Strengthening LEA Cooperation with hotlines
CPORT is INHOPE's latest project aimed at strengthening cooperation and collaboration between law enforcement agencies and hotlines in tackling Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) online. CPORT aims to facilitate a direct data and information exchange between content analysts and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA), to streamline the removal of harmful material.
Child Sexual Abuse knows no state borders, and can only be efficiently tackled through international collaboration. Currently, available technology for data exchange between hotlines and LEA is limited. And the information reaching LEA does not reach the maximum potential for collaboration with hotline analysts.
Project CPORT will enhance the ICCAM system to facilitate improved information exchange, leading to more enriched data for investigations in a quicker and more secure manner. The tool is developed by a variety of stakeholders from different countries, to ensure that the tool can accommodate different national requirements. This international team of industry experts, law enforcement, and government agencies includes ZIUZ Visual Intelligence, INTERPOL, Norwegian law enforcement agency Politidirektoratet (KRIPOS), Belgian law enforcement agency Belgian Federal Police (BFP), Moldovan law enforcement agency Inspectoratul General AL Politiei (MIARP) and French law enforcement agency Gendarmerie nationale - Ministere de L'interieur (CNAIP).
We spoke to Grete Raidma, the CPORT Project manager, to get deeper insights into the current state and future developments of the tool.
What main features will be developed within project CPORT?
“We are building a law enforcement portal into INHOPE’s secure platform ICCAM, that will provide access to national law enforcement agencies. This portal will allow them to securely access CSAM reports received by hotlines that are relevant to their jurisdiction.” Besides this development, we are also optimising the data exchange with INTERPOL. Currently, work is being done to better automate the connection between ICCAM and INTERPOLs International Child Sexual Exploitation Database (ICSE) so that the information received by hotlines can be quickly streamlined to INTERPOL officers for victim identification. On the other side, URLs containing CSAM will be shared with INTERPOL’s “Worst of” List (IWOL) to be distributed with INTERPOL's partner Internet Access Service Providers worldwide to block access. '
We will be working on another feature, that will enable the sharing of INTERPOL's baseline and national hash lists between databases. This will increase datasets used for matching known content and therefore reduce analysts' exposure to known CSAM. Grete shared, that the development of these features will be tailor-made and based on suggestions of user groups with participants from different national and international law enforcement agencies. “Our ultimate goal is that these developments will allow hotlines and law enforcement agencies to exchange more enriched data and keep all the relevant databases up to date.”
How will CPORT allow for more enriched data?
“Through connecting databases between three key stakeholders, more information will be available to the stakeholders and the automation of procedures will allow this information to be continuously updated.” Depending on the agreed procedures between individual hotlines and LEAs the portal will serve LEA in diverse ways. For instance, Grete explained that currently numerous hotlines forward only material classified as illegal to local police. In some cases, however, there may be interest to relay a wider context of information, such as a series of images or videos, that is helpful from an investigative point of view, for example, an inconspicuous-looking photo might help LEA determine the victim's and perpetrator's location or identity. CPORT will provide the technical possibilities to increase such information exchange.
"With CPORT developments we assure that if law enforcement is interested in investigating the material further, they can have a better picture and more information is available to them."
Will CPORT allow for information exchange between LEAs in different countries?
“For now, we foresee an information exchange only between law enforcement and hotlines," shared Grete. INTERPOL and Europol's platforms already allow information exchange between LEAs. However, it is essential to note that CPORT is a constantly developing tool that will be customized according to the requests of law enforcement partners and future users. Developments of support features might be considered if it is requested by users, is feasible and adds value to the already existing mechanisms.
Will there be training for LEAs on how to use CPORT?
“We will organise several online and in-person training courses for law enforcement to introduce them to the INHOPE secure platform ICCAM and the law enforcement portal CPORT.” Grete shared, in-person training will be organised together with hotline analysts from the same region. These training courses, developed by INTERPOL and INHOPE, not only focus on CPORT but include several training and plenary sessions related to processing CSAM. The first in-person training will take place in October 2023.
What are the next foreseeable steps?
Currently, the project team is identifying and documenting user group ideas and requirements, detecting relevant risks, enhancing ICCAM and building the CPORT portal. "We have released the first version of the portal this summer. In September 2023, we will hold the first CPORT Focus group “Data Exchange & Intelligence Forum” and in October we will organise the first training for law enforcement and hotlines." The focus group aims to enhance stakeholders' knowledge of the processing and removal of CSAM and provide them with a platform to explore the possibilities of improving data and information exchange across sectors. This, in turn, will contribute to the development of the CPORT system. In 2024, law enforcement in INHOPE member hotline countries will be invited to participate in the project and start using the portal.
Effectively combatting CSAM on a global level requires dedication and multi-stakeholder collaboration. Only by working together, and sharing intelligence can we facilitate a safer digital experience for young people. We acknowledge the value of cooperation, which is why Project CPORT aims to strengthen the systems that facilitate knowledge and data exchange among different actors.
Project CPORT is funded by the European Commission’s DG Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) and will be made available to law enforcement globally. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
Interested in learning more about Project CPORT:
Grete Raidma, Project Manager - email@example.com.
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