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Online technology used to hide and detect underage pornography

Curiosity may compel some Milwaukee residents to open emails or visit websites that seem harmless. It is possible to be lured into actions that, on the surface, seem innocuous. It takes just a few clicks to end up with unwanted underage pornography on your computer.

What you may not know is images you view may be tracked by a search engine, software maker or social media site. Google and Facebook are among leading technology companies scanning what you read and write, predominantly for advertising purposes. However, the companies also look for illegal activities that can lead to a charges of possession of underage pornography or worse.

Google was instrumental in supplying evidence in a underage pornography case that led to a man’s arrest. An illegal image was detected in the defendant’s Gmail and reported to law enforcement agencies.

Microsoft was the first to introduce PhotoDNA in 2009 that spots similarities in child porn images. The technology works when a detected image matches a known pornographic image. Facebook began employing the technology in 2011 and expanded searches into message content.

The technology companies are obligated to report underage pornography they find to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Many people who accidentally or intentionally seek out child porn are unaware of this monitoring. Authorities are aware other tech savvy individuals have sought ways to disguise their underage pornography interests.

Content searches on the Internet can be relatively straightforward or somewhat complicated. Web content inaccessible by search engines is part of the so-called Deep Web, which also can contain content obtained only by using special browsers. A significant amount of child porn has moved into these online sub-levels, but where criminals go, investigators usually can follow.

A Wisconsin prosecutor’s case is valid only if evidence shows a defendant knowingly accessed or possessed child porn. A Kohn & Smith defense attorney can help disprove criminal intent.

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