State AG taking on Internet predatorsWisconsin State Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, said his office has identified approximately 15,000 computers in the state that are being used by sexual predators to exchange child porn and sexually explicit chat rooms.
Wisconsin State Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, said his office has identified approximately 15,000 computers in the state that are being used by sexual predators to exchange child porn and sexually explicit chat rooms.
Van Hollen said that at his request the last state budget funded two extra special agents for the state's Internet Crimes Against Children Task force and three new forensic computer analyst positions.
He noted that these specialists find and analyze digital evidence, sometimes right after it is seized.
"This teamwork often allows us to take the predator into custody literally within an hour from the time the search warrant is executed," Van Hollen wrote in a guest column to state newspapers.
Van Hollen said that online sexual predators often use chat rooms to obtain and trade images. He also noted that predators also use cell phones for explicit chat, a practice known as sexting.
He also warned parents that predators often use file sharing programs like LimeWire to distribute child porn.
Van Hollen offered several tips to parents.
He encourages parents to be active in their children's lives and to keep lines of communication open.
The AG said parents also need to prepare their children for the online world just like they do the real world.
"You tell your kids not to jump into a stranger's car alone and why that's dangerous; tell them why they shouldn't travel the Internet highway alone and why it is dangerous," Van Hollen said.
He also suggested that parents watch their children's Internet use and put computers in common areas.
To help filter out offensive sites and control what can be seen on the computer Van Hollen suggested using software filters.
He warned parents that it isn't just computers. Kids are using cell phones and other forms of communication, so parents need to find to keep up on the newer technology.
Parents can report online exploitation by calling their local law enforcement agency or by calling the Wisconsin ICAC task force at 608.266.1671.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers information for parents, children, educators and law enforcement on their Web site www.netsmartz411.org.
Van Hollen also warned Internet predators that his office is going after them, no matter where they go online.
"We will follow you to every area of the Internet, no matter where you try to hide, and we will work together in law enforcement to stay one step ahead of you," Van Hollen concluded.