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Facebook software flags adult-teen sex chat leading to an arrest of a 30-year old man
Facebook which recently acquired Face.com spotted a suspicious online chat by a teenager and adult leading to the arrest of the latter. The Facebook technology scans postings and chats activities which shows potential threats to any facebook user.
A man in his early thirties was chatting about sex and planned to meet a 13-year-old South Florida girl after middle-school classes the next day. Facebook personnel noticed the notification from the system and quickly alerted the local police.
Officers took control of the teenager's computer and arrested the man the next day, said Special Agent Supervisor Jeffrey Duncan of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The alleged predator has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of soliciting a minor.
"The manner and speed with which they contacted us gave us the ability to respond as soon as possible," said Duncan, one of a half-dozen law enforcement officials interviewed who praised Facebook for triggering inquiries.
The result seems amazing. It's just like a typical hollywood movie where local authorities rushed into the victim's apartment and secured the victim. But how accurate is the facebook software in scanning the potential suspected sex predator chat session?
I'm working in an IT world so I would share my views regarding this piece of platform being implemented by Facebook.
1. With the aid of the software it's easier to chase the offender but first, how accurate is the output mechanism of this technology? Facebook has around 900 million active users & multiple chat sessions in every minute. Can it filter if the user shortens the word or inserted a couple of special characters to avoid of being flagged? e.g instead of "sex" the user typed "s&x". Will that piece of software would evidently detect it as "sex" keyword?
Violators will always find a way to penetrate into the system without being caught. Another way would be image links to external site. e.g If I would upload a pornographic photo into imageshack or photobucket and posted the link in facebook chat, will it be detected malicious or suspicious?
There are text and image scanning software that implements a very strategic algorithm to detect if the image content violates the Terms of Service/Agreement of a certain site.
Read USB device uses image analysis to scan for inappropriate images. However, just like what it says,
The image-analysis software is not perfect. Even with the highest threshold setting, in which the software is looking strictly for offensive images, we got false positives. The company says its software produces about a 1% false positive rate, and in our tests we found it slightly higher, about 2% of all the images scanned came up as "suspect," with a majority of those being safe images. The image analysis seems to tag photos with people's faces, or certain curves, shapes, etc., as suspect.
2. How about chasing online chat offenders who are located in the Middle East or any other country outside the United States? Is it necessary for facebook to coordinate to the authorities in that specific location?
3. And how about the invasion of privacy especially in cases that the software gives a false alarm?
Having something is better than nothing. Facebook developers just need to continue to enhance this software technology and find a better finger printing algorithm else they will receive a lot of legal cases.