What task could possibly be more important for America’s most powerful computer than to watch over your shoulder as you surf the web just in case you’re transmitting kiddie porn (or maybe something else the government doesn’t like)?
According to the Daily Mail:
The most powerful computer in America is being used in the hunt for paedophiles.
The Jaguar supercomputer, which can carry out trillions of calculations a second, has been put to use help track down people who send child porn over the internet.
Scientists at the Oak Ridge Facility in Tennessee have been able to use the lightning fast supercomputer to find where the vile images originate from.
The article goes on to explain that law enforcement can easily find those who possess child porn, but have a hard time finding the source of the material. To the government and anti-porn crusaders, simple possession is as great an evil as producing the material even though only the latter actually abuses children. But, since arrests on possession are much easier to score (thanks to sting tactics) and prosecute, that’s where the resources or assigned.
The lead investigator on the project at Oak Ridge, Robert Patton, has developed algorithms that analyse traffic, looking at the search terms people are using on peer-to-peer, file-sharing networks.
Search terms that indicate someone is looking for child porn are flagged, and the algorithm watches to see how different IP addresses respond to the queries.
It’s not like there are any Fourth Amendment issues involved in wading through everyone’s internet activities hoping to find a crime they can pin on someone. Of course, maybe the computer is already monitoring everything we do on the internet and this simply amounts to one more screening algorithm. One thing is for certain. Nothing generates a rush to give up Constitutional protections like the claim that it’s to protect children.
‘ We want to be able to say ‘Hey, of all of the data you’re looking at right now, here are a handful of IP addresses that you should investigate further.
‘Hopefully, the work that I’m doing here will help save somebody’s life.’
Probably not. More likely is that will lead to another high profile prosecution for the creation of cartoons (like Japanese anime or the Simpsons) that the government doesn’t approve, but which don’t hurt any children.
Probably just discussing child porn probably gets their attention…