Cleaning up the Internet, one criminal at a time

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by Duncan MacRae| 23 May 2014

Duncan MacRae spoke with its Netlcean founder, Pelle Garå, to find out how its working with law enforcement agencies and businesses to tackle child pornography, terrorism, drug dealing and gangland crimes.

NetClean is a company that provides intelligence solutions to detect, block and analyse digital media in an effort to create a safer society. Duncan MacRae spoke with its founder, Pelle Garå, to find out how its working with law enforcement agencies to tackle child pornography, terrorism, drug dealing and gangland crimes.

What role does Netlcean play in efforts to prevent child pornography?

Netclean is a company that works with illegal digital media. Digital media for us is images and videos. That's our speciality.

It all began because wanted to crack the case of sexual abuse of children. Ten years ago people said 'the Internet is too big, the problem is too large, it can't be done and you guys aren't good enough'. They gave us all these reasons and this is probably how all entrepreneurs start - you want to prove them wrong. It could be your father , or maybe you're trying to impress a girl. In our case, it was probably both of these reasons.

Today, 10 years later, I think we're very good at what we do. Up until a year ago we just focused on sexual crimes against children but then a lot of law enforcement agencies said 'I talked to the guys who deal with terrorism or missing people or drug lords and they're really impressed with what you do'.

They're right. Sexual crimes against children is one use case but, of course, our solution Analyze DI can help with anything that has to do with images or media.

The problem today with media, especially images and video, is that there's too much of it. People call it big data. You need to have intelligence in big data and that's basically what we do.

You have an end user. For example, a police officer in Bournemouth and he has a child abuse case. He has 100,000 pictures that he has to look through. Up until now, he has a folder on this computer with all the photos and he has to look through them. But now we have a tool that helps him go through all of the material

What exactly can Netclean offer?

If people look at grown up girls who want to be naked on the Internet then that's not my problem. You could be religious or say this is immoral but, frankly, that's not my problem.

I deal with stuff that's illegal. There is no grey scale for me. If it's illegal I will help to stop it. I'm a tech guy. I don't make the decision about whether something is child pornography or not. The police officers have to do that.

I have a repository of all the pictures that have gone through illegal systems in a democratic world. I can take one of those pictures, extract the information, run it through our algorithm and hash that value. Now I have a database of hash values with absolutely no false positives. I can take that database together with the software, and I can take the information we have and offer that to companies - providing something like a firewall for viruses. Instead of catching viruses, it can catch illegal pictures. If you have them on your computers or system we can notify you. I can sell this but we give back to communities by offering the DI to law enforcement agencies for free.

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