Rapidly developing technology, cross-border crimes and deeper penetration of internet across the globe has made it extremely difficult for law enforcement agencies to curb and police online sexual exploitation of children, said judges, police officers and cyber security experts from countries such as USA and the Netherlands.
The remarks were made at the international conference on the issue of online sexual exploitation of children organised by the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) and International Justice Mission in Kolkata on Friday.
“In such cases most of the storage is taking place in cloud devices which makes it difficult for us to search and locate the evidence. In digital forensics there are new operating systems and so it is difficult to have experts in forensics because of changing nature,” said Sebastian Edassery, Cyber Security Head of Delloite, India.
Legal experts from the USA also focused on the challenge of evolving technology used in such crimes and how the perpetrators are finding new ways to avoid detection.
Judge Eric Bradshaw of Kern Country Superior Court in California indicated that in some cases the culprits even groom children in such a manner that the children take their own photos.
“Criminals are not getting smarter but are getting efficient with technology. They find new and different ways to do their work... If children are groomed properly, they even take their own photos, in which way the fingerprints of the perpetrators are not even on the evidence,” Judge Bradshaw said.
Lida Van Djik, a senior police officer from the Netherlands argued that the use of fake social media accounts is one of the key ways for culprits in cases of online sexual offences to hide their identity.
The police officer also pointed that encryption technology and cloud servers are being used for securing and storing child pornography.
Senior police officers from states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal said that the training of police personnel investigating such cases has become challenging as the offenders keep using new software and technology.
“In the digital era, it has become very difficult to train the police in the changing trends as technology is constantly changing,”M d Sharath, DSP at cyber crime police station of Karnataka, said.
Ajey Ranade, IG of CID, West Bengal expressed his concern on the use of dark web in such crimes as well as their cross-border nature.
“The dark web with no indexing system and clandestine operations pose a grave concern,” he said.
Ananya Chakraborty, chairperson WBCPCR, said that even though there are 3.2 crore children in West Bengal there are no studies to show the impact of commercial sexual exploitation of children online.