If you’re a pedophile, you’d be wise not to keep any prescription containers in view of a webcam with your lewd pictures. The information on such a bottle is what helped pedophile Stephen Keating get 110 years in the slammer says a CNN article.
But the amazing thing is that the bottle’s information was extracted from a blurry image of it in the background of a photo that Keating took of one of his 14 victims. Keating posted the photo online, not knowing that that innocent little prescription bottle would get him busted—along with the fingerprints that were extracted off his fingertips in the image.
Yes, this is what forensic technology can do these days. Only some of Keating’s name and the prescription number were actually extracted in a photo lab, but it was enough information for a record check of the pharmacy to get his identity.
Homeland Security Investigations Cyber Crimes Center specialist Jim Cole says his Project Vic teamviews half a million images every week.
How does this technology work?
- Computers use “Photo DNA” to speedily sift through hundreds of thousands of photos, separating previously viewed ones from new ones, sparing investigators from having to see disturbing images more than necessary.
- Cole says that what used to take nine months now takes one month.
In another case, an image showed a woman and her victim holding a fish at a campground. The woman was a known offender…but where was this campsite?
The image of the fish was sent to Cornell University for analysis of the species: Where is this type of fish found? The location was narrowed down to a specific area, and then the campsite image, minus the offender and young victim, was sent to all the campsite advertisers in that region. They got a hit, and in fact, the reception room of the particular camping grounds had the same image on display. All of this took place in under four hours.
Even a blurry company logo on a shirt can be extracted for identification. In one case this led to a plumbing business where an offender used to work.
Where are all these images coming from in the first place? The public sends in tips to the CyberTipline. So do giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Cole says that the advanced technology has caused an exponential increase in the number of victims rescued.
Good guys 1. Predators ZERO.