education efforts than to mount law enforcement effort aimed
at arresting criminals. Internet safety education should not be confused with law enforcement. One large
metropolitan police department in the US boasts 99 school resource officers trained to conduct Internet
safety education in schools but has only two investigators to conduct proactive Internet enforcement efforts.
Police are trained and paid to keep the peace and make arrests. Unfortunately, their true enforcement
efforts are sometimes detoured into the unfamiliar world of education where they must be re-trained as
teachers. Internet public safety education efforts are important but administrators should consider whether
they want sworn employees to be educators or law enforcers.
What can be done to improve law enforcement efforts towards apprehending Internet sexual predators and
traffickers of unlawful images? How can funding be identified for more investigators to fight Internet crimes
against children? Here are several suggestions.
• Voluntary contributions from ISP’s customers
Citizen Internet users may be willing to designate a dollar from their monthly Internet service bill to
be dedicated specifically towards the investigations of crimes against children. Those funds could
then be used to hire and train more investigators dedicated specifically to the job of identifying and
apprehending offenders who use the Internet to commit crimes against children.
• Better statistics-gathering methods
Failure to capture the number of Internet crimes against children in the NIBRS system permits
administrators to deny the existence of the problem. The system must be corrected to properly reflect
the problem of Internet crimes.
• More proactive and investigators
Proactive investigations can lead to the apprehension of offenders before they commit "contact"
crimes. Reactive investigations are increasing as reports of Internet crimes continue to come it to
NCMEC and to law enforcement agencies nationwide. More investigators are needed.
• Basic law enforcement training
Law enforcement basic training academies need to recognize Internet threats by providing a block of
instruction regarding Internet crimes against children for entry-level employees.
• Permanent funding
Permanent funding sources specifically designated for the purpose of supporting proactive
investigative (not citizen education) efforts should be designated. As of 2008, the successful Internet
Crimes Against Children Task Force Program remained an optional Congressional earmark
program with no guarantees of continuation. Federal agencies including the FBI, ICE, US Postal
Service, US Marshalls Service and even the Secret Service are making increased efforts to assist in
the efforts but more personnel and funding is needed.
Internet Service Providers should be mandated to retain subscriber data and required to respond
promptly to legal process from law enforcement.
• Tax on Internet Service Providers
A luxury tax on Internet service providers. A small tax on Internet service providers with the proceeds
dedicated towards supporting investigative (not just citizen education) efforts towards apprehending
Internet sex offenders.
Child victims of Internet sex crimes cannot summon assistance the way other victims can. They cannot
adjust agency manpower, set policy or change regulations for their benefit. They cannot notify their local
elected official. They cannot form a citizen-action group and they cannot vote. All they can do is suffer and
hope. Hope that someone will pick up the cause and summon the sustained resolve to overcome legal,
systemic, societal and psychological hurdles to help them.
No single entity can claim to be in command of the Internet. Cyberspace has no single location on which to
plant a flag. The Internet is like a new planet and we are still the early inhabitants. Because the Internet is
not made of brick and mortar, business and government leaders can easily abdicate or ignore
responsibility for authority over cyberspace. Weak leaders can quickly succumb to those who might argue
against any restraint whatsoever over electronic communications. While the Web remains unmanageable,
offenders have quickly planted their flags and taken full advantage of the global communities’ inability to
Law enforcement institutions must advance to keep pace with developments in cyberspace. Administrators
should consider the number of Internet users and subscribers in various regions and consider deploying
proactive Internet crime investigators based on Internet saturation ratios. Such considerations would
represent a step towards a new paradigm in policing. The paradigm begins by recognizing the rights of
children to be safe from offenders who use cyberspace to gratify their sexual desires. Undercover proactive
investigative techniques must be improved. Instead of avoiding technology, we must embrace it for the
purposes of protecting minors.
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Internet Crimes Against Children