Analyzing online child exploitation networks: an examination of severity and connectivity

Date created: 
2011-04-18
Identifier: 
etd6515
Keywords: 
Child Exploitation
Internet
Social Network Analysis
Abstract: 

The continued growth of child pornography distribution online has resulted in the need for new innovate tools to combat the problem. Since shutting down all child exploitation (CE) websites is arguably impossible, the goal must be to find the most efficient way of identifying the key targets and then apprehend them. Using a web-crawler we specifically designed for extracting CE networks, we 1) examine the structure of ten CE networks and compare them to a control group of sports-related networks, and 2) provide a measure (network capital) that allows for better identification of the most important targets, within each network, for law enforcement purposes. Results show that network capital–a combination of content severity (images, videos, and text) and connectivity (links to other child pornography websites)–is a more reliable measure of target prioritization than traditional methods currently being used. Implications for future research and law enforcement practices are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
Copyright remains with the author. The author granted permission for the file to be printed, but not for the text to be copied and pasted.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Bouchard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Statistics: