The pervasiveness of the Internet has resulted in the dramatic growth of online sexual exploitation of children, resulting in a 2,000 percent increase in the number of cases opened since 1996.
Lakeland, MN (Vocus) June 12, 2009
St. Paul, MN -- (Vocus) June 11, 2009 -- Facilitated by evolving computer technology, cybercrimes involving the exploitation of our nation's children are rising at unprecedented rates. CNN's Terry Frieden reported in January, 2009, that FBI Executive Assistant Director Stephen Tidwell stated, "The pervasiveness of the Internet has resulted in the dramatic growth of online sexual exploitation of children, resulting in a 2,000 percent increase in the number of cases opened since 1996." In the same CNN report, it was noted that FBI Inspector General Glenn Fine concluded "processing time for digital evidence can take up to nine months," with about 60 days on average required to gather evidence, once the suspect hard-drive is actually in the hands of the computer forensics examiner. This statement was based on a Department of Justice report released earlier this year highlighting significant backlogs in FBI cybercrime labs.
With crimes against children ranging from abductions, sexual exploitation and pornography, law enforcement agencies across the nation cannot afford to waste time pursuing unfounded cases or convictions against innocent individuals. According to Voom Technologies, Inc., (http://www.voomtech.com ) C.E.O., David Biessener, computer forensics analysts can avoid the time and money squandered by using more conventional tools and, instead, devote their time and expertise toward prosecuting the real criminals. Biessener stated, "Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes to an hour with Voom's Shadow to determine whether the digital evidence supports the allegations. Simply connect the Shadow to the suspect computer and turn it on. The forensics analyst is then free to boot and operate the suspect computer, without compromising forensic evidence. The Shadow allows the examiner to upload computer forensics tools (e.g., password cracking software), run the suspect's custom-designed programs and run all applications in any operating system. The Shadow allows extensive investigation of the suspect hard-drive, while the digital contents of the drive remain unchanged and thus untainted at all times. If the evidence is there, the Shadow will help bring it to light."
Take, for instance, a case investigated by Will Docken, computer forensics expert (http://www.willdocken.com ) and former U.S. Customs Special Agent. This case involved a gentleman in Alaska who was charged with knowingly possessing and viewing child pornography on his computer. The particular file in question was an AVI (video) file. The accused claimed he downloaded a large number of files simultaneously, which included the multimedia file containing child pornography. He maintained that he tried to view the file, but it would freeze up after a few seconds and could not be viewed. What he could see was young children, and he had no interest in that so he deleted it. Forensic examination confirmed there was no other child pornographic material viewed on the computer. Docken then used the Shadow to boot the original equipment and attempted to view the file in question, which was stored in the recycle bin; the video froze before there was any sexually explicit conduct, just as the accused asserted. Via the use of the Shadow, there were additional very significant exculpatory findings. It was confirmed that the computer was also used by the roommate of the accused and therefore digital evidence could not be proven to have been downloaded or accessed by this gentleman. The prosecutors were then also allowed to use the Shadow to examine the contents of the suspect computer; they confirmed Docken's findings.
If the Shadow had been implemented for investigative purposes from the start, the accused could have avoided an anguishing ordeal, the taxpayers' monies could have been spent on crimes worthy of prosecution and forensic investigation could have been directed to those cybercrime lab backlogs clogging the wheels of justice. This case culminated in the exoneration of an innocent man; the charges were summarily dismissed. The evidence obtained using the Shadow clearly showed there was no way he could have known what the downloaded and later deleted file contained. If the Shadow had not been utilized in this case, it is likely that this innocent man would have been wrongfully convicted of a heinous crime he did not commit.
Maureen T. Aro, Marketing
Voom Technologies, Inc.