Tag Archives: geolocation limitations

UMass’s Rescue Lab uses GeoIP2 to Help Rescue Children from Abuse

Leveraging the strengths and understanding the limits of IP geolocation, the Rescue Lab plays a critical role in rescuing children from online sexual exploitation crimes.

Warning: The following article discusses child sexual abuse and may be disturbing to some readers.

The scale of the problem is staggering. Every month, more than 800,000 people share images and videos of children being sexually abused. The sharing of these images is a re-victimization of the abused, haunting them well into their adulthood. And the investigation of sharing by law enforcement has time and time again led to the rescue of a different child being actively abused. The sheer volume of child sexual abuse materials being shared online poses what was, for many years, an impossible logistical challenge. 

The issue isn’t a lack of people who care. The problem is one of sorting. If there’s a pool of 800,000 potential cases, all of which occur in the geographically nebulous space of “the internet,” how do you distribute these cases among the thousands of people—law enforcement officers—who have devoted their lives to fighting child sexual abuse? Without a method to effectively sort investigations into geographical jurisdictions, the cases are unmanageable. Figuring which of these offenders may be in your area would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

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