CEPOL goes undercover online

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04 May 2010

The CEPOL activity ‘Child Abuse in Cyberspace’ (Ref 62/2010) was organised by the Centre for Police Studies in Denmark from 12 – 16 April 2010.

Exploiting the external partnership with the US TLO Law Enforcement Systems and the ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force, trainers from EU Member States and Norway were licensed as ‘Fairplay Instructors’.

This allowed them to work with the software applied under ‘Operation Fairplay’ which improves the capabilities in online undercover investigations into Child Abuse in Cyberspace and the application of commonly accepted standards for presenting evidence in court.

To accommodate 24 participants from 17 Member States and Norway, an specialised Information Technology (IT) classroom was set-up in the ‘Silicon Valley’ in Denmark, with a dedicated server enabling participants and instructors to handle sensitive data, including contraband in an completely secure environment.

One participant commented during the course: ‘This is not about presentations, it is real-time, online investigative work supported by those who developed the software.’

Kim Sverre Hansen, the CEPOL National Contact Point for Denmark and the course manager said: “I was concerned about targeting the right group but with the support of my colleagues from the Danish National High Tech Crime Centre, the participants profile had been developed in detail in the Course Descriptor. The Fairplay instructors assured me that the class met all criteria, and most participants will immediately be able to cascade the training results in their home organisations.”

As licensed ‘Fairplay Instructors’, following the course, participants have registered access to the Child Protection Service forum which allows them to access shared knowledge and discussions within the European Union and with external partners across the world within the field of child protection.

“The lost innocence of a child can never be restored’, Michael Harmony from the ICAC Task Force in Virginia, United States, quoted from the memory coin of his organisation. Mike, together with Flint Waters of the TLO and Paul Bayer from the United Kingdom, were the ‘Fairplay’ instructors, and their contribution constituted a genuine partnership.

The online evaluation, carried out on CEPOL’s Learning Management System (LMS) highlighted that participants believed the objectives of the course had been fully met.

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