FBI revamps anti-porn site

"FBI's Baltimore office"

The FBI will be relaunching its Baltimore-based database on child pornographers and pedophiles next month with new software that will identify trends and relationships among working and suspected cases.

The software has been under development for more than a year. It is the latest tool for the bureau's Innocent Images program—largely known as an e-sting operation in which agents go online posing as minors and wait for those who prey on children to proposition them.

The Baltimore database has been the bureau's clearinghouse for online child porn and pedophile cases, enabling agents in various field offices to coordinate investigations, according to Peter Gulotta Jr., a spokesman for the Baltimore office.

"We have the database, but as far as cases go, they're carried out by the field offices," he said.

The new software will help reveal trends or relationships among various cases and possible cases, said Laurance Den, vice president of information technology at R.M. Vredenburg Co., a Virginia technology company.

Vredenburg developed the software for the Baltimore office, he said.

In addition to active cases, the database also receives complaints of possible online child pornography or pedophile encounters from Internet service providers, he said. For example, when customers of America Online forward possible problems to the company, then the company turns them over to the FBI for inclusion in the database, Vredenburg said.

The system is also a records and document management system for capturing, indexing, storing, analyzing and retrieving a range of data, including text, graphics, audio and video.

Den said the system was designed so that the information it comes up with may itself be used as evidence.

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