A Supercomputer Goes Porn-Hunting: Fighting Pedophiles the Geeky Way

JD Rucker December 12 Hardware

As the world’s second most powerful computer, the Jaguar has been called on to do many things, particularly for the US Department of Energy. In 2011, it will be asked to use its tremendous power to fight crime.

It’s going pedophile hunting.

Scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee where Jaguar is housed are working with local and national law enforcement to put Jaguar’s incredible processing abilities to work with Artemis, a program that finds pornographic images and videos on computers and networks. Named after the Greek goddess of the hunt, the program quickly scans computers for flesh-colored pixels that could be pornography.

“Across the globe criminals are using technology to facilitate the sexual exploitation of children,” said Grier Weeks, executive director of the National Association to Protect Children, or PROTECT. “Police are overwhelmed and outnumbered. These Oak Ridge scientists are the good guys we’ve been waiting for. Their computers will become child rescue engines.”

It can take the search process down from weeks to hours, expediting arrests and prosecutions. It could also prevent crimes like the murder of Somer Thompson.  A cyber crimes unit began forensic analysis on Jarred Harrell’s computer on October 9, 2009. 10 days later he allegedly kidnapped Thompson.

Artemis on Jaguar may be able to prevent such cases as early as late-2011.

“With the current process, it could take weeks for law enforcement to track someone down,” said Robert Patton, a scientist at Oak Ridge who, along with Carlos Rojas, runs the Jaguar and pedophile project. “Right now we could probably do it in a few days. What we want is to do it in a few hours.”

While Artemis is already being used directly on suspects’ computers and has been involved in 30 arrests, Jaguar is not expected to be ready to use it until the end of 2011. Currently, Patton’s team is testing and simulating on Jaguar.

Investigators are eager to see it live as soon as possible.

Written by JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of both Judeo Christian Church and Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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  • whatever

    Computers can’t tell the difference between what’s actually child porn and what isn’t. It’s prone to errors and could get alot of innocent people in prison.

  • Anon

    Besides simply looking for flesh colored pixels. Why not have jaguar examine all the pictures in the national police database to examine all the metadata in the pictures and videos and attempt to organize them by producers and than go through the photos looking for clues as to where the pictures and such was taken. What year and the like.

  • Arqluil

    yes but it narrows down the suspects exponentially and then can be further reviewed by a human being…

  • YungYots

    LOL, to bad it cant look into password protected rar files cause that what they all use now. No one with an ounce of common sense leaves unencrypted pics of that nature on their hard drives.


  • shoot them

    Just change law make Pedophiles shoot on site.
    Arrest,public justice first cutoff there balls,then after 30 min if still alive cut off there head.No more sex crime from the freak.Yes you are a freak if you like kids and if i was terminally ill i would spend my last days coming after you..

  • parse

    In 2011, it will be asked to use its tremendous power to fight crime.

    It’s going pedophile hunting.

    Being a pedophile isn’t a crime.

  • ” It could also prevent crimes like the murder of Somer Thompson. A cyber crimes unit began forensic analysis on Jarred Harrell’s computer on October 9, 2009. 10 days later he allegedly kidnapped Thompson.”

    One step closer to Minority Report.

  • Get those sons o bitches. I worked closely with addicts for a few years and the 1 thing alot of the chronic relapsers had in common -male and female – that I think destroyed them as people was being sexually abused when they were young.

  • Agreed. Tyranny is always sold as a necessary evil to protect against bogeymen, be they foreign states, terrorists, or child predators. LEA already post child porn online in forums and on web sites in the hopes of entrapping would-be pedophiles who click on them. Then they scour the IP addresses of those who did and flood the courts with warrant requests, potentially catching a few pedophiles, but also destroying the reputations of innocent people with dynamically-assigned IP addresses (almost everyone these days.)

    It’s easy to naively believe that LEA only go after IPs where enough of a pattern exists to make a court case, but the reality is that some LEA are so eager for leads that they’ll take out a search warrant on anyone, and make them prove in court that they’re innocent. This system will be used to entrap potential pedophiles today, but it will be used to ensnare sexting teenagers tomorrow, and people with politically-incorrect beliefs in the future.

    ISPs should give customers the option to block *all* objectionable downloads at the service level, where it cannot be disabled per computer, thereby leaving customers vulnerable to the consequences of “curiosity clicks” by family members and raids by over-eager authorities. People can then choose how much risk they want to expose themselves to, rather than let their teenagers or perverted Uncle David (Epstein) bring shame to the house.

  • I love how worthless little bitches like you alreayd say “WEll…of course htey use it for good now! But in the future they will expand it to EVERYBODY!” and even though you have NEVER been right in your life, you still think it makes you sound intelligent to make such asinine predictions

  • Anonymous‮

    well im going to prison. not because i have child porn, but because that program is gonna screw over anyone with pornographic images of naked, short, small breasted women.

  • really nice post, and helpful

  • CJ

    I see a major flaw in this. Surely in order to find images on peoples’ computers, you need to infect them with a worm first. Unless Microsoft publishes one, you are unable to see your pictures from outside unless you are a user of Internet Explorer (yay ActiveX).

    Child pornographers are probably seeing all this -hype- about it (major mistake right there) and will refuse to install the Microsoft update or just disconnect themselves from the Internet during the search.
    Although you may catch a few, I doubt the damage will be significant and exploiting children will continue unhindered.


  • GladForMoreGoodGuyTechnology

    Wow, those commenting about computer technology are really niave.

    For one they’re not idiots behind these computers. What child exploiters do to hide, someone in law enforcement will break, simple 🙂

    For another, let’s hope all pedophiles think they are smarter then well paid, well educated and very motivated law enforcement, let’s hope they do keep it encrypted or don’t install updates, whatever they think won’t get them caught and lets hope they post this useful information of how smart they are so law enforcement knows where to direct their energy, cause that just helps technology like this locate them 🙂