Last week, the Kids’ Internet Safety Alliance (Kinsa) revealed their latest initiative, Project Spade. Having been in the works for a number of years, the results of Project Spade have only just now been revealed to the public.
Project Spade is an investigation that ran internationally, including police officers from over a dozen different countries. The investigation was made public last week, and as it turned out, Kinsa’s hard work with Project Spade has resulted in 340 arrests, including 100 in Canada. The investigation has resulted in 386 children around the world being rescued.
Kinsa is a Toronto-based organization committed to making the internet a safer environment for children and preventing online sexual exploitation of young people. They work with law enforcement groups from around the world to increase awareness, education, and training about issues related to online safety and to take action against online injustices.
Though Kinsa can’t divulge the entire process behind Project Spade, which worked to train a variety of officers that served as partners with the project, they did outline some of the important links between their organization and the project. Firstly, Kinsa was involved with the creation and development of software called the Child Exploitation Tracking System for more than 10 years, and it proved to be a crucial part of Project Spade by widening the initiative’s scope and increasing the results. Rather than relying on the old practice of manually sorting through files and photographs, the CETS allows for a more comprehensive and integrated approach to spreading information among those who need it.
Kinsa also teamed with members of the Romanian National Police’s cybercrime unit, spurring them to create their own specific unit for the purposes of investigating internet child exploitation. Many of the child pornography movies and photos that Project Spade investigated were created in Romania, and Kinsa trained officers were closely involved in the investigation.
Additionally, since 2009, Kinsa has offered Internet Child Exploitation training in 19 African countries, with emphasis on working with the South African Police Service (SAPS). After being trained by Kinsa and partnering with global law enforcement (including the RCMP) SAPS spent 14 months closely investigating the 43 Spade suspects residing in South Africa. In August of 2013, they put the Project Spade Strategy into effect and seven men were arrested on multiple child pornography charges, three children were rescued, and dozens of hard drives were seized and are being examined, with more arrests expected to come.
Kinsa’s goal of “creating an ever-growing, highly trained cyberforce that patrols the internet day and night with a single minded focus on rescuing children” has only strengthened with this latest development with Project Spade. If you’d like to learn more about Kinsa or contribute to their worthy cause, please visit kinsa.net.