Feeds

Software hunts for Net paedos

Nanniebots take the Turing test

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Software agents that mimic the behaviour of real children are been used to detect paedophile grooming behaviour on the Internet.

Called ChatNannies, the technology is the brainchild of IT consultant Jim Wightman, of Wolverhampton in the UK. The software runs with thousands of sub-programs - dubbed nanniebots - which log onto chatrooms and make conversations with youngsters there.

While engaging in pop-culture inanities, the program analyses the behaviour of other participants in a chat room looking for tell-tale signs of grooming or slip-ups that suggest a user is an adult and not the child he might claim to be.

The software emails suspicious conversations to Wrightman, who screens theses messages prior to passing details of suspect users (IP address etc.) and transcripts over to the police.

We imagine the software generated plenty of false positives, particular when the technology was first used.

Wightman told New Scientist his tip-offs have led to police investigations, though this remains unconfirmed, perhaps unsurprisingly. It's standard police practice (at least in the UK) not to talk publicly about active investigations.

No-one has detected the bots, Wightman added. Given the short duration and limited scope of chat room conversations this is plausible.

ChatNannies uses a neural network program build up knowledge and refine their responses. Each of the bots is programmed to display distinct "personalities". The technology is capable of updating itself with pop culture trivia gleaned from the Internet.

Wightman doesn't want to sell his software or turn his technology into a business. However he would welcome financial support for government-run child protection bodies so that he can expand his system beyond four servers at his work. ®

Related stories

Watch out! There's a chatroom paedophile about
Pervert! You're using the Internet
Govt unveils Web kids safety campaign
Paedophile gets five-year net ban
UK Net paedo crackdown bags 600

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.