Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $1,152,063)
This program provides funding to increase the technological investigative capacity and associated training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and other professionals through the development, refinement, and advancement of investigative tools, methods, and technologies that address child pornography, child exploitation, and child sex trafficking. This program is authorized pursuant to the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2019, Pub. L. No. 116-6, 133 Stat. 13, 115.
The SEARCH Group, Inc. (SEARCH) will launch a multifaceted strategy to assist law enforcement in the prevention of technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation (TFCSE). SEARCH, in collaboration with the Child Rescue Coalition, will design a platform that facilitates the capture of all public messages from designated mobile social media chat rooms 24 hours a day/7 days a week. This platform will allow law enforcement to quickly respond to new, emerging, mobile social media networks (such as Kik and Telegram) as they gain popularity with children and appear as a potential targeting area by offenders. The data gathered on these disparate social networks will be aggregated and indexed to identify offenders across multiple platforms, which will allow investigators to focus limited resources on those who pose the greatest risk to children. SEARCH will also enhance its Mobile Information and Knowledge Ecosystem (MIKE) tool that will allow investigators, prosecutors, and examiners better access to information about the phones and mobile applications that they may encounter in TFCSE cases. Additionally, to add increased functionality to the tool, SEARCH will incorporate its Digital Evidence Legal Wiki and the SEARCH Internet Service Provider list to provide a true one-stop tool to access these data. SEARCH will produce a manual to assist users in navigating the tool as well as develop a new e-learning course that will be available to all 61 ICAC task force member and affiliate agencies. To ensure investigators in the field maximize the benefits of the new tools, SEARCH will provide training and technical assistance on the tools.