Va. attorney general touts technology to identify child victims

WASHINGTON — Virginia’s top attorney is leading the charge when it comes to investigating child predators. Attorney General Mark Herring wants every state to implement a new technology that aids in identifying child victims.

Called deconfliction software, it’s technology that Herring thinks should be used in every state to help rescue victims of child predators.

During a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General, advocates showcased the cutting-edge technology, which law enforcement in the commonwealth began using last year.

“Rather than each state or law enforcement agency doing these investigations on their own, they can be linked,” Herring said after the presentation.

When used in a child porn or exploitation investigation, the software reads the digital fingerprints of what can be thousands of images collected from a suspect’s computer, matching them to known victims and possibly finding new victims, whom investigators can seek out, explained Camille Cooper with the National Association to Protect Children.

“Before, all of those unknown children and unknown images — investigators didn’t even know they existed. They couldn’t see them,” Cooper said.

Now the technology allows investigators to efficiently go through thousands of images, saving their mental health and their time. But most importantly, Cooper said, it ensures no child will be lost in the shuffle.

In four years, Cooper said, the software has led to the rescue of 4,000 kids nationally.


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