Local News

Advanced technology leads to more Internet arrests

— When people go online to trade or download child pornography, most apparently don’t think about getting caught, said Brian Livesay, a Highlands County deputy assigned to the Special Victim’s Unit.

“They assume that nobody sees them,” he said. “They’re usually surprised when we show up,” Livesay said. But one of their first reactions is “shame,” he added.

Generally, he said, interviews lead to the perpetrators admitting they have the child pornography. There hasn’t any big problem with them claiming someone else put the photos on the computer, he said.

Last week, the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office arrested Trevor Theron Long, 28, 832 Garland Ave., Sebring, on one count of possession of obscene materials and 50 counts of obscenity.

Long was accused of having child pornography on his work computer at South Florida State College where he works as an end use support analyst. SFSC officials said that Long was fired from his job.

Information from Google, which was initially given to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, regarding suspected uploading of child pornography images and the Internet addresses associated with that activity helped lead to the arrest, according to an arrest affidavit.

Livesay said he believes technology advances have been crucial in locating and arresting people involved in child pornography.

It probably won’t be the last time that Google finds someone in this area that is a suspect regarding possession of child pornography.

Although Google officials could not be reached for comment, on the Google website, Google said it has provided a $5 million grant to help eradicate child abuse imagery online.

Google also created a $2 million child protection technology fund “to encourage the development of more effective tools to detect, report and remove known child sexual abuse images.”

Google also announced last year on a blog on its website that since 2008, Google used a “hashing,” technology to give each child pornography image an ID that computers can recognize.

That allows people to know what images to remove without having to look at the images before removing them, the blog said.

Many of the images found are duplicates of other images already discovered, the blog says.

Google is also working on a database that will allow other companies, law enforcement and charities to work together to find images, the blog said.

Livesay said that another source of help in the battle is that individuals who come upon child pornography and report it.

Highlands County has been involved with the Internet Crimes Against Children program since 2009. Polk County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency in this area, Livesay said.


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