Kerala

Kerala Police launch State-wide anti-child pornography drive

A clandestine cyber-surveillance operation by the Kerala Police (Countering Child Sexual Exploitation) team resulted in at least 10 persons getting arrested on the charge of trading, peddling, storing and distributing child sexual abuse material.

The team, led by Additional Director General of Police Manoj Abraham, has busted several peer-to-peer child pornography-sharing groups. Investigators used deception, fake personas and social engineering techniques to infiltrate the highly secretive cliques.

Kerala Police Cyberdome aided the operation, code-named P-Hunt. It reportedly used state-of-the-art cyber-surveillance software sourced from Interpol to track the online trafficking of child pornography.

Investigators and IT resource persons working voluntarily for the police prepared for weeks at the Cyberdome facility to infiltrate the child pornography-sharing networks. Using fictitious cyber identities, investigators insinuated themselves into secret groups by evincing a sexual interest in children.

The Interpol-developed software reportedly helped the police track the download of digitally watermarked prurient images of children to the IP addresses of individual offenders.

The police also used software tools to impose digital signatures on ‘Trojan Horse’ child abuse content to track their circulation across the Internet and allied encrypted mobile phone communication platforms.

The police seized 186 devices loaded with child sex abuse material ranging from rape, incest, domestic abuse to candid photographs of local children at swimming pools, water theme parks, malls, playgrounds, shopping malls, beaches and resort hotels.

Investigators said unknown child predators, equipped with mobile phones, appeared to have generated many of the images and traded them online. They also found a vast cache of videos and pictures of minors between the age of five and sixteen in various states of undress.

Some suspects rarely stored the images and videos and deleted them immediately after viewing the content. Few regularly formatted their phones to scrub off incriminating evidence.

An investigator said live-streaming sex sessions involving children, mostly of South-East Asian and East European origin, appeared in vogue among a few suspects.

The distribution, viewing, storing of child pornography entail a punishment of up to five years imprisonment and a fine of ₹10 lakh.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 1:22:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-police-launch-state-wide-anti-child-pornography-drive/article38282495.ece