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Web tool aimed at helping cops track child exploitation

BURNABY (NEWS1130) – Simon Fraser University researchers hope a new tool they’ve developed can help police track child exploitation websites.

The web crawler allows researchers to sift through more than 200,000 web pages at a time. Developer Richard Frank says he has received some input from RCMP and local police departments.

“What the web crawler would allow them to do is to automate the process,” he explains. “They would throw the hundred web pages in, it would look at those websites, try to analyze those images and the text… then follow the links out of it in search of whether content links from that page.”

He notes the process keeps researchers from actually viewing the online content.

Frank tells us it maps out the pages based on what has the most content so resources can be focused there. He also hopes to understand the life cycle of a website hosting this type of content.

“Rather than allowing them to go after a random target, [the web crawler] would allow them to go after the best target,” he adds.