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Virtual 10-year-old catches thousands of alleged pedophiles in digital sting

Meet “Sweetie.” 


Curt Hopkins


Sweetie, a 10-year-old Filipina, is willing to give the man who contacted her, a 35-year-old father of two from Atlanta, 10 minutes of a nude sex show for $10.

Well, Sweetie is not so much a girl from the Phillipines, or even her pimp. Instead, it is an avatar of a software animation program called Sweetie1000, used by a researcher to ensnare men allegedly guilty of “web sex tourism.”

The Dutch charity, Terre des Hommes, has used Sweetie1000 to identify 1,000 alleged pedophiles. But this is only a small percentage of the 20,172 predators from 71 countries who responded to the charity’s faux overtures.

Four researchers from Terre des Hommes spent 1,600 hours over 10 weeks in 19 public chat rooms posing as prepubescent Filipina girls.

The method by which the charity identified the men was one well known to hackers. They asked.

The charity chose a Filipina avatar because “webcam child sex tourism” is extremely “strong” in the Philippines, according to the group’s FAQ (PDF), with “750,000 predators connected to the Internet at any given moment” across the globe.

The face and body were modeled to resemble a 10-year-old ethnically Filipina girl. Then, motion sensors were placed on a real person sitting in front of a computer, which the group used to track the “exact sequence of motions that a person performs while chatting with people online,” including typing. The program to control the avatar thus provided commands mapped to the specific motions and expression—typing, smiling, frowning, looking up, down, and side to side.

None of the 1,000 predators identified by the group will face charges unless police in the predator’s home country gather their own evidence. The information provided by Terre des Hommes is certainly a good place to start.

H/T Naked Security | Photo by TDH

The Daily Dot