A Criminological Analysis Using Real-Time Monitoring to Gather by chenmeixiu

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									  A Criminological Analysis: Using
Real-Time Monitoring to Gather Data
          on Online Predators
         Kasun Jayawardena, B.Jus



         Supervisor: Dr. Colin Thorne



    Submitted in fulfilment for the degree of

         Masters of Justice (Research)
                School of Justice
                Faculty of Law




 QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
                                            Abstract

 

The Internet presents a constantly evolving frontier for criminology and policing, especially in
relation to online predators – paedophiles operating within the Internet for safer access to
children, child pornography and networking opportunities with other online predators. The goals
of this qualitative study are to undertake behavioural research – identify personality types and
archetypes of online predators and compare and contrast them with behavioural profiles and
other psychological research on offline paedophiles and sex offenders. It is also an endeavour to
gather intelligence on the technological utilisation of online predators and conduct observational
research on the social structures of online predator communities. These goals were achieved
through the covert monitoring and logging of public activity within four Internet Relay
Chat(rooms) (IRC) themed around child sexual abuse and which were located on the Undernet
network.

Five days of monitoring was conducted on these four chatrooms between Wednesday 1 to
Sunday 5 April 2009; this raw data was collated and analysed. The analysis identified four
personality types – the gentleman predator, the sadist, the businessman and the pretender – and
eight archetypes consisting of the groomers, dealers, negotiators, roleplayers, networkers, chat
requestors, posters and travellers. The characteristics and traits of these personality types and
archetypes, which were extracted from the literature dealing with offline paedophiles and sex
offenders, are detailed and contrasted against the online sexual predators identified within the
chatrooms, revealing many similarities and interesting differences particularly with the
businessman and pretender personality types. These personality types and archetypes were
illustrated by selecting users who displayed the appropriate characteristics and tracking them
through the four chatrooms, revealing intelligence data on the use of proxies servers – especially
via the Tor software – and other security strategies such as Undernet’s host masking service.
Name and age changes, which is used as a potential sexual grooming tactic was also revealed
through the use of Analyst’s Notebook software and information on ISP information revealed the
likelihood that many online predators were not using any safety mechanism and relying on the
anonymity of the Internet. The activities of these online predators were analysed, especially in
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regards to child sexual grooming and the ‘posting’ of child pornography, which revealed a few of
the methods in which online predators utilised new Internet technologies to sexually groom and
abuse children – using technologies such as instant messengers, webcams and microphones – as
well as store and disseminate illegal materials on image sharing websites and peer-to-peer
software such as Gigatribe. Analysis of the social structures of the chatrooms was also carried
out and the community functions and characteristics of each chatroom explored. The findings of
this research have indicated several opportunities for further research. As a result of this
research, recommendations are given on policy, prevention and response strategies with regards
to online predators.




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                                                                 Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction ............................................................................................................. 13 

    Defining Child Sexual Abuse .................................................................................................... 16 

       Abusers and Online Predators ............................................................................................... 18 

    Legal Aspects ............................................................................................................................ 19 

       Child Sexual Abuse and Offenders ....................................................................................... 20 

Chapter 2: Technology Used to Facilitate Child Sexual Abuse .............................................. 22 

    The Evolving Internet: Reimagining Old Technologies ........................................................... 22 

       Anonymity ............................................................................................................................. 23 

       Internet Relay Chat (IRC)...................................................................................................... 24 

       mIRC ..................................................................................................................................... 25 

       File servers and other add-on software .................................................................................. 25 

       File sharing software ............................................................................................................. 25 

       Image sharing ........................................................................................................................ 26 

          Transcript 1: Image Sharing of Child Pornography and Comments ................................ 26 

       Social networking .................................................................................................................. 26 

       Instant messengers ................................................................................................................. 26 

Chapter 3: Theory and Practice of Paedophilia in the Internet Age ..................................... 28 

    Child Sexual Abuse and Abusers .............................................................................................. 29 

       Integrated Theory .................................................................................................................. 29 

       Quadripartite Model .............................................................................................................. 30 

       Pre-condition Model .............................................................................................................. 30 

       Pathways Model .................................................................................................................... 30 

                                                                         4 

 
    Profiling Abusers....................................................................................................................... 31 

    Behavioural and Psychological Research ................................................................................. 32 

    Communication ......................................................................................................................... 40 

    Anonymity ................................................................................................................................. 41 

    Organised Abuse ....................................................................................................................... 41 

    Knowledge Gaps ....................................................................................................................... 42 

       Behavioural Analysis and Profiling....................................................................................... 42 

       Technological Utilisation ...................................................................................................... 42 

       Communication and Social Structure Analysis ..................................................................... 43 

    Previous Methods ...................................................................................................................... 43 

    The Need for Ongoing Primary Research ................................................................................. 45 

Chapter 4: Research Methods ................................................................................................... 47 

    Design........................................................................................................................................ 47 

    Data Collection Procedure ........................................................................................................ 48 

       Internet Relay Chat Environment .......................................................................................... 48 

           Table 1: Logged Chatrooms .............................................................................................. 49 

       Method of Collection ............................................................................................................. 51 

       Setting Up of Monitoring ...................................................................................................... 52 

           Figure 1: Virtual Private Network ..................................................................................... 53 

       Internet Relay Chat Communication ..................................................................................... 54 

           Screenshot 1: mIRC Setup Options .................................................................................... 57 

           Transcript 2: Exits, Entrances and IP/ISP Information .................................................... 58 

           Transcript 3: Conversation, Advertisement and Fserver .................................................. 58 

    Sampling.................................................................................................................................... 60 


                                                                          5 

 
          Figure 2: Example of Whois .............................................................................................. 60 

    Data Collation ........................................................................................................................... 61 

          Transcript 4: Patterns for Macro ...................................................................................... 62 

    Data Analysis ............................................................................................................................ 62 

       Behavioural Analysis ............................................................................................................. 63 

       Intelligence Analysis ............................................................................................................. 63 

       Social Analysis ...................................................................................................................... 64 

Chapter 5: Research Findings – Behavioural Analysis ........................................................... 66 

    Activity Levels .......................................................................................................................... 67 

    Social Structure ......................................................................................................................... 67 

       IRC-Kids................................................................................................................................ 67 

          Transcript 5: Posting Requests .......................................................................................... 67 

       IRC-Incest.............................................................................................................................. 68 

          Transcript 6: Unwelcome Advertisements in IRC-Incest................................................... 69 

          Transcript 7: Male Online Predator Activity within IRC-Incest ....................................... 69 

       IRC-Sadism ........................................................................................................................... 69 

          Transcript 8: Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism Terminology ....................... 70 

       IRC-Girl ................................................................................................................................. 70 

    Personality Types ...................................................................................................................... 71 

       The Gentleman Predator ........................................................................................................ 71 

          Transcript 9: The Gentleman Predator (Chat) .................................................................. 71 

          Transcript 10: The Gentleman Predator (Roleplay) ......................................................... 72 

          Transcript 11: The Gentleman Predator (as a Facade) .................................................... 73 

       The Sadist .............................................................................................................................. 73 


                                                                         6 

 
           Transcript 12: The Sadist .................................................................................................. 74 

           Transcript 13: The Sadist (Snuff Nicknames) ................................................................... 76 

       The Businessman ................................................................................................................... 77 

       The Pretender ......................................................................................................................... 77 

           Transcript 14: The Pretender ............................................................................................ 78 

    Beastiality .................................................................................................................................. 79 

           Transcript 15: Beastiality .................................................................................................. 79 

           Transcript 16: Beastiality (Child Pornography and Comments) ...................................... 80 

           Transcript 17: Beastiality (Zoosadism) ............................................................................. 81 

    Archetypes ................................................................................................................................. 82 

       Groomers ............................................................................................................................... 82 

           Transcript 18: Groomer..................................................................................................... 82 

           Transcript 19: Groomer (Age and Sex change) ................................................................. 83 

       Dealers ................................................................................................................................... 84 

           Transcript 20: Dealers....................................................................................................... 85 

           Transcript 21: Dealers (Revealing Deviation from Advertisement) .................................. 85 

           Transcript 22: Dealers (Nickname Changes) .................................................................... 86 

           Transcript 23: Dealers (The Businessman Personality Type) ........................................... 87 

       Negotiators............................................................................................................................. 88 

           Transcript 24: Negotiators ................................................................................................ 88 

           Transcript 25: Negotiators (Child Pornography Producers) ............................................ 89 

           Transcript 26: Negotiators (Tor Hostname) ...................................................................... 90 

       Roleplayers ............................................................................................................................ 90 

           Transcript 27: Roleplayers ................................................................................................ 91 


                                                                          7 

 
          Transcript 28: Roleplayers (Detailed Scenarios) .............................................................. 91 

          Transcript 29: Roleplayers (Unusual) ............................................................................... 92 

       Networkers............................................................................................................................. 93 

          Transcript 30: Networkers ................................................................................................. 94 

          Transcript 31: Networkers (Child Sexual Abuse) .............................................................. 95 

          Transcript 32: Networkers (Fantasies) .............................................................................. 96 

          Transcript 33: Networkers (Information) .......................................................................... 96 

          Transcript 34: Networkers (Advice) .................................................................................. 97 

       Chat Requestors ..................................................................................................................... 97 

          Transcript 35: Chat Requestors ......................................................................................... 98 

       Posters.................................................................................................................................... 99 

          Transcript 36: Posters ....................................................................................................... 99 

          Transcript 37: Posters (Community) ............................................................................... 100 

       Travellers ............................................................................................................................. 101 

          Transcript 38: Traveller .................................................................................................. 101 

Chapter 6: .................................................................................................................................. 103 

Research Findings – Intelligence Analysis .............................................................................. 103 

    Activity within Undernet ......................................................................................................... 103 

          Transcript 39: Evidence of Tor Proxies........................................................................... 103 

          Figure 3: Analyst’s Notebook – Graphical Depiction of Proxies.................................... 105 

          Figure 4: Analyst’s Notebook – Graphical Depiction of Age Change ............................ 106 

       Spam .................................................................................................................................... 106 

          Transcript 40: Spam ........................................................................................................ 106 

    Other Internet Technologies Utilised ...................................................................................... 107 


                                                                         8 

 
       Image Sharing ...................................................................................................................... 108 

       Trading of Child Pornography ............................................................................................. 109 

           Transcript 41: Fserver ..................................................................................................... 110 

           Transcript 42: Gigatribe Requests................................................................................... 110 

           Transcript 43: Flickr........................................................................................................ 111 

       Instant Messengers .............................................................................................................. 112 

           Transcript 44: Yahoo and MSN ....................................................................................... 112 

           Transcript 45: Grooming and Age/Sex Confirmation ..................................................... 113 

    Other Networks ....................................................................................................................... 114 

    Offline Intelligence ................................................................................................................. 115 

Chapter 7: Discussion ............................................................................................................... 117 

    Goals........................................................................................................................................ 117 

       Behavioural Goal ................................................................................................................. 117 

       Intelligence Goal.................................................................................................................. 121 

       Social Structures Goal ......................................................................................................... 122 

    Limitations .............................................................................................................................. 122 

    Implications ............................................................................................................................. 123 

       Society ................................................................................................................................. 123 

       Government ......................................................................................................................... 124 

Chapter 8: Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 126 

    Recommendations ................................................................................................................... 127 

       Education ............................................................................................................................. 127 

       Prevention ............................................................................................................................ 128 

       Response .............................................................................................................................. 129 


                                                                          9 

 
Appendix 1 ................................................................................................................................. 131 

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................. 132 




                                                                        
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                           Statement of Original Authorship 
                                                 

The work contained in this thesis has not been previously submitted to meet requirements for an
award at this or any other higher education institution. To the best of my knowledge and belief,
the thesis contains no material previously published or written by another person except where
due reference is made.




              Signature:___________________



              Date:     ___________________ 

 




                                                 
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                                     Acknowledgements



I would like to thank the following people and organisations:

Dr. Col Thorne, my supervisor, deserves significant thanks and credit for the entire process of
this research project and for being patient, tolerant and laid-back under pressure. Thanks also go
to Tara McGee for guidance on research and writing.

The Queensland University of Technology, particularly the School of Justice and the Information
Technology Services for support in conducting this research, which has been on my mind far
longer than when we started in 2007.

My friends – Michael Jillett and Ruben Francis in particular – for their support, tolerating my
absence and surviving my bad moods with good humour.

My colleagues in the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation for
their support and for the flexible work practices of the Queensland Public Service.

The Queensland Police Service, especially TaskForce ARGOS, and the Australian Federal Police
for supporting this project.

Benjamin Leavitt, who kindly provided technical assistance, support and patience from across
the world.

And special thanks to my girlfriend, Anja, for love, support and believing in me when I didn’t
believe in myself. I couldn’t have completed this without you.




This thesis and research is dedicated to the survivors of child sexual abuse.

 
Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.
                                                               Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 - 1881)


                                                  
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                                           Chapter 1:
                                          Introduction


    ““I just feel so damned lucky to be part of this outstanding group of paedophiles,” gushed
    Mara (online pseudonym “Tex”) after accessing some new content from the group’s
    pooled collection. He had a fetish for PTHC (pre-teen hardcore child porn) featuring
    girls and among his anonymous friends he had finally found acceptance. His sexual
    preference couldn’t be wrong, could it, if there were so many other people just like him?”

                                                                       Amanda Watt (2010, 19)



Child sexual abuse is a crime which is difficult to investigate, is under-reported and has become
more and more complex since the advent of new technologies, chief amongst which are the
Internet and ‘Web 2.0’ Internet technologies. The constantly evolving nature of the Internet, the
increasing technological prowess of each successive generation and the high-tech nature of crime
presents a new, almost impossibly large horizon for investigators and scholars alike. Policing the
Internet has become increasingly difficult as technology develops at a lightning pace—questions
of jurisdiction, national and international laws and increased anonymity and security has
complicated investigation of child sexual abuse, including child pornography.

This research paper will attempt to bridge some of the existing gaps in knowledge of online child
sexual abuse, specifically within in Internet Relay Chat(rooms) (IRC), through qualitative
primary research. The primary goal of this research is to monitor and identify potential
behavioural patterns of online predators to enable better profiling and achieve a more extensive
understanding of activities and patterns related to them. This goal will be achieved through the
analysis of logs of four child sexual abuse themed chatrooms from which broad personality types
will be extracted. These personality types will give context to the analysis of the activities – and
behaviours stemming from them – of selected ‘archetypal’ online predators—those with
similarities in activity and behaviour will be grouped and example users chosen for the analysis.
This analysis will be conducted against the existing knowledge of offline child sexual offenders.

                                                   
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Arising from this primary goal is the secondary goal of gathering intelligence on the internet
technologies currently adapted by online predators, particularly for the facilitation of content
crimes such as the trading of child pornography. The nature of the technologies available to
online predators and the manner in which they are utilised to form a ‘suite’ of methods to
network and offend naturally corresponds to behavioural patterns and activities. The specific
patterns of communication, the particular traditions and customs of each medium used by online
predators dictates the manner in which they behave and act, in the same manner as the real-time
communication on chatrooms such as the ones studied here will differ to communication in email
(longer time to reply and think), or communication in a message board (shorter time to reply as
the ‘thread’ of a conversation may keep going with input from other participants). The
capabilities and restrictions of each medium also influence behaviour and activity. This study
also demonstrates the value of such intelligence research to criminology and policing.

The third goal of this research is to critically observe the social structures of online chatrooms
dedicated to the proliferation of child abuse and related content crime. Understanding of these
social structures provide both researchers and investigators with a more profound insight into the
way online predators create the spaces in which they network, gain acceptance and offend—a
virtual world where paedophilia is accepted and illegal activities encouraged by other users.

It is important to note that certain practical time and structural constraints apply to the depth and
breadth of this research. It is not feasible, within these constraints, to attempt a totally
comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data gathered, as the sheer amount of
raw data available renders this almost impossible. The evolving nature of the Internet, as
discussed in Chapter 2, also becomes a constraint upon practical research—the technologies
utilised constantly change over time and the behaviours change to adapt to them. However, this
research – and the primary research model in particular – investigates the sphere of online
predators deeper than many such studies have been able to; future research within this area will
hopefully extend our understanding even further.

It is also important to note that this thesis deals with illegal activities and child sexual abuse
material, the full publication of which may be detrimental to victims and possible ongoing
investigations. Therefore the data, when reproduced here, will be de-identified whilst retaining
                                                    
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the content—for example, in a transcript of conversation around a link to child pornography, the
link and Nicknames of the participants will be de-identified while the conversation will be
replicated. These transcripts will also contain spelling and grammatical errors which were not
corrected to maintain the integrity of the data.

This thesis will consist of the following sections: -

Chapter 1 – defines the central concepts which are being studied through this research as well as
highlighting the three goals for analysing behavioural patterns through observation and
comparison to behavioural research of offline paedophiles, gathering intelligence on
technological utilisation and critically observing the social structures of the online chatrooms
studied;

Chapter 2 – provides an analysis of the Internet and review the technology utilised. The
evolution of the Internet into a dynamic online environment characterised by functional
integration is discussed in relation to criminal activity and the anonymity the Internet provides;

Chapter 3 – provides a literature review on child sexual abuse and the behavioural analysis
aspects of online and offline paedophilia. It will outline the current gaps in knowledge about the
behaviours and activities of online predators and create a theoretical framework from which the
behavioural analysis and profiling can be carried out;

Chapter 4 – provides an in-depth outline of the methodology used to achieve the goals of this
research and the restrictions placed by legislation and ethical considerations. The setup of the
monitoring will be discussed, as will the data gathering stage, data collation and data analysis;

Chapter 5 – presents the behavioural research findings of the analysis performed, including
personality types, archetypical profiles and social structures;

Chapter 6 – presents the intelligence research findings of the analysis performed, including
intelligence data on the example users of each archetype, on technological utilisation and other
networks being used by online predators;

Chapter 7 – provides a discussion of the results and findings of the collation and analysis process
of the logged data; and
                                                     
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Chapter 8 – highlights the recommendations on policy, prevention and response to online
predators and concludes this thesis.

To achieve these goals, definite boundaries must be established to practically limit the scope of
what is being researched. For this, the concepts relating to child sexual abuse – the central broad
focus of this research – must be defined and understood.




Defining Child Sexual Abuse

Within the field of psychology, Sigmund Freud first explored the effects of child sexual abuse on
the psychology of survivors in his seduction theory, which posited that repressed memories of
childhood sexual abuse were the cause of his patients’ mental health issues. Much research has
been conducted into child sexual abuse in contemporary times, with the 1970s and 1980s
marking a growing awareness of the reality of this issue (Haugaard 2000, 1036). Current
discourse still has no consensus on a single definition of child sexual abuse—the age of the
victim, the age of the offender, the nature of the act and the intent of offenders have been points
of contention amongst child sexual abuse researchers. This is further complicated by
jurisdictional issues; Australia’s age of consent for sex is 16 while the age of majority – when a
minor is considered an adult for legal purposes – of all States and Territories is 18 (Harrison
1992, para. 15) although there is no Commonwealth age of majority. Compounding this
imbalance between the age of majority and the age of consent, Queensland is the only State in
Australia where 17 year old offenders are treated as adults instead of juveniles (Glennie 2009,
para. 3-4).

The legal situation is complicated internationally as well. Prior to 2008, the age of consent in
Canada was 14 (CBC News 2008, para. 1-4); this is further complicated, however, by the legality
of ‘close in age’ laws which allows for 14 and 15 year olds to have sex with a partner less than 5
years older (CBC News 2008, para. 3). The disparity of the legal age of consent remains
throughout the world and in places such as Japan, the legal age can be as young as 13 (Interpol
2006, para. 6).


                                                   
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Fisher and Whiting identify that a broad range of behaviours, offenders and duration are included
in the concept of child sexual abuse:

    “First, the definition of sexual abuse includes a broad range of behaviors [sic], including
    exhibitionism, kissing, fondling, digital penetration, intercourse, oral or anal sex, and
    insertion of objects into the sex organs. Second, these acts can be perpetrated across a
    broad range of intrafamilial and extrafamilial relationships, including family members
    (fathers, mothers, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins), familiar adults (e.g., mother’s boyfriend,
    clergy, neighbor [sic], teacher), and strangers. Third, across these different abusive
    behaviors and relationships, there is considerable variability in the duration (e.g., months,
    years) and frequency (e.g., once, weekly) that a child may be victimized.” (1998, 162).

The notion of ‘harm’ must also be mentioned when discussing child sexual abuse. As Haugaard
(2000, 1036) observes, the term ‘abuse’ may contain connotations of the presence of harm—that
the sexual acts by the adult caused harm to the underage person in some way. While the acts
may be illegal under law, it can be argued that no actual harm was inflicted on the underage
person, either in the short-term or the long-term. However, it must also be noted that any
negative effects of childhood or adolescent sexual activity may not be readily apparent or even
admitted to due to the nature of, and stigma attached to, sexual abuse.

From an online perspective, child sexual abuse conducted over the Internet makes this even more
variable. Sexual grooming of underage Internet users, for example, can involve explicit
communication (O’Connell 2003, 9-10), exposing the underage user to adult or illegal content
(O’Connell 2003, 11) and psychological manipulation (Craven, Brown and Gilchrist 2006, 295-
296; O’Connell 2003, 8-10). Sexual activity with an underage user which does not involve
grooming can be composed of – amongst many other methods – explicit conversation, fantasy-
enactment (sexual roleplay), the use of webcams for sexual contact, the use of audio chat for
explicit conversation or sexual roleplay and the sharing of adult or illegal content such as
pornographic images, videos or written material.




                                                    
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Abusers and Online Predators

It is common to come across the term ‘paedophile’ representing all of a heterogeneous group
who have a sexual interest in males or females under the legal age of consent. This can be
found, for example, in the child sexual grooming literature where scholars have attempted to
define child sexual grooming as:

    “A course of conduct enacted by a suspected paedophile [sic], which would give a
    reasonable person cause for concern that any meeting with a child arising from the conduct
    would be for unlawful purposes.” (O’Connell 2003, 6).

This is extracted from a White Paper released by the United Kingdom Government on
strengthening laws against online child sexual grooming. Another example can be found in
Howitt:

    “Grooming... is the steps taken by paedophiles to “entrap” their victims and is in some
    ways analogous to adult courtship.” (1995, 176).

Paedophilia, as Craven, Brown and Gilchrist (2006, 288) point out, is a clinical diagnosis for one
specific paraphilia within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR),
the diagnostic tool for mental illness used in psychiatry around the world. The DSM-IV-TR
defines paedophilia as:

    “...[a focus on] sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally aged 13 years or
    younger). The individual with Pedophilia [sic] must be age 16 years or older and at least 5
    years older than the child.” (American Psychiatric Association 2000, 571).

Clearly, this definition will not cover sexual abuse against an adolescent between 14-17 years of
age. The terms ‘hebephilia’, which is a sexual preference for pubescent children; ‘ephebophilia’,
which is a sexual preference for those in late adolescence and ‘infantophilia’, which is a sexual
preference for infants, can also be used to describe those with a sexual interest in individuals
under the age of legal consent (Hall and Hall 2007, 458).

There is also the difference between a person with a sexual preference for underage individuals
and a person who offends, or acts on this preference. Paedophiles are not always abusers or
                                                   
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molesters and in Australia, at least, it is not illegal to be a non-offending paedophile (within the
psychiatric definition without committing illegal acts), while it is illegal to be an abuser
(committing an act of child sexual abuse). While paedophilia, hebephilia, ephebophilia and
infantophilia is morally frowned upon by society and seen as a mental illness in psychology, as
testament by its inclusion in the DSM-IV-TR, it can be considered unfair, misleading and
inaccurate to group those with a sexual preference for individuals below the legal age of consent
with those who actively offend.

These issues of definition and terminology can cause problems to arise from one profession to
another—the treatment of victims and offenders, for example, may use one definition of child
sexual abuse and abusers while policing agencies and the legal system may use another. The
lack of a cohesive definition may lead to injustice – an adult having a sexual relationship with a
16 year old is legal in Australia while a relationship with a 15 year old who is one month shy of
16 is not – and may also lead to both abusers and victims not receiving necessary treatment
(Haugaard 2000, 1036-1037).

While this presents a problem from a professional perspective, Haugaard does suggest a strategy
to “...allow the definition of the term child sexual abuse to vary across contexts, for example, to
use a narrower definition in research contexts and a broader definition in child protection or
clinical contexts” (2000, 1038). This strategy is the most adaptable to the research presented
here and therefore, working definitions and terminology must be determined.




Legal Aspects

This research will concentrate on profiling and analysing the online predators active within
selected IRC chatrooms. As such, paedophiles, hebephiles, ephebophiles and infantophiles who
do not offend do not have a bearing on this area as it may be argued that being present in a pro-
child sexual abuse chatroom is indicative of being open to offending. The Commonwealth
Criminal Code Act 1995 criminalises using a carriage service (such as the Internet) for child
abuse material (s474.22) and child pornography (s474.19); as the chatrooms studied in this


                                                   
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research contain child abuse material and child pornography, the legality of even being present in
a child sexual abuse-related chatroom can be called into question.

For the purposes of this research, a definitional model based mostly on Australian legislation will
be utilised. While Commonwealth legislation does not contain an age of consent (Interpol 2005,
para. 6), the general age of consent in State and Territory legislation is 16; while there are pros
and cons to this age, the age of majority – 18 – will be used as a universal age of consent for the
purposes of simplification. The Queensland Criminal Code Act 1899 sets out sexual offences
against children in sections 208, 210, 213, 215, 217, 218A (which sets out the provisions
criminalising electronic communication to procure children for sexual purposes) and 219. While
the strict interpretation of these laws will not be followed – for example, once a person reaches
the age of 16 they are free to have sexual relations with any other person over 16 – they will
form a rough framework with which to distinguish illegal from legal acts.

Child Sexual Abuse and Offenders

This study will define child sexual abuse as an adult or person older than five years of the
victim’s age conducting activities with the intention of sexually interacting with an individual
below the age of 18. This definition includes grooming activities and forming non-sexual
friendships or relationships with the goal of sexual interaction at some stage, as well as sexual
exploitation of underage individuals, for example in the production and dissemination of child
pornography.

Adults or persons older than five years of the victim’s age who conduct activities with the
intention of sexually interacting with an individual below the age of 18 will be defined by the
term ‘abuser’. The term ‘online predator’ is defined as anyone, including abusers, who are
involved with these activities—for example through trading child pornography or actively
encouraging child sexual abuse through networking with other online predators. Those with a
sexual preference for underage individuals who do not offend will be referred to by the correct
terms found in the DSM-IV-TR or modern usage. However, for ease of understanding,
paraphilias such as hebephilia and infantophilia will be referred to as ‘paedophilia’.



                                                   
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To comprehend the extent of activities by online predators in IRC chatrooms, the Internet as a
whole and related technology must be examined.




                                                 
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                                    Chapter 2:
                  Technology Used to Facilitate Child Sexual Abuse



The Internet has revolutionised human communication. The rapid growth of the Internet from
connecting disparate local area networks to the global, multi-layered communications medium it
is now has impacted on almost every aspect of human existence. The Internet has spawned
online cultures, traditions and institutions which have the unique quality of being non-localised
in any geographical sense, yet retaining a ‘global localisation’ within separate software,
protocols and individual websites.

As with any communication medium, users have learned to utilise the Internet for criminal
purposes. The Internet has evolved from simple text-based websites to complex platforms from
which users can access a myriad of Internet technologies, enabling users to collaborate and
network to form communities in order to carry out illegal activities such as child sexual abuse.
This evolution of the Internet has allowed online predators easy access to underage users, child
pornography and encouragement, acceptance and knowledge through networking with other
online predators. To understand online child sexual abuse, the evolution and nature of the
Internet and the technologies that have been created within it will be addressed.




The Evolving Internet: Reimagining Old Technologies

The field of online child sexual crimes is vast and almost immeasurable since the
commercialisation and popularisation of international networks during the 1990s, moving from
the military and universities to the public domain. In this day and age, massive amounts of data
moves almost instantaneously from one end of the world to the other and the capacity of Internet
Service Providers (ISP) to provide high-speed connections of up to forty gigabits per second –
the equivalent of five thousand Megabytes per second or roughly the size of one standard DVD
(The Local 2007) – means that the online world is constantly evolving and updating.



                                                  
                                                22

 
This is especially true with the advent of the ‘Web 2.0’ concept. Simply put, Web 2.0 denotes
the evolution of Internet technologies from static content such as Hyper Text Markup Language
(HTML) files – websites with text and images which can only be changed by the owner of the
website – to dynamic, user-contributed and constantly changing content, where documents and
content may be changed or inserted by any user. Content Management Systems (CMS),
integrated functions and a greater ease-of-use has resulted in complex social networking
platforms such as Twitter (Twitter.com 2009), Facebook (Facebook.com 2009) and Myspace
(Myspace.com 2009), media-rich Internet applications such as Youtube (Youtube.com 2009) and
safe, secure software and processes to share files and other content. These larger content-
delivery systems are made possible by the advent of broadband in most developed countries,
enabling users to connect to the Internet at much greater speed than ever before.

The basic technologies behind most advanced Web 2.0 concepts are older—for example, the
technology behind MySpace has existed separately for years. MySpace merely integrated and
built upon blogs, forums, guestbooks and chatrooms. The basic protocol behind IRC has not
changed since its creation; however the abilities of IRC clients such as mIRC (mirc.com 2009)
have enhanced the basic protocol to allow for added functionality and integration with external
software and websites. Along with other Web 2.0 applications, mIRC is ideally suited to the
dissemination of child sexual abuse content. The mIRC software itself, file servers and other
add-on software, file sharing software, image sharing, social networking, anonymity services and
instant messengers form an easily-integrated system which online predators can utilise to carry
out their activities with a higher degree of anonymity and safety than ever before.

Anonymity

Using Tor (torproject.org 2009) or other ‘proxy’ software, users can now anonymously access
web services such as IRC with a higher degree of ease and security. A ‘proxy server’ is a
computer at another geographical location which incoming and outgoing internet traffic is routed
through; therefore any analysis of a user’s server will only reveal the proxy server’s details.
Proxies are created with differing anonymity levels; the lowest level is known as ‘transparent’
proxies, which simply routes traffic through another server but does not mask the user’s Internet
Protocol (IP) address (a numerical identification number which identifies individual computers
                                                   
                                                 23

 
or other devices on a network such as the Internet; see Chapter 4, pages 55-56 for more
information), and the highest level provides complete anonymity so only the proxy server’s IP
address is displayed.

The Tor program overrides the necessity of searching for functioning proxy servers, checking
anonymity and attempting to use each server through IRC, as IRC networks may prohibit access
by certain proxies due to abuses in the past. This process – perhaps with the exception of a
thorough anonymity check – is fully automated through Tor, which has its own network of
already-established global proxy servers.

As evidenced within this research project, analysis of selected IP addresses indicated that some
particular user names were linked to about five to ten IP addresses (see Chapter 6).

Anonymity services such as Tor and Freenet (freenetproject.org 2009) can also be used in
conjunction with IRC to provide a safer alternative to accessing child sexual abuse content. Both
services can be used to create anonymous forums, newsgroups and websites to allow for online
predators to network and share information as well as encourage sexual abuse. These services
can be conceptualised as a ‘parallel’ Internet and while using the same basic protocols (e.g.
HTTP and FTP), have differing formats for links and addresses. Since the services – and each
file – are decentralised and distributed through multiple servers all over the world, as well as
being cryptographically secured, it is difficult for policing agencies to track specific users.
However, a Japanese policing agency successfully prosecuted two offenders who were involved
in the illegal distribution of copyrighted music and movies on software based on Freenet (Knight
2003, para. 1-9). Whilst the software was only based on Freenet, this suggests that flaws may be
available in any service which enables detection.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

IRC was originally developed by Jarkko Oikarinen and established in Finland (Vonck 2009,
para. 3). Now spanning over 60 countries, the IRC protocol allows users to chat and interact
with each other in virtually unlimited chatrooms (channels) across many servers grouped into a
multitude of networks. Each server in a network updates changes in chatrooms simultaneously
across the other servers of that network; Undernet, the network hosting the chatrooms researched
                                                    
                                                  24

 
here, is one such network. IRC is accessible through clients such as mIRC, which provides the
user-interface to the chosen network and server which the user logs on to.

mIRC

The mIRC application (mirc.com 2009) itself is able to provide and simplify access to IRC
networks and Direct Computer Connection transfer of files. It is one of the oldest client software
products for accessing IRC networks and can be downloaded and used freely, with the added
benefit of being easily modified by third-party scripts and add-on software, such as file servers.

File servers and other add-on software

The mIRC application is designed to be capable of minor and major modifications. This allows
third-party software designers and programmers who create scripts (programming instructions to
carry out certain functions) to add on to the default functions of mIRC. File server scripts
(fservers) such as ‘Panzer’ (arnts.tripod.com 2004) and ‘SphooServer’ (sphoo.com n.d.) are able
to create ‘virtual’ File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers using folders on a user’s computer to
distribute files en masse through an integrated script. This allows for an automated file-sharing
service which takes into account what the user of that service has shared in turn (uploads) to
allow access to downloads. For example, if a user uploads an image, the user may be able to
download 2 images in return, or if a user uploads a file of 500 kilobytes, the user is allowed to
download up to that size (for example, two files of 250 kilobytes).

File sharing software

File sharing software such as Gigatribe (Gigatribe.com 2009), Bittorrent (Bittorrent.com 2009)
and Flikr (Flikr.com 2009) allows for easy sharing of a user’s media collection (such as pictures
and movies). Although these services are not necessarily anonymous, the sheer number of users
would prove almost impossible to adequately monitor for illegal content and therefore provide a
certain amount of security, in much the same way as certain social networking platforms have
too many users to adequately monitor for violations of rules (Jayawardena and Broadhurst 2007,
242).



                                                   
                                                 25

 
Image sharing

Image sharing services such as imgsrc.ru, picpaste.com and imagebam.com allows for the
temporary upload of images to share freely with others in a chatroom, or share privately in a
private chat. The analysis of the content of the IRC chatrooms monitored in this study reveals
semi-regular placing of these links, a phenomenon referred to as ‘posting’, and the comments
which follow can infer the sexual nature of the images:

Transcript 1: Image Sharing of Child Pornography and Comments

      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [12:02] <Lust4StpDtr> imagine you......
      http://www.resizo.com/assets/uploads/CODE/4/filename.gif
      [12:02] <FkHrHd> nice little slit
      [12:02] <hrnyunc4rp> mmmmmmmm
      [12:02] <witetop> nice ive not seen that one lol



Social networking

Although not examined directly here, in the context of this research social networking platforms
such as MySpace and Facebook can be used to trace and gather information on underage users,
as well as become a source for images and other media. Social networking platforms being
utilised by online predators to groom children, gather private information or revealing images of
underage users is a field of research in itself. Initial, exploratory research has been conducted by
Jayawardena and Broadhurst (2007) but further research is needed in this field.

Instant messengers

Instant messengers such as Windows Live Messenger (download.live.com/messenger 2009) are
software which allows users to chat in real-time (as in a chatroom) but with only one other
person, although ‘group chat’ is now possible. This software has evolved from simply providing
one-one chat to now allowing integrated webcam, microphone and online gaming support as
well as being connected with wider social networking platforms. Instant messengers provide


                                                   
                                                 26

 
online predators with a way of communicating more privately and securely with users they
believe are underage, as well as through live streaming video and audio.

Each Web 2.0 Internet technology is thus linked in some way, enhancing the suite of online
functions available to online predators in their activities. It is, however, impossible within the
constraints of this research paper to thoroughly study every area of the Internet as each area will
have its own intricacies and potentially its own specific behaviours and language added to
general ones. Instead, online predators operating within the Undernet network of IRC will be the
focus of this research.




                                                   
                                                 27

 
                                           Chapter 3:
          Theory and Practice of Paedophilia in the Internet Age


The study of online predators and the online environments which support them has been ad hoc
at best. In recent times the media and other ‘non-scholarly’ outlets for social commentary has
directed public attention to the dangers of ‘online predators’—child sexual abusers who operate
online, both as a means to an end (abuse in real life) or as an end in itself (online child abuse
through internet technologies or content crime such as the trading of child pornography).
Television current-affairs programs such as Dateline NBC’s (2009) To Catch a Predator series,
which featured a civilian volunteer organisation luring online predators to a house in suburbia to
be arrested by police, and news-media attention on police stings such as Operation Centurion
(Allard 2008), as well as the Australian Government’s plan for Cyber-safety (Conroy 2007, 1-8),
has brought internet paedophilia sharply into the public focus.

While there has been plenty of media focus on this area, the majority of research describes only
the extent and nature of online child abuse. The effects on victims and the behavioural patterns
of online predators, especially primary research about the environments in which they operate, is
conspicuously absent. The ‘operational’ aspects of investigating internet paedophiles have
largely been avoided as a legitimate and valuable area of criminological study. Research on
methodology, technological utilisation, behavioural patterns and the social framework of online
communities dedicated to paedophilia is still vastly lacking, although a small number of
groundbreaking studies – such as O’Connell (2003), Jayawardena and Broadhurst (2007) and
Krone’s (2005) research – have provided much-needed discourse within the field.

As mentioned, this study will concentrate on the behavioural analysis of online predators within
the context of the environment in which they operate. The following will detail the research
already conducted into the technical and behavioural aspects of Internet paedophilia, highlighting
the current gap in knowledge which this study will seek to bridge. Due to the scarcity of such
research conducted within this area, this study will utilise the theory and behavioural literature
for offline paedophiles to the online environment.

                                                   
                                                 28

 
Child Sexual Abuse and Abusers

Behavioural research into offline paedophilia has been vast, concentrating on both offenders and
victims. From Freud’s initial belief in repressed memories of child sexual abuse in his patients
(Spanos and Carleton 1996, 69-76) to the sociological and modern psychological theories of
learned behaviours, environmental influences and psychological conditions, researchers and
professionals have attempted to understand the phenomenon of child sexual abuse. Offenders
have been profiled extensively for the purposes of prevention, investigation, potential treatment
and management.

The definitions used in child abuse discourse become even more important when approaching
the subject from a psychological perspective; as mentioned in Chapter 1, Craven, Brown and
Gilchrist (2006) warn of using the term ‘paedophile’ – a word with specific psychological
meaning – in defining sexual grooming of children. The more general term ‘abuser’ is suggested
and four theories on motivations for abuse are discussed (Craven, Brown and Gilchrist 2006,
288-291). These include the Integrated Theory, the Quadripartite Model, the Pre-condition
Model and the Pathways Model.

Integrated Theory

Integrated Theory explains paedophilia as a result of adverse early developmental experience
which leaves the paedophile unable to cope with maturing and the hormone surge during
puberty. The abuser’s sex and aggression drives, which share the same part of the brain, are
fused together and as a result, the paedophile’s sexuality is deviant. The authors explain the lack
of apparent aggression in child sexual grooming – and presumably the ‘gentleman paedophile’
type highlighted later in this thesis – with indirect aggression inherent in the act of sexually
preying on a child. (Craven, Brown and Gilchrist 2006, 289-290).

Craven and others point out that due to this ‘retardation’ of the brain, the abuser cannot
understand the emotional world (2006, 289), which is presumably empathy—however it might
be more accurate to describe it as a detachment from the emotional world, as sexual grooming
suggests at least a basic understanding of a victim’s psyche and emotions. Therefore, while an
                                                    
                                                  29

 
abuser might experience empathy to enable him/her to manipulate the victim, he or she is
essentially detached from fully experiencing the victim’s pain and sympathising with it. Hence,
according to the Integrated Theory, the indirect aggression is in manipulating a child to satisfy
the paedophile’s sexual deviancy.

Quadripartite Model

The Quadripartite Model explains child sexual abuse as resulting from four vulnerability factors
within the abuser’s personality and the presence of opportunity. The four vulnerability factors
are “...physiological sexual arousal, distorted cognitions that act to justify sexual aggression,
affective dyscontrol, and personality problems.” (Craven, Brown and Gilchrist 2006, 290). One
or all of these vulnerability factors may cross a threshold coinciding with an opportunity and the
abuser will offend; however, Craven, Brown and Gilchrist (2006) point out that this does not
explain sexual grooming which continues for a long period of time, why the offences are against
a child as opposed to an adult and why offenders often create their own opportunities to offend.


Pre-condition Model

The Pre-condition Model explains child sexual abuse as occurring when four pre-conditions,
both internal to the abuser’s psyche and external within the situation and victim, are met. These
Pre-conditions include motivation, deviant sexual arousal and blockage (when the sexual needs
of the offender cannot be met by an adult) and overcoming the child’s resistance (through
grooming or force). The abuser’s own inhibition must also be overcome, which may be a
function of paedophile communities, the influence of peers and group dynamics such as those
researched here (Craven, Brown & Gilchrist 2006).

Pathways Model

The last motivational model proposed is the Pathways Model. This model explains paedophilia
and abusing as a “dysfunction of one or more psychological mechanisms—emotional regulation,
intimacy deficits, cognitive distortions and sexual arousal (deviant sexual scripts).” (Craven,
Brown and Gilchrist 2006, 290). One of the dysfunctional mechanisms is dominant and these


                                                   
                                                 30

 
dysfunctions, when coupled with a sexual need, will result in a sexual offence—taking into
account the presence of opportunity.




Profiling Abusers

Many derivatives and deviations exist within what is generally known about the psychological
profile of child sexual abusers. As mentioned in Chapter 1, there are broad derivatives such as
hebephilia – a sexual interest in pubescent children, and infantophilia – a sexual interest in
children below the age of five (Hall and Hall 2007, 458). Certain characteristics exist within
these groups, for example hebephiles tend to prefer reciprocal sexual relationships (Hall and Hall
2007, 458) and infantophilia usually does not involve penetration (Murray 2000, 45).

Murray provides a good summary of a more general profile of paedophiles and child molesters:

    “Pedophiles [sic] and child molesters share some characteristics. Most are male, and they
    can be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Some prefer adult sex partners but choose
    children because they are available and vulnerable. The sexual abuse perpetrated may be a
    1-time incident and may consist only of fondling. Penetration is unlikely with young
    children. Perpetrators' ages range from teens to midlife. Most victims are girls, and the
    perpetrator usually is a relative, friend, or neighbor [sic]. The home of the victim is often
    the setting for the incident. When boys are victims, sexual abuse may take place outside
    the home, and perpetrators may be strangers. Perpetrators of sexual abuse of children often
    claim that they themselves were victims of childhood sexual abuse. Psychological profiles
    are helpful but are compromised partly because many perpetrators are prisoners and control
    groups are lacking for this research.” (2000, 1).

One of the main aims of this research is to identify psychological archetypes in online predators
and Murray’s (2000) study is able to act as a point of comparison. With the rapid advent of
Internet technologies, the progression of paedophilia into the online sphere is almost inevitable;
the question which must be asked is whether the psychological profile of paedophiles changes
when they move into, or start from, the Internet. Do the vast networks of online predators
encourage formerly ‘hidden’ paedophiles to further their interest into deviancy, perhaps even
                                                    
                                                  31

 
pursue more and more extreme forms of child sexual abuse? Does the free, easy and anonymous
access to child pornography provided by online services such as IRC, Tor and Freenet also
encourage and exacerbate such deviancy? The research already conducted on the characteristics
of online predators must be examined to answer these questions and identify the gaps in current
knowledge.




Behavioural and Psychological Research

Various primary and secondary research in the field of online paedophilia has explored the
behaviours of online predators in varying degrees and from various perspectives. Most of the
available literature, such as Jayawardena and Broadhurst (2007), Craven, Brown and Gilchrist
(2006) and O’Connell (2003), study the child sexual solicitation and grooming behaviours of
online predators. O’Connell’s (2003) study in particular explored in detail the grooming
processes of online predators and their use of internet technologies to groom children within
chatrooms, demonstrating through transcripts the language and behaviours of various types of
online predators. O’Connell (2003, 8-10) sets out the stages of the grooming process, from the
‘friendship forming stage’ to the ‘sexual stage’. The initial ‘friendship forming stage’ includes
requests for personal photographs from the child and O’Connell (2003, 8) suggests this is also a
vetting process to ascertain whether the child is real and matches the predator’s “particular
predilections”. Based on this and the research of Jayawardena and Broadhurst (2007) and
Krone’s (2005) observational study of police investigations into online predators, it raises an
interesting question whether it is possible to falsely ‘prove’ an investigator is a child without the
use of photographs. O’Connell’s practical and detailed exploration of grooming provides a rare
and valuable insight into the activities of online predators, moving away from the purely
theoretical and conceptual profiling within the majority of the available literature, on not only
online predators but paedophilia in general.

The results of Krone’s (2005) study are quite informative on the ultimate goals of online
predators—“in 68 per cent of the cases [that the Queensland Police Service investigated] the
adult sought offline contact with the child.” (2005, 1). Krone stresses that the methods utilised

                                                   
                                                 32

 
by online predators were “...committed and aggressive in their online pursuit of sexual
interactions with girls less than 16 years of age.” (2005, 5). While this is certainly of great
concern, it must also be seen as a weakness to be exploited within the personalities of online
predators—their committed and aggressive desire for sexual contact may mean that with the
minimum of detail, a predator may be convinced that he or she is speaking with an underage
target. Depending on the level of social awareness and sophistication displayed by the predator,
it may be possible to convince him or her of this without resorting to a personal photograph or
using child, preteen or teenage speech patterns.

The four causal theories of child sexual abuse mentioned previously rely heavily on
psychological disorders of various qualities and opportunity coupled with the psychological will
to overcome inhibitions. While the scope of this research does not allow for an in-depth study
into online child sexual grooming, it is important to keep these theories – and O’Connell’s
(2003) findings – in mind as limited observations may be made into child sexual solicitation
within the public discussions of IRC chatrooms.

Lowenstein (2005) has also conducted similar research and provides an excellent summary and
analysis of the psychological and behavioural issues relating to the downloading of child
pornography and attempts to address the question of whether downloading these illegal materials
necessarily leads directly to the abuse of children. This is a highly relevant issue within the
scope of this research as content crimes relating to child abuse constitute a substantial part of the
interactions of online predators in IRC. This research somewhat bridges the gap in current
knowledge outlined in Quayle and Taylor’s (2002) research, which bases its discourse on
interviews conducted with nine social workers and probation officers who reported uncertainty
as to the function the internet plays in paedophilia. This lack of knowledge by professionals who
work with abusers leads to uncertain policy on paedophile internet-use, which could undermine
any potential rehabilitation, treatment or risk management. Lowenstein concludes:

    “The research on the effect of the downloading of child pornography suggests that while
    it leads to, or is associated with the sexual abuse of children in some cases, this is not
    always the case. Some such downloading may in fact act as a substitute for actual
    sexual abuse of children. At other times, it may result in a type of catharsis. Hence,
                                                     
                                                   33

 
    instead of stimulating fantasies or practices, it releases emotional tensions associated
    with such needs and takes on a therapeutic role preventing the sexual abuse of children.
    Abuse does not necessarily follow.” (2005, 51).

Even if abuse does not necessarily follow, it is beyond doubt that child pornography is used as a
tool to sexually groom children. As O’Connell points out:

    “...the easy accessibility of child pornography affords an adult or adolescent with a
    sexual interest in children the opportunity to expose a victim to child pornography as a
    means to lower inhibitions. Furthermore, an adult with a sexual interest in children may
    use that exposure as a means to coerce the child into keeping the activities secret by
    threatening to tell the child’s parents that he/she has viewed pornography.” (2003, 4).

Viewing child pornography creates a market for such images and videos; however the question
of whether it leads to direct child sexual abuse is difficult to determine. The other questions
related to this – whether the viewing of child pornography leads to more extreme sexual
deviancy and whether viewing child pornography exacerbates ongoing child sexual abuse – also
need to be explored. These questions can be answered to a certain extent by the research
conducted here; at the very least, the role child pornography plays in online child sexual abuse
communities such as those on IRC may be further explored. However, more in-depth research is
needed, perhaps with the cooperation and involvement of policing agencies, to fully study this
phenomenon.

Of course, to cater for child pornography consumers there will be child victims. It is common to
think of this in terms of the international trade in child pornography—victims filmed overseas,
for example. However, the introduction of digital cameras, webcams and mobile phone cameras
has made the production of child pornography simpler and safer for the producers. A recent
example of this was the case of Vanessa George, a nursery worker in the United Kingdom, who
photographed her 15 year old daughter in a revealing – though non-sexual – moment and
distributed the images to a website frequented by online predators (Hendry and Basnett 2009,
para. 1-11). The offender also networked with two other offenders on Facebook and sent them



                                                  
                                                34

 
mobile phone images of the sexual abuse of children under her care (Hendry and Basnett 2009,
para. 10).

The other dimension to child pornography is the victim-created pornography, images and video
which children create either through sexual grooming or voluntarily (and distributed out by
accident). An example of this can be found in the investigative reporting of Eichenwald (2005),
who made contact with and helped an 18 year old man who used a webcam to conduct live
‘strip-shows’ online at the age of 13, progressing onto more obscene material including sexual
acts with prostitutes. He was groomed and encouraged by online predators who paid for webcam
sessions through the online payment portal PayPal (Paypal.com 2010) or bought gifts through the
‘wish-list’ function in online stores such as Amazon (Amazon.com 2010). A child creating child
pornography places them in the role of victim and offender—becoming a producer and
distributor of child pornography whilst being exploited for this very purpose (O’Connell 2003,
4). This was an issue faced by the victim in Eichenwald’s report, although prosecutors
eventually granted him immunity in return for providing evidence (2005, para. 113). The
phenomenon of victim-created child pornography and the legal issues surrounding it would also
benefit from further study.

The solution to the lack of wider psychological and behavioural profiling of online predators is
to compare and contrast existing profiling research on offline abusers with the activities and
behaviours of online predators. One of two seminal research papers into the psychological
profiling of paedophiles is Murray (2000) which compares and contrasts the available
psychological profiling of paedophiles (those who have paedophilic sexuality but do not
necessarily act on them) and child molesters (those who act on paedophilic sexuality or other
motivations to abuse children). Murray identifies the following problem in the psychological
profiling of paedophiles:

    “A psychological profile of paedophilia and child molesting must be drawn cautiously,
    partly because the quality of the data is compromised by definitional and methodological
    problems. Limitations begin with the small number of subjects and the fact that very
    often the subjects are prisoners charged with or convicted of sexual crimes. Control


                                                  
                                                35

 
    groups sometimes also are prisoners. Sometimes no control groups are included in the
    studies.” (2000, 37).

The limitation of a sample group composed of prisoners recurs often in research on paedophiles,
and is a recognised limitation in the quantitative psychological research of Johnston, French,
Schouweiler and Johnston’s 1992 study. The Johnston et al research utilises psychological
testing and response measurement to explore the often-reported (and self-reported) perception of
naiveté in paedophile psychology in the form of yearning for “simple non- or pre-ambivalent
relationships; that is, a world in which “roses have no thorns.” (Johnston, et al 1992, 621). This
theory is similar to the Integrated Theory addressed previously (Craven, Brown and Gilchrist
2006, 289-290) and postulates a lack of being able to cope with sexual and psychological
maturity combined with opportunity and the (perceived) suitable non-judging, immature
personality of children. Interestingly, the research concludes that the longing for non- or pre-
ambivalent relationships observed in and by paedophiles “may have been seen as deriving not
from the blind trust implied by naiveté, but from the distrust associated with exploitive
relationships.” (Johnston et al 1992, 626).

The second seminal paper addressing the profiling of paedophiles is Hall and Hall (2007). This
research is a thorough exploration of paedophilia, discussing categories, characteristics,
behaviours and general psychology of paedophiles, also taking into account online predators:

    “Individuals engaging in computer-based pedophilia [sic] are generally classified into 5
    categories: (1) the stalkers, who try to gain physical access to children; (2) the cruisers,
    who use the Internet for direct reciprocated sexual pleasure without physical contact (eg,
    chat rooms); (3) the masturbators, who use the Internet for more passive gratification
    (viewing child pornography); (4) the networkers or swappers, who communicate with
    other pedophiles [sic] and trade information, pornography, and children; and (5) a
    combination of the previous 4 types.” (2007, 460).

These broad classifications can be combined with the data gathered by monitoring IRC
chatrooms and extrapolated into an intelligence product for online policing as well as a source of
primary criminological study.

                                                    
                                                  36

 
It is also interesting to compare and contrast the behavioural profiles of rapists to the profiles of
online predators identified through this research. In this regard, McCabe and Wauchope’s 2005
work on the behavioural characteristics of rapists constitutes a valuable resource for this study as
the verbal communications of rapists to their victims is discussed and categorised. Four themes
are identified by McCabe and Wauchope—the caring, persuasive, reassuring; the sexually
abusive and use of explicit language; the angry, demeaning or threatening and the revenge,
payback theme (2005, 240-241). These four themes are comparable to the excellent summation
of Holmes and Holmes (2002) and Ressler, Burgess and Douglas’ (2004) work on the profiling
of rapists presented at http://www1.csbsju.edu/uspp/CrimPsych/CPSG-5.htm (csbsju.edu 2010).
The only issue with this work is that it refers to, or only studies, the male rapist—while data is
lacking on female rapists, it would be of considerable interest for future researchers to study
whether these profiles also fit female offenders.

The ‘caring, persuasive, reassuring’ theme included words which communicates a false empathy
and compassion (false since the act itself remains hurtful) about the victim. Some rapists
apologise and even attempt what they perceive as harm minimisation, as evidenced in the
examples of communications McCabe and Wauchope provide:

    “‘I won’t hurt you, I just want sex.’

    ‘I want you to enjoy this, I’m sorry, I want anal sex, grab the lubricant because I don’t
    want to hurt you too much.’

    ‘I’m sorry I don’t know why but I had to do this, tell me if I hurt you but do as I say
    because if you don’t it might hurt.’

    ‘If you cooperate I will be your boyfriend, you are beautiful.’” (2005, 240).

This is the most common theme found in McCabe and Wauchope’s (2005, 240) research, with
25% of 130 offenders sharing this theme. This theme is what csbsju (2010, para. 1-11) terms
‘power reassurance’ rapists, or ‘the gentleman, opportunity or compensatory’ rapist. This rapist
is characterised by insecurity, inadequacy, social awkwardness—the act of rape is an attempt to
restore confidence, especially from a sexual perspective. This type of rapist often believes –

                                                    
                                                  37

 
whether as a form of neutralisation or actual belief – that the forced sexual acts were pleasurable
to the victim.

The sexually abusive and use of explicit language theme included offenders who were abusive,
demanding and used explicit language—something perhaps online predators would feel more at
ease acting out with the dis-inhibition effect of the Internet, even if they would not do so in
offline offending. Communications typical of offenders in this theme are:

    “‘I want you on top, play with yourself.’

    ‘I can give you the wildest sex of your life.’

    ‘You have sex written all over your face.’” (McCabe and Wauchope 2005, 240)

This theme was identified as the second most-common theme in the population studied, with
24% of offenders having similar characteristics. Csbsju (2010, 12-21) describes this type of
rapist as ‘power-assertive’, a “...rapist who rapes because he is a man and entitled to” (csbsju
2010, 12). Contrasting with the gentleman rapist, the power-assertive rapist does not desire
interaction with the victim—his or her pleasure is the only consideration in the sexual attack.

The third theme identified by McCabe and Wauchope (2005, 241) is the ‘angry, demeaning or
threatening’ theme. The communication used by this type of rapist is angry, threatening,
demeaning and aggressive, such as:

    “‘Keep your voice down or I will kill you.’

    ‘You’re going to earn it you bitch, stop your whinging, if you don’t shut up I’ve got a
    knife.’

    ‘Shut up bitch, don’t move and it will not hurt.’

    ‘Do you like that bitch?’” (McCabe and Wauchope 2005, 241).

This type of rapist was fairly common, typifying 18% of the sample population. The central
concept behind this theme – and the fourth theme – is anger and csbsju (2010, 22-31) refers to
this type of rapist as ‘anger retaliatory’, displaying anger at one person or group of people and

                                                    
                                                  38

 
displacing it at one individual. He or she blames the victim for an unfortunate life and utilises
obscene language as part of humiliating and degrading the victim (csbsju 2010, para. 26).

The ‘revenge, payback’ theme is one that McCabe and Wauchope (2005, para. 32-41) identify
but seems to have similarities with the ‘angry, demeaning or threatening’ theme. The following
communications illustrate this theme:

    “‘This is what is going to happen if you ever think about leaving me.’

    ‘I will kill your new boyfriend.’

    ‘Where is your boyfriend now?’” (McCabe and Wauchope 2005, 241).

While there is anger and violence inherent in these communications, this theme seems to be a
derivative of the third theme, only the anger is targeted specifically at the individual victim. It
also seems to relate to the fourth profile identified by csbsju (2010, para. 42-51), ‘anger
excitation’ or ‘the sadist’. Sadistic rapists receive sexual gratification from the physical and
psychological suffering of the victims, engaging in sexual torture and the infliction of pain
which, in most such cases, ultimately results in the death of the victim (cbsju 2010, para. 42-51).
The death itself may be highly eroticised and desirable to the sadistic rapist, becoming an
essential climax of suffering the attacker inflicts on the victim (csbsju 2010, para. 42, 51 and
Knight 2006, 1192). This is similar – if not the same – as sexually-motivated serial killing,
which Knight defines as:

    “Sexually motivated serial murder is the killing of three or more victims over a period of
    more than 30 days, with a significant cooling-off period. The sexual nature of the crime,
    which may – or may not – be explicit, is perverse and sadistic and reflects an aggression
    that is particularly destructive, pathological and rooted in violent fantasies that are acted
    out on the victim.” (2006, 1198).

Csbsju’s profile includes the 30 day cycle (2010, 44), destructive aggression (2010, para. 42, 48)
and violent fantasies (2010, 42) included in this definition; Knight includes almost all of the
characteristics of sadistic rapists in her profile of sexually motivated serial killers (Knight 2006,
1191-1192). The language of this type of rapist is hostile more than profane (csbsju 2010, para.

                                                    
                                                  39

 
45), highlighting the aggression and anger which drives and motivates. Sadism as a concept is
discussed in more detail in Chapter 5 (pages 73-76), where this theme and rapist type is
compared to similar occurrences of sadism in online predators.

As this study relies on public chatroom communications between users, communication and
language patterns become a vital part of the identification and formation of behavioural profiles
of online predators.




Communication

An interesting approach to behavioural research of online predators is to use the models and
terminology in csbsju (2010) and McCabe and Wauchope’s (2005) research for analysing the
language of the ‘advertisements’ and solicitations within the public discussions of IRC
chatrooms. The four models of verbal behaviours of rapists identified by McCabe and
Wauchope (2005, 240-241) and the four corresponding profiles provided by csbsju (2006, para.
1-51) may be applied to the language used for advertisements for ‘roleplay’, sexual discussion
with children or other predators, requests for offline activities or general discussion within the
chatroom. Although McCabe and Wauchope’s (2005) study is on convicted rapists and there is
no guarantee that the predators will abuse offline (apart from, of course, the increased likelihood
of offending by predators expressly seeking offline activities), it would be a worthwhile exercise
to group different advertisements into themes and compare these to the themes identified by
these studies.

Determining the behavioural characteristics and psychological profiles of online predators is
vital to facilitate further research and investigation of the communities and activities in which
they operate. This research, then, provides an almost unique opportunity to analyse and test
existing knowledge and theories on behaviours against the empirical evidence presented within
the logs of monitored chatrooms where online predators believe they are free or safe from the
watchful eyes of the law and the judgement of society. Extrapolating from this research process,
it is also interesting to study the ways this perceived security and safety affects the methods and
structures of online child sexual abuse.
                                                   
                                                 40

 
Anonymity

The perception of anonymity that an Internet user is well-documented—Demetriou and Silke’s
(2003) seminal study into ‘deindividuation’, the concept that a lack of individual responsibility
which the detachment of the Internet provides will lead to actions which the user may not
contemplate offline. In their research, a fake website was set up with actual legal content and
fake illegal and deviant content and the ‘hits’ (instances of access) were recorded; the majority of
users who entered the website for legal content attempted to access the illegal content.
Jayawardena and Broadhurst (2007) followed a similar ‘criminological sting’ research model and
found that the deindividuation theory has practical application for research into online predators.

The deindividuation theory has significant implications for the goals of this research as
monitoring will be conducted on public chatrooms. An initial analysis of the log files from this
monitoring, however, reveal that open discussion takes place—and in fact is actively encouraged
by certain users despite an acknowledged awareness that the likelihood of being monitored by
policing agencies is high. The use of security methods such as accessing IRC through
anonymous proxies does, obviously, give an amount of security which can make it difficult for
police to track users—however for the purposes of this research it is paradoxically positive as it
encourages open communication which can be analysed. This analysis of open communication
will reveal behavioural patterns, technologies used and social structures and will also be useful in
potentially revealing evidence of organised abuse.




Organised Abuse

A minor aim of this research is to monitor for evidence of organised predator networks (more
organised than the ‘environmental’ network of an un-moderated chatroom openly dedicated to
child abuse) within IRC, especially relating to unlisted ‘secret’ chatrooms or moderated
chatrooms. A search of the literature within the child abuse field reveals a body of research on
offline ‘ritual abuse’ but not many sources of knowledge on organised abuse. A good definition
can be found in La Fontaine (1993) which, while written before the concentrated use of the
internet for child abuse activities, defines organised abuse as “abuse by multiple perpetrators
                                                  
                                                41

 
who act together to abuse the children” (1993, 225). Evidence of this would be advertisements
to abuse within a group, possibly in a customised once-off chatroom, or more ‘serious’ and
organised abuse such as formal predator networks. Due to the secretive nature of such organised
abuse, however, it is difficult to ascertain whether any evidence will arise in public discussion,
even taking into account Demetriou and Silke’s (2003) study into the behaviours resulting from
the perceived anonymity of the internet.

Of course, the very framework of next-generation, Web 2.0 Internet software and services may
reveal avenues for further investigation into organised abuse or other forms of abuse. The
intelligence gained from this research process can inform investigators on not only the activities
explicitly occurring within the area studied but the activities which may be potentially occurring
from the capabilities of the software and services utilised.




Knowledge Gaps

From the review of the current discourse and literature of child sexual abuse and online predators
above, the following gaps in knowledge can be identified.

Behavioural Analysis and Profiling

As has been stated, the primary goal of this research is to analyse the behavioural characteristics
of online predators operating in an IRC environment. While research has already been
undertaken on various aspects of this, such as grooming (O’Connell 2003), social networking
and solicitations (Jayawardena and Broadhurst 2007) and investigations (Krone 2005), in-depth
observational research is clearly needed to gain the understanding needed to successfully profile
online predators.

Technological Utilisation

It is clear that an understanding of the Internet technologies available to online predators will not
only increase the ability to predict how online predators operate but will aid in creating
prevention strategies to ameliorate the inherent danger of this use, in a similar way in which
Jayawardena and Broadhurst (2003, 242) identified the most effective way to secure social
                                                   
                                                 42

 
networking platforms against underage use. While this has been researched before, the rapid
changes in technology and the evolution in Internet culture continually requires more
information on technological utilisation to base further discourse. An example of this is the
encryption feature of the latest Microsoft operating system, Windows 7, which enables users to
hide and encrypt illegal materials such as child pornography within their hard drives (Eckersley
2009, 3). In Australia, it is not a crime to refuse to decrypt data that was requested as part of a
police investigation (Eckersley 2009, 3) but it is certainly an area that needs the attention of
legislators.

Communication and Social Structure Analysis

The language and social structures of the IRC chatrooms used by online predators to network
have not been analysed in a concentrated way, although O’Connell’s (2003) study analysed the
language of sexual grooming within similar environments. This communication must be
analysed to complete an understanding of the role an environment dedicated to child sexual
abuse plays in the behaviours of online predators. This includes learned behaviours from other
online predators and the use of advice, encouragement or possible mentoring given in general
conversation. Of course, there is more likelihood that such mentoring takes place in private
conversation but due to the constraints of the monitoring process, only the public activity will be
analysed—however, due to the perceived anonymity and the effect of deindividuation on users’
behaviour, open discussion still takes place within the public chatrooms.




Previous Methods

An exploratory example of previous research into examining the feasibility of internet-based
research utilising criminological ‘stings’ to gain primary intelligence data on internet paedophilia
was conducted by Jayawardena and Broadhurst (2007). This research model showed that a
criminological ‘sting’ operation, similar to that set up by O’Connell (2003) and Demetriou and
Silke (2003) in their seminal study, is a feasible method of gathering intelligence data on illegal
internet activities such as child sexual solicitation and accessing illegal content.


                                                    
                                                  43

 
The ‘criminological sting’ model of research involved primary research conducted within
spheres of illegal activity – in Jayawardena and Broadhurst’s (2007) study, within social network
platforms where online predators solicit children, in O’Connell’s (2003) study within internet
chatrooms and in Demetriou and Silke’s (2003) study within a simulated website containing
legal and illegal content to study users’ choices. Valuable theories on behaviour and
technological utilisation can be concluded from the data gathered using these primary methods of
research. Demetriou and Silke (2003), for example, used the ‘de-individuation’ theory of
internet anonymity to explain the open illegal activities of internet users, a concept which
Jayawardena and Broadhurst (2007) based their research upon.

Jayawardena and Broadhurst (2007) focussed on measuring child sexual solicitation against
vulnerable, non-vulnerable personality characteristics of underage female children, often
believed to be a key contributing factor to being targeted by online predators, and the presence of
a personal photograph and email address in social networking profiles. Their findings indicated
that while it remains a factor, vulnerability is less of an indicator of potential for providing an
attractive target than perhaps previously thought—the presence of a personal photograph creates
more of a difference in the amount of suspicious sexual contacts. These findings have bearing
on both the research in this paper and online policing in general, revealing the opportunistic and
content-driven motivations of online predators.

An alternative observational method of conducting similar research can be found in Krone’s
(2005) research, where the researcher observed the Queensland Police Service undertake
policing of child abuse within internet chatrooms. The research explored police stings in
chatrooms and showed “the aggressive and rapid way that children are targeted by adults for
sexual purposes” (Krone 2005, 1). Such cooperation with and involvement by law enforcement
is an ideal and essential platform for the implementation of an effective criminological sting,
allowing the researcher to be operating ‘undercover’ within an illegal environment while
simultaneously being involved in the policing of that environment. The downside to Krone’s
(2005) research is that the researcher’s involvement and observation remained distant from the
environment. Direct ‘participation’ – whilst remaining within the boundaries of the law – can be



                                                    
                                                  44

 
considered essential for the researcher to gain a deep ‘process-sual’ understanding of the social
and community aspects of the environment (Champion 2006, 298).




The Need for Ongoing Primary Research

These research stings provide a primary research tool in gaining knowledge about illegal
activities as they happen, whereas the majority of existing research, as aforementioned, is centred
on the extent and nature of online paedophilia after an offence has been committed. This latter
research, however, remains valuable in providing an increasing knowledge-base on the methods
and utilisation of emerging internet technologies by paedophiles. Studies such as Bilstad’s
(1996) provides insight into the use of internet newsgroups for criminal purposes and Stanley’s
(2002) research into Child Abuse and the Internet covers a wider field of internet technologies
and is an invaluable tool for both criminological research and policing. However, by the very
nature of the ‘Web 2.0’ internet, the technologies change and adapt rapidly, making technical
details, behavioural patterns and sociological data out of date relatively quickly (Feather 1999,
22). Facets of the Web 2.0 phenomenon, such as user-based alteration of software and social
networking platforms, create a constant need for updated intelligence and information.

The evolving nature of online communication creates the largest gap in existing research which
needs to be bridged with primary research methods such as non-participant observation.
Researchers need to observe the activity of internet paedophiles as they occur, along with the
environment in which such activities occur. In conjunction with drawing criminological data and
conclusions, valuable intelligence can also be provided to aid law enforcement. A similar –
though non-scholarly – approach was used in Eichenwald’s (2005) article where, as an
investigative journalist, he intervened in the life of a victim of online child sexual exploitation
and not only provided information on the methods and behaviours of online paedophiles but was
able to convince the victim to provide valuable information to US law enforcement agencies.
Eichenwald’s (2005) article provides an important insight into the realities of the child sexual
grooming process and the sophisticated manipulation conducted by the predators active within



                                                    
                                                  45

 
that area of the Internet—and serves as a point of comparison between possible different
behaviours exhibited by online predators from one area of the internet to another.

A more scholarly approach can be found in Sibley and Heath’s (2004) analysis of public requests
for private interaction posted in chatrooms. Similar to this research paper, Sibley and Heath
recorded and analysed IRC chatroom conversation to study the communication methods of what
is referred to in this paper as ‘advertisements’, that is open solicitations for private chat. The
researchers found a common prototypical structure in these advertisements:

    “(a) a target specifier, e.g., “any girls”;
     (b) the communication request itself, e.g., “wanna chat”;
     (c) a self-identifier, e.g., “to a guy”; and
     (d) a communication directive, e.g., “msg me!”” (Sibley and Heath 2004, 231).

Although the chatrooms studied were legal and general (chatrooms with names such as ‘Teen’,
‘Sydney’ and ‘Sex’) and the purpose of the research was towards analysing social structures
rather than criminological aspects, it is an interesting insight into online communication,
specifically within IRC. It provides an ideal point of comparison between the public
communication in child abuse chatrooms and the public communication in legal chatrooms,
especially within legal and illegal sexual solicitations. The patterns of speech and requests for
communication identified by Sibley and Heath (2004) provide an effective tool to be utilised in
studying these requests, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of online predators.

These studies not only demonstrate the need for further primary research but the vital
criminological data and intelligence which can be derived from this type of research. Theories of
de-individuation, observations on, and pattern-identification of, the behaviour of online predators
and research into their methods, knowledge and goals form an essential body of knowledge
through which even more in-depth research can be conducted.




                                                      
                                                    46

 
                                         Chapter 4:
                                      Research Methods



Design

This study aims to identify behavioural patterns and gather criminological data about online
predators by logging public activity in four IRC chatrooms. The research addresses three broad
goals relating to online predators: the identification of behavioural patterns, the research of social
structures within these illegal chatroom communities and the gathering of criminological data
concerning the use of other Internet technologies by online predators. These goals will be
achieved through an analysis of the logs for patterns and categories of behaviour, as well as
criminological ‘intelligence’ data. This will aid in the increased understanding of online
predators operating in a perceived ‘safe’ environment.

While there has been considerable research conducted within the comparatively short lifespan of
the internet, the methodology, technological utilisation, behavioural patterns and social
frameworks of online predators still requires extensive study. Each sphere of the internet –
chatrooms, forums, newsgroups and so on – has different criminological and operating
environments which are constantly evolving. Research based on secondary or ‘controlled’
sources (such as police statistics, prison population samples or criminological theory) play an
important part in investigation, response and prevention but lack the ability to bridge the existing
knowledge gap on functioning predator communities which only primary research can provide.
Research therefore needs to be conducted in a way which fulfils this need and allows for a
deeper, ‘real-time’ insight into the methods and behaviours of online predators.

This study will seek to bridge this gap by researching the behavioural patterns of online
predators using primary data collection and analysis techniques. This will allow an almost
unprecedented opportunity to observe online predators within their social online networks and
compare their behaviour within these spheres to existing knowledge and research, such as
Murray’s (2000) comparison of the profiles of child molesters and paedophiles, Hall and Hall’s
(2007) work on the categorisation of online predators, the rapist profiling presented by csbsju

                                                   
                                                 47

 
(2010), McCabe and Wauchope’s (2005) analysis of the language of online communications and
Sibley and Heath’s (2004) more targeted analysis of public requests for private interaction on
IRC.

The criminological data and behavioural profiling which can be achieved from this process is
invaluable in bridging the current gaps in knowledge examined in Chapter 3 and assisting
investigators and policy makers in response and prevention. The research is, of course, highly
sensitive in that it deals with child sexual abuse and child pornography and is based on covert
logging and study of a human population; therefore, ethical approval was gained from the from
the respective Research and Ethics Committee after consultations with State and Federal policing
agencies.




Data Collection Procedure

Internet Relay Chat Environment

IRC is a largely un-moderated and decentralised system of networks, each with multiple servers
across the world, which host ‘channels’ (chatrooms). The IRC protocol is quite flexible and
while it is an old technology, it has been adapted through new software and the core protocol can
be modified to suit almost any type of internet communication, resulting in its continuing
application to tens – perhaps hundreds – of thousands of users. IRC can be used for many
purposes besides person-to-person or group communication, including the trading or sharing of
any types of files.

This project concentrates on the IRC network ‘Undernet’, one of the largest networks in
existence. In the context of IRC, a network is a group of servers located around the world which
are connected together to form a larger virtual ‘space’ where tens of thousands of users are able
to participate simultaneously. A search can be conducted of any network to list the publically-
viewable chatrooms active within that network; an example of such a search using the mIRC
client can be found in Appendix 1 (on page 131).



                                                  
                                                48

 
A cursory search, using chatroom names, from the chatroom listings of the Undernet network
reveal many chatrooms relating to the discussion of child abuse and the trading of child
pornography. These chatrooms share one similarity within the chatroom names: they are all
suffixed with the number ‘0’ followed by a varying amount of exclamation marks. Therefore,
using the filter function of mIRC to search within the chatroom list – filtering for ‘!’ – reveals
numerous chatrooms themed around child sexual abuse, incest, beastiality and so forth; an
example listing can be seen in Appendix 1 (on page 131). Added to this, there are many
chatrooms within IRC which are unlisted and ‘secret’, and there are undoubtedly many more
child abuse chatrooms operating within that area.

From the chatrooms listed the research chatrooms were selected. These chatrooms have been de-
identified due to ethical considerations, although as mentioned in Chapter 1, the transcripts from
the chatrooms have been reproduced without modification. The chatrooms selected are outlined
in Table 1:

Table 1: Logged Chatrooms

    Name                    Description                   Participants and Representation
IRC-Kids      Innocuously but suggestively named,        Usually has 100+ participants:
              providing a possible ‘trap’ for children   – Mostly male/some female adults.
              who have access to Undernet.               – Mostly female/some male
                                                         children.
IRC-Sadism Themed for underage sexual ‘slavery’.         Usually has 60-70 participants:
                                                         – Mostly male/some female adults.
                                                         – Mostly female/some male
                                                         children.
IRC-Girl      Themed for underage female sex.            Usually has 70-80 participants:
                                                         – Mostly male/some female adults.
                                                         – Mostly female children.
IRC-Incest    Themed for adult female/female (age        Usually has 30+ participants:
              non-specific but majority underage)        – Female adults.
              incest.                                    – Female children/adults.



                                                      
                                                    49

 
These chatrooms were selected on the basis that they represented points of interest and featured,
with the exception of ‘IRC-Incest’, a substantial amount of traffic in the form of users within that
chatroom. A brief synopsis of each chatroom is provided below.

IRC-Kids

This is the most innocuously named chatroom within the selected group and therefore assumedly
represented the most likely to accommodate underage users entering it assuming it is a ‘safe’
chatroom. This gives an opportunity for online predators to attempt sexual grooming, engage in
cybersex or roleplay or otherwise interact with underage users—however, the explicit content
discussed openly in the channel or the explicit usernames may result in any underage users
leaving immediately.

It is important here to note that underage users may seek out or enter the other, more explicitly-
named chatrooms out of curiosity, to cause trouble for their amusement (‘trolling’) or even to
seek out online predators for whatever reason. This does not, obviously, lessen the impact or
alter the seriousness of any potential crime which underage users may be exposed to within these
chatrooms.

IRC-Sadism

This chatroom was selected as it represents a more brutal facet of online child sexual abuse. It is
possible that online predators may interpret this as a ‘Bondage and Discipline, Sado-Masochism’
themed chatroom (a concept dealt with in Chapter 5, page 70), or dealing with ‘heavier’ and
more explicit non-consensual themes, including the international child sex trade. It may be the
case that this chatroom will hold the most – if any – evidence of organised child sexual abuse.

IRC-Girl

This is a more general but gender-specific child sexual abuse chatroom, especially when
compared to IRC-Sadism. It was chosen as a representation of a general chatroom which reflects
the majority of child sexual abuse cases as committed by an adult male against an underage
female (Murray 2000, para. 1).


                                                  
                                                50

 
IRC-Incest

Incest is a common theme and occurrence in not only online child sexual abuse but child sexual
abuse in general. While there are many theories on why this is so common, the simplest is that
the greatest and ‘safest’ opportunity for child sexual abuse is in the home, directed at underage
relatives of the offender. Ease of access, opportunities to be alone with the victim and the ability
to maintain control and security within the offending may be major factors affecting the decision
to abuse; of course, this is corresponding to a more classical and rational-choice based
motivation for crime.

This chatroom presents an interesting observational opportunity in that adult females sexually
abusing underage females are rarer than adult males sexually abusing underage females (Murray
2000, para. 41-42). As this is the case, any data on this topic of child sexual abuse is valuable,
although online predators are known to change their gender online for sexual grooming or
fantasy purposes. Gathering data on this phenomenon is also one of the goals of this study to
determine whether the majority of users keep a fixed gender.

Method of Collection

The data, in the form of chatroom conversation logs, was gathered by an adaptation of the IRC
client software ‘mIRC’ (mirc.com 2009) called ‘Chat Monitor’ (Surfcontrol Chat Monitor 2000).
While mIRC can create chatroom logs without adaptation, there are several features of Chat
Monitor which makes it ideal for the purposes of this study, including user analysis and
automated recognition of Australian users through the IP address. Chat Monitor was therefore
set up to access Undernet and the four chatrooms selected.

The number of participants in a chatroom changes constantly as participants enter and leave.
However, generally there are a certain number of participants present at any given time for each
themed chatroom, depending on the theme and seemingly closely related to statistics of child
abuse: most perpetrators are male and most victims are female. However, it must be noted that
the age and sex of participants does not necessarily reflect reality, especially when participants
appear to be children—while it is not inconceivable that children would have the technical
capability to log onto IRC and the curiosity to visit explicitly child abuse themed chatrooms, it is
                                                   
                                                 51

 
unlikely they would spend a great amount of time participating. The presence of children in
IRC-Kids is more likely but again, after realising the actual nature of the chatroom, they may
leave. Another possibility is that children may be forced to participate by abusers. However,
this study aims more to observe and research online predators than their victims.

Setting Up of Monitoring

Because of the sensitive and covert nature of this project, a strict process of operation was put in
place, with clear guidelines and limits. The logging of the IRC chatrooms was conducted by
Chat Monitor’s automated logging function—in other words, a ‘bot’. A bot is a software script
which carries out programmed instructions without the need for human interaction. In this study,
the bot appears to be another human participant within the chatrooms, albeit one that does not
communicate. The bot also discourages communication or private messaging by having a
Nickname (See Internet Relay Chat Communication below) that is non-gendered and
meaningless. The bot automatically logged all activity within the chatroom, including entrances
and exits, conversations and advertisements.

The computer running the bot was secured in the research supervisor’s office. To maintain the
integrity and security of the research computer, it was decided that all internet activity should be
routed through a proxy server to mask the research computer’s IP address. This increases the
overall security of the project as well as the validity of the results, as participants were unlikely
to change their behaviour on noticing the IP address of an educational institution.

Initially, the Tor network was selected to achieve this added security. However, Tor proved
unreliable for automated monitoring—the connections to the proxy servers were often broken
and the network ultimately proved unstable without 24-hour human supervision. Added to this,
Undernet rejected a lot of the proxy servers on the Tor network as they had already been
compromised by other users and banned by the Undernet network.

An alternative was to use Undernet’s own virtual hostmask, however efforts to sign up for this
service from different locations and different email addresses failed, apparently due to an issue
from Undernet’s website—an automated confirmation email failed to arrive from Undernet.


                                                    
                                                  52

 
The third possibility was to directly route traffic through a volunteer server and this was
achieved through an overseas webhost, who organised a virtual private network between the
research computer and the webhost’s server. A virtual private network is an additional encrypted
connection between computers over a larger network (in this case, the Internet). The research
computer connected to the Internet, accessed the virtual private network and the overseas
webhost and connected to Undernet through the webhost’s connection to the Internet, as can be
seen in Figure 1:

Figure 1: Virtual Private Network




                                                                     Internet 

     Research Computer          Mainframe


        IRC ‐ 
      Undernet 




                                              Virtual Private Network

          Overseas Webhost 


This option proved to be the most stable and reliable, although the connection did disconnect
unexpectedly on a few occasions. A consecutive number of days of logging were accomplished
over several weeks, however the logs from Wednesday 1 to Sunday 5 April were utilised for
analysis. A few hours were lost during this period as the connection disconnected and later
reconnected, however the loss is minor and a large amount of data was collected. To
comprehend the nature of the data collected, it is essential that the nature of IRC communication
is understood.
                                                   
                                                 53

 
Internet Relay Chat Communication

There are three main methods of communication within an IRC chatroom. The first is
conversation within the chatroom itself, which is publicly viewable by anyone within that
chatroom. The second is a private message, a private one-to-one chat in a separate window. The
third is Direct Client to Client (DCC) chat, where the two computers involved will create a direct
link for the users to talk to each other, without using the network. The latter two methods of
communication will not be explored in relation to this research as it would involve direct
interaction with online predators, which has legal implications.

The method utilised to achieve the goals of this study was the logging of all publicly viewable
activity within the chatroom. It should be noted that it is an offence under Part 10.6, s474.22 of
the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) to be present (indicated through participation) within an illegal
chatroom as it may be argued that the material presented in the chatrooms studied here constitute
‘child abuse material’, which is defined as:

    “(a) material that depicts a person, or a representation of a person, who:

       (i)     is, or appears to be, under 18 years of age; and

       (ii)    is, or appears to be, a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse;

    and does this in a way that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the
    circumstances, offensive; or

    (b) material that describes a person who:

       (i)     is, or is implied to be, under 18 years of age; and

       (ii)    is, or is implied to be, a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse;

    and does this in a way that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the
    circumstances, offensive.” (s473.1, Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth))

Within the chatrooms there are graphic descriptions and discussion of child sexual abuse and the
many Nicknames used by participants may also directly communicate child sexual abuse.

                                                   
                                                 54

 
Technically, then, it can be seen that being present within these chatrooms – as the bot is – is
illegal under s474.22(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth):

    “(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

       (a) the person:

               (i)       uses a carriage service to access material; or

               (ii)      uses a carriage service to cause material to be transmitted to the
               person; or

               (iii)     uses a carriage service to transmit material; or

               (iv)      uses a carriage service to make material available; or

               (v)       uses a carriage service to publish or otherwise distribute material; and

       (b) the material is child abuse material.”

For the purposes of this study, however, legal advice was obtained and restrictions complied with
to proceed with the research. Policing authorities in the country where the proxy server was
located were also notified.

There are three types of ‘immediate’ information that can be gathered from analysing the IRC
logs monitored—IP numbers, criminological data from chatroom activity (conversation and
‘advertisements’) and evidence of online and offline criminal activity. This information is
valuable to achieving the goals of this study—the criminological data will aid in the behavioural
research and determining the social structures of the chatrooms, the IP numbers in gathering
intelligence on the technological utilisation – specifically related to security and anonymity – and
the evidence of online and offline criminal activity will aid in behavioural research as well as
identifying any evidence of organised abuse.

IP numbers are the identification numbers of all computers connected to the internet. The IP
number is traceable to the user’s computer and also provides information on which ISP the user
is connected with and basic geographical information. The format of an IP number follows an

                                                     
                                                   55

 
established pattern consisting of four sets of three maximum numerical characters (for example,
123.456.789.012 or 123.45.6.789). However, an IP address can be masked or routed through
various proxy servers throughout the world.

‘Advertisements’ consist of participants chatting within the chatroom and advertising about/for a
product or service. Through the DCC protocol and an fserver script, for example, it is possible to
have a folder within the hard drive which acts as a server which users can access to download the
contents of the folder. The users who are running these fservers often advertise their fserver
within the chatroom, explaining the contents and how to access it. Other users may advertise
different chatrooms—this could be used to gather intelligence about ‘secret’ chatrooms. Users
may also advertise themselves and/or whatever they are seeking within the chatroom. The
effects of the perceived anonymity of the internet upon its users have been researched and well-
documented (Demetriou and Silke 2003, 214-215); because of this, participants in chatrooms
may publicly reveal details about themselves or offences they have committed.

The entrances and exits of chatroom participants on IRC – called ‘parts’, ‘joins’ and ‘quits’
(quits are events when the user logs off the IRC network entirely as opposed to leaving just the
chatroom; quits can be unintentional due to network issues) in the IRC terminology – are
contained within the logs in the format seen in Transcript 2 on page 58, where ‘Nickname X’
denotes the chosen display name of the participant, ‘Name’ denotes the (usually fake) full name
the participant enters into the setup details of mIRC and the numbers and words after the @
symbol denotes the IP or Internet Service Provider details of the user. The setup details of mIRC
can be found in Screenshot 1 (page 57):




                                                  
                                                56

 
Screenshot 1: mIRC Setup Options




This setup does not, of course, verify any of the information entered. As can be seen, there is an
option for ‘Invisible mode’ which makes a user invisible to other users who are not present in the
same chatroom. It is difficult, if not impossible, to search for particular users on IRC, although
there are notification features in mIRC – enhanced in Chat Monitor – which can update a user’s
online and offline status.

The ISP or IP details of IRC users are displayed depending on how they connect to Undernet and
whether they use one or both of Undernet’s host (ISP/IP) masking service—such as the details
for Nickname 1 in Figure 2 below, which contains User.users.undernet.org as opposed to an ISP
or IP. Nickname 6 shows the user’s actual IP address and all of the other users are using the
alternative host-masking feature provided by Undernet which hides the actual IP but reveals the
ISP—in Nickname 4’s case, it is the US telecommunications, internet and cable television
company Comcast (comcast.com 2009).




                                                  
                                                57

 
Transcript 2: Exits, Entrances and IP/ISP Information


      IRC-Kids Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [12:57] *** Nickname 1 (~Name@User.users.undernet.org) has joined IRC-Kids

      [12:57] *** Nickname 2 (~Name@port-12-345-67-89.dynamic.qsc.de) has joined IRC-Kids

      [12:57] *** Nickname 3 (~Name@cblmdm12-345-67-890.buckeyecom.net) has left IRC-
      Kids

      [12:57] *** Nickname 4 (~Name@c-12-34-567-8.hsd1.ma.comcast.net) Quit (Quit )

      [12:57] *** Nickname 5 (~Name@12.34-567-890.nextgentel.com) has joined IRC-Kids

      [12:57] *** Nickname 6 (~Name@123.456.789.012) has joined IRC-Kids

      [12:58] *** Nickname 7 (~Name@12-345-67-89.lightspeed.rcsntx.sbcglobal.net) has joined
      IRC-Kids



Of course, it is worth noting that ‘tech-savvy’ participants of illegal chatrooms will utilise proxy
servers in much the same method as this study to ensure privacy and security. While this makes
online to offline tracking by law enforcement agencies difficult, participants retaining their
Nickname or using the same proxy to connect each time may at least be tracked online.

The logged conversations between participants have the format seen in Transcript 3, which has
been de-identified and sensitive information removed:

Transcript 3: Conversation, Advertisement and Fserver

      IRC-Kids Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [13:05] <Nickname 1> 30/m Looking to take a girls virginity or try to get them preg
      message me if your interested i am serious or i will watch the deed happen live in
      XXXXXXX parents can watch i will be a sperm donor if needed and will also do
      moms looking for active parents 2 love to see a dad put a seed in his kid

      [13:06] <Nickname 2> http://www.XXXXXX.org/image.php?v=XXXXX

      [13:06] * Nickname 3 wonders if there are any women out there who might be interested in a
      rolelplay with me where I'm 13/14


                                                    
                                                  58

 
      [13:06] <Nickname 4> I am a 51 yr old man, looking to have a serious chat with girls or
      parents of young girls that would want them to be in a long term relationship with an older
      man. Must be in the US and be willing to consider meeting in real life. Sorry, not interested
      in RP or trading. If interested, please /msg Nickname 4

      [13:06] <Nickname 5> Any Girls not happy at home? Let's chat about it. Message me

      [13:07] <Nickname 6> Any fems to chat, cam or mic? PM me :)

      [13:13] <Nickname 7> [v2.4] 14Panzer - Trigger: 4 !Triggerword            Ratio: 4 1:5
        Start Credit: 3 200 KB    14[Users:0/5]



Nickname 1 and 4 are advertising for offline interaction, whereas Nickname 3 is asking for
online ‘roleplay’, a form of sexual encounter through chat. Nickname 3 is speaking in an
‘action’ format, denoted by the asterisk before the user’s name. Nickname 2 is linking the
chatroom to an image through a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), presumably of child
pornography. Nickname 5 is seeking interaction with a ‘girl’ – which implies an underage girl,
given the theme of the chatroom involved – for the purposes of grooming, either for online or
offline sexual exploitation. The terms ‘message me’, ‘PM me’ or ‘/msg’ means to start the
conversation in a private one-to-one chat in a separate window. Nickname 6 uses this request
but is seeking online sexual contact through either private chat, webcam or audio chat through a
microphone.

Nickname 7 is an example of file sharing and trading within IRC, using a third-party software
add-on to mIRC called ‘Panzer’, which is a script to facilitate the sharing of files within a certain
folder on the user’s computer. An interested participant will activate the file server by typing the
trigger word (in this de-identified example, ‘!Triggerword’) in the chatroom, forming a direct,
computer-to-computer chat session in a separate window.

This is the technical environment in which online predators using IRC operate; in the next
section, the sampling involved in the chatrooms studied for this thesis is explored.




                                                      
                                                    59

 
Sampling

The sample consists of all participants active within the chatroom during the days when logging
was carried out. As aforementioned, being present in a child-abuse chatroom may be illegal
under Part 10.6, s474.22(1) and others of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); therefore, the
assumption – a fairly safe one considering the explicit and clear names of all but one chatroom
used in this study – is that all participants are at least seeking to break the law.

The covert technical methods used in this study for the purposes of logging chatroom activity
means that the presence of the research mechanism does not have any impact on the behaviour of
the sample. The Chat Monitor software is represented as one more participant amongst many,
aided, as mentioned above, by routing all traffic through a proxy server. The participants
observed are therefore acting within their ‘natural’ community, with only the constraints and
limitations already present.

As previously stated, the number of participants in IRC chatrooms changes constantly as
participants enter and leave; it is also common for participants to be active simultaneously in
more than one chatroom. The Chat Monitor software conducts a user-information check called a
‘Whois’, which is a feature native to mIRC and enhanced and automated by Chat Monitor. A
Whois lists the chatrooms a user is present in as well as other important information such as the
set up email and username, as seen in Figure 4:

Figure 2: Example of Whois

      IRC-Girl Log, Sunday, March 25, 2009

      Nickname: Nickname 1

      Nickname: Name

      Hostname: XXX.XXX.dsl.pth.iprimus.net.au

      Channels: #Chatroom 2 #Chatroom X

      IRC Server: *.undernet.org




                                                     
                                                   60

 
The four chatrooms were continuously logged for several days, although due to technical
constraints the initial logging week – Monday to Sunday – had non-consecutive days, for
example Wednesday to Saturday, then Sunday to Monday of the week after. However, five days
of logs were collected for analysis as a typical week, without public holidays or major events and
including a weekend. While the sample population varied and fluctuated considerably, it can be
estimated that at any given time there were 200-250 unique participants in all four chatrooms.

It is important to understand that this study targets only a single subset of online predators –
those who use IRC chatrooms to conduct their activities. There is already a small demographic
difference detected between online predators caught in police sting operations and those caught
soliciting offline (Wolak, Finkelhore, Mitchell and Ybarra 2008, 119); it is not unreasonable to
assume there will be differences in behaviour and perhaps demographics between online
predators using IRC and online predators using other Internet technologies. This difference may
be enhanced by the different cultures and community rules that exist in various Internet
socialising platforms, from forums to chatrooms to social networking websites. However,
through the analysis of advertisements revealing other technologies, this study also seeks to
identify the extent and nature of the use of multiple Internet technologies by online predators on
IRC, who for example may have a presence in chatrooms for solicitation and networking, image
forums for child pornography, social networking websites such as Facebook or MySpace for
access to and ‘verification’ of children and instant messenger services such as Yahoo! Messenger
(au.messenger.yahoo.com 2009) for private chat, webcam and audio chat.

Data Collation

Due to the sheer bulk of the data collected in this study, some collation was needed before
analysis. The raw logs were broken down in such a way as to separate the individual
components of chatroom activity, such as ‘<Timestamp>, <Conversation/Action/Event>,
<Nickname>, <Message Text>, <URL>, <IP/ISP Identifier>, <File Server/Trigger>’. This was
achieved by inserting tab characters between these components, allowing conversion into file
formats compatible with Analyst’s Notebook, a visual, investigative analysis software which can
present varied data clearly and aid in mapping connections.


                                                   
                                                 61

 
This process was undertaken by importing the raw data logs, originally in Microsoft Windows
‘txt’ files, into Microsoft Word format. Once this was done, a macro was created to expedite the
process of collating the logs, which contained certain patterns such as a timestamp, followed by
three asterisks and followed by the Nickname of the user, as can be seen in Transcript 4:

Transcript 4: Patterns for Macro


      IRC-Girl Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [11:21] *** BigBlkMan (~dcr@60-242-188-3.static.tpgi.com.au) has joined IRC-Girl 



Therefore, using Microsoft Word’s ‘find and replace’ feature, a tab can be inserted after every
‘]***’ and before every ‘(~’, as these patterns are not repeated in the logs apart from in those
positions. Using Microsoft Word’s Visual Basic macro recording feature, it was possible to
group such find and replace instances into one automated file and process a large part of the logs
instantly. It was still necessary to read through the logs, line by line, in order to ensure no
mistakes were made and to place tabs in places which could not be automated; however this
macro saved time and effort.

Analyst’s Notebook software was then utilised to highlight some of the technical activities online
predators engaged in. As has been discussed, for example, an offender may regularly change
their username on IRC, yet he or she may still retain the same IP number. This method will
provide a way to ascertain all the usernames he or she has used, detect any patterns in the
usernames, times of entrance and exit and perhaps predict when he or she will next enter a
certain chatroom or log onto Undernet.




Data Analysis

During the process of data collation, patterns in the activity of chatroom users were highlighted
and noted—repeated advertisements, different types of conversation, different types of language
used and so forth. Being a qualitative, observational study, this was the primary method of
analysis, followed by the tracking of these users through the Kiwi Log Viewer software
                                                    
                                                  62

 
(Solarwinds 2010), which can be used to highlight or filter entries in log files by specific words
or phrases. Through these methods, archetypical users were identified and tracked through their
activity in the logged chatrooms over the five days of logging.

Two types of analysis were conducted to address the four goals of this study—a behavioural
analysis to explore the behaviour of online predators and the social structures of the chatroom
communities and an intelligence analysis to gain information on the technological utilisation and
other criminological data.

Behavioural Analysis

The behavioural analysis will identify certain archetypes of online predators who use these
public IRC chatrooms through both the collation and analysis stage. Contrasting archetypes in
this case can be found among users requesting certain types of interaction (‘cam’, ‘PM’,
‘roleplay’ etc.), the aggression levels and language used by the users (the nature of the
Nickname, the suggested type of roleplay, level of dehumanisation of intended victims etc.), and
whether a participant is looking for online or offline contact and so forth.

An example user or users of each archetype will be selected and their actions analysed to
construct general behavioural profiles of each archetype. From this process, a more
sophisticated behavioural profile of online predators can emerge, including specific chatroom
grooming processes as well as normalisation and discussion patterns between predators—
especially discussions when a URL to an image of child pornography is posted within the
chatroom. This allows valuable comparison to general profiles of ‘traditional’ offline predators,
such as those of Murray (2000) and Hall and Hall (2007), to discover what, if any, behaviours
change online and whether these behaviours can aid in investigations. It would also aid in
discerning the differences and similarities of online and offline organised paedophilia.

Intelligence Analysis

The secondary goal of this research, the intelligence analysis, will explore the dimensions of
technological utilisation by online predators and seek to gain as much information about the
participants as possible. This information includes basic user information such as IP numbers
and ISP data, Nicknames and dates/times of use and this information will be provided for the
                                                   
                                                 63

 
example users of each archetype in the behavioural analysis; more general and advanced
intelligence which can be derived from analysis through Analyst’s Notebook and the
coding/collation process described previously will be provided in Chapter 6.

This analysis will initially be conducted in parallel with the behavioural analysis, using the same
collation and analysis process. The simplest use of this analysis will be the technological
utilisation—as seen in Transcripts 2 and 3 on pages 58-59, the activity within the four monitored
chatrooms reveals a large amount of information on the use of other internet technologies to
facilitate the trading of child pornography, online sexual solicitation and grooming of children
and general discussions between online predators. File and image hosting websites and image
forums, social networking platforms, webcam technology, digital microphones and fservers are
some of the technologies a cursory analysis of the data reveals. The analysis of the
conversations and advertisements can also reveal details of offences planned, committed or being
committed as well as reveal the existence of secret chatrooms or other Internet locations.

While Analyst’s Notebook has only been used in this study for graphical demonstrations of
certain technical activities conducted by chatroom users, such as name changes and proxy server
use, this software can be used to reveal timelines and complex connections between events,
participants, conversations and advertisements. Aside from the ability to track a participant’s
actions and presence, as well as collate all known and revealed information about the participant,
Analyst’s Notebook can also provide usage and access statistics. Times of peak usage,
Nickname changes – especially relating to changes in sex, when an adult predator will pose as a
child for sexual gratification or grooming purposes (Dombrowski, Gischlar and Durst 2007, 155-
156) – and repeated connections between unique participants can be detected using this software.
Due to time and access constraints of this study, however, Analyst’s Notebook has not been
utilised to its full potential; this remains an interesting avenue for further research and may
reveal hidden connections as well as being of value to investigators.

Social Analysis

Observations can also be made of the social structures involved in each chatroom studied as the
behavioural and intelligence analysis is being carried out. These social structures will include

                                                   
                                                 64

 
the observation of any traditions, customs, any specific content welcome and unwelcome in each
chatroom and any other differences in the types of activity occurring. This information will be
of interest to both investigators and scholars alike, perhaps paving the way for deeper
investigation, and will be provided to give context to the behavioural analysis.

Using both of these analytical methods to form a criminological picture out of the collated data,
the three goals – research on behavioural patterns, gathering intelligence on technological
utilisation and critical observation of social structures – of this study can be achieved. While this
type of research may have limitations, which will be addressed later, the level of access and
analysis of uncensored and valuable data will have positive implications for response and
prevention measures as well as policy relating to online predators.

The next chapter will detail the results from the behavioural analysis of the data.




                                                   
                                                 65

 
                                     Chapter 5:
                       Research Findings – Behavioural Analysis



The analysis of the behaviours of online predators yielded several personality types, as well as
numerous archetypal profiles. This chapter will detail these findings and analyse them against
the behavioural observations and profiles of the studies discussed in Chapter 3: Hall and Hall
(2007), explores the categories, characteristics, behaviours and general psychology of
paedophiles; Murray (2000), compares the characteristics of child molesters and non-offending
paedophiles; McCabe and Wauchope (2005) identify four themes in the behavioural
characteristics of rapists (the caring, persuasive, reassuring; the sexually abusive and use of
explicit language; the angry, demeaning or threatening and the revenge, payback theme); csbsju
(2010) provides an alternative summation of four general profiles of male rapists (the gentleman
rapist, the power-assertive rapist, the anger retaliatory rapist and the sadistic rapist); and Sibley
and Heath (2004) identified a common prototypical structure for advertisements.

A brief overview of the activity and social structure of the chatrooms studied is provided to give
context to the personality types and profiles extrapolated from the data, which are subsequently
detailed and contrasted against profiles and information on offline sex offenders as well as the
existent knowledge about online predators. The links between beastiality and child sexual abuse
is also explored as beastiality is one of the most commonly recurring paraphilias in the logged
chatrooms. Archetypes of users are tracked through the logs and analysed against the personality
types extracted from the literature about both offline sex offenders and online predators; these
archetypes are illustrated by example. Data on these users, such as chatrooms participated in,
ISP and IP information and days of activity, are presented to demonstrate the basic intelligence
which can be gained from this type of research and surveillance.




                                                    
                                                  66

 
Activity Levels

Friday and Saturday were the most active times for all the chatrooms. This is probably due to
the free time most users have closer to the weekend, especially those who work regular hours.
Visiting these chatrooms on a Friday may be a form of relaxation for some users after the
stresses of a working week.

The most active chatroom was IRC-Kids, probably due to the general theme of the chatroom and
the higher likelihood of encountering real underage users due to the non-explicit name. IRC-
Kids was most active on Friday, April 3, the day of highest activity overall out of the chatrooms
logged. This was followed by IRC-Sadism on the same day, IRC-Kids on Saturday, April 4 and
IRC-Girl also on Friday, April 3.




Social Structure

The social structures of the chatrooms studied are usually quite fluid and shifting, making any
firm observations difficult. However, there are certain unwritten rules and patterns of activity
and behaviour which are worthy of discussion and comment.

IRC-Kids

This was the most active chatroom during the logging period, which was openly-themed as
compared to the others. This general theme may have attracted the majority of users as well as
the fact that IRC-Kids contained the most postings of URL links to child pornography—in fact it
was the chatroom with the most occurrences of users asking if anyone was going to post child
pornography, an example of which can be seen in Transcript 5:

Transcript 5: Posting Requests

      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [15:04] <DrDad> No one posting any pics tonight ?

      [22:03] <anonim> posting somthing?

                                                  
                                                67

 
      IRC-Kids Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [05:27] <DaddyHrdon> we're just discussing kiddie pic stars
      [05:27] <Bruce> :) sweet
      [05:30] <DaddyHrdon> hey, Bruce^, if you hang out here, a lot of time people start posting
      links to pics... all sort

      [08:21] <LGLickr9> Any girls for mic, cam or chat? PM Me :)
      [08:21] <sheriXdres> the on;y girls here are in the post
      [08:21] <sheriXdres> postings.. when are you people going to understand that?

      [09:29] <jeny> any postings

      [09:38] <Bobtx> anyone posting?



It is clear from this that another function of these chatrooms is as a ‘safe’ way of viewing and
possibly collecting child pornography. Most posts of child pornography are commented on by
other users and those who post are thanked for their efforts—in fact, those who post may do so
out of a need to receive the thanks and admiration of other online predators. This process reveals
information about the posters, the users who view the posts and comment and the nature of the
chatroom as perceived by those who use it—the child pornography posted in IRC-Kids may not
be suitable for IRC-Incest.

IRC-Incest

This principle is the same with the actual content of the public chatrooms—what’s said,
requested and advertised. As evidenced in Transcript 6, what’s suitable for other chatrooms may
not be welcomed in IRC-Incest, although as there is no moderation in any of the chatrooms
logged (see also Transcript 30 for a discussion between two users about this issue), no official
action can be taken:




                                                    
                                                  68

 
Transcript 6: Unwelcome Advertisements in IRC-Incest

      #IRC-Incest Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [12:30] <beastiality> man 43 looking for girls between 12 and 15,who are curious or active
      in animal sex.No traders,roleplayers or pretenders.i also want pictures of you,if you dont
      have then dont reply,only nude or action pictures.
      [12:30] <Ptbogy> 30/m Looking to take a girls virginity or try to get them preg message me
      if your interested i am serious or i will watch the deed happen live near toronto parents can
      watch i will be a sperm donor if needed and will also do moms looking for active parents 2
      looking for a dad to plant a seed in his dau asl aunts and uncles accepted
      [12:31] <NesaLovesU> And another ignore added!
      [12:31] <lz13> 2...for me



Even though IRC-Incest is themed for mother-daughter incest, the chatroom seems active with
male online predators looking for permissive mothers to allow access to their daughters or for
sexual encounters with both mother and daughter, as can be seen in Transcript 7:

Transcript 7: Male Online Predator Activity within IRC-Incest


      #IRC-Incest Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [10:48] * PervrtedGuy is a 34yr old guy into little kids (toddlers to early preteens) and
      would like to chat with any moms or other females who are also interested, curious, or that
      have fantasies about seeing a guy with a little kid. /msg me to chat. No pics. Females only.

      [04:52] <tred> hi any moms or gals wana see me nude on cam? pls msg me




As female paedophiles are rare, it would be of interest to further research female online
predators, although it is doubtful that many of the users in IRC-Incest are, in fact, female.
However, the differences in social structure and what is and isn’t accepted within this chatroom
makes it fairly unique.

IRC-Sadism

IRC-Sadism definitely deals in more extreme child sexual abuse than in the other chatrooms,
however the conversation is mostly of a similar nature to IRC-Kids. There seems to be more of a
                                                     
                                                   69

 
tolerance for every sort of fetish in that few negative comments are made against advertisements
or requests similar to the ones in Transcript 5. As mentioned in Chapter 4, there also seems to be
an adaptation of the ‘Bondage and Discipline, Sado-Masochism’ (BDSM) lifestyle themes and
terminology within the chatroom, as can be seen in Transcript 8:

Transcript 8: Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism Terminology

      #IRC-Incest Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [06:56] <T-MSecrist> I am looking for a no limits female slave for on line play, msg me
      [06:57] <TopQark> is a 54yo Male looking for late teen girls that are submissive and in
      search of a Master for a real life, long term relationship.



BDSM can be defined as “...a wide array of mutually defined, negotiated, and consensual acts
that involve varying degrees of pain and/or power exchange expressly for the purpose of erotic
pleasure.” (Ophelian 2008, 13). Some of the terms in this lifestyle are ‘Master’, referring to a
dominant person in a BDSM/Slave-Master relationship, and ‘slave’, referring to a submissive
person in such a relationship (Williams 2006, 337-338). Some Nicknames in all the channels
studied reveal terms such as these; the features of the consensual activities of BDSM, such as
bondage, humiliation, power exchange and whipping (Williams 2006, 336), may of course be
used as forms of torture and sadism by online predators and paedophiles. It is important here to
note that involvement with BDSM does not imply paedophilia or involvement with any illegal
acts such as child sexual abuse; the ‘power exchange’ in BDSM becomes ‘power imbalance’ in
child sexual abuse. The consensual and ‘safe’ sado-masochism in BDSM is not congruent to the
sadism described in this study.

IRC-Girl

While specifically aimed at adult male-underage female sex, this channel seems to be even more
ambiguous than IRC-Kids, which at least is themed as a general chatroom. Obviously the focus
of chatroom activity was in the sexual abuse of underage girls, however there does not seem to
be any activity within the chatroom that is not represented in the other three chatrooms
monitored. This could be due to the lack of moderation of these chatrooms as well as online

                                                    
                                                  70

 
predators simultaneously accessing multiple channels so that no opportunity to chat, view child
pornography, groom potential victims or network with other online predators is missed.




Personality Types

The personality types identified here are general ones. Hall and Hall (2007, 462) point out the
difficulty in creating a personality pattern for paedophilia as so many sub-groups exist within this
paraphilia and the same applies to online predators. However, certain personality types do recur
within the numerous sub-groups and these have been grouped into four overall types: the
gentleman paedophile, the sadist, the businessman and the pretender.

The Gentleman Predator

The gentleman predator is similar to the ‘gentleman rapist’ of csbsju (2010, 1-11) and McCabe
and Wauchope’s (2005, 240) “caring, persuasion, reassurance” theme. This type of personality
type does not become too active within the chatrooms studied; they may request chat a few times
and leave if they haven’t found a potential target. The language used by the gentleman predator
is positive and respectful, without using obscene or degrading terms. There also seems to be a
preference by the gentleman predators for chat, as opposed to roleplay, and they do not directly
ask for anything more or to engage outside of IRC within the public chatrooms. A good example
of the gentleman rapist is the user ‘OldrThnDirt’ in Transcript 9, who was active in IRC-Kids
from Wednesday 1 to Saturday 4 April and in IRC-Girl during Thursday 2 to Saturday 4 April:

Transcript 9: The Gentleman Predator (Chat)


      IRC-Girl Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [13:15] <OldrThnDirt> Any young ladies, near Philadelphia, New Jersey, or Delaware, care
      to chat (not RP) with an older gentleman?



Of course, the locations specified by this user do indicate a willingness to meet with, and in all
likelihood have some sort of sexual encounter with, underage girls. This positions him within


                                                   
                                                 71

 
the ‘traveller’ profile detailed below (what Hall and Hall (2007, 460) refers to as ‘stalkers’,
although the gentleman predator is not restricted to that profile, as can be seen in Transcript 10:

Transcript 10: The Gentleman Predator (Roleplay)

      IRC-Girl Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [14:38] * MrBux is a nice guy looking for a fun girl for a friendly roleplay. Msg me :)



‘MrBux’ was active in IRC-Girl on Wednesday 1 April and Sunday 5 April; on Wednesday he
logged the above once and on Sunday he greeted the chatroom and left a while later. ‘MrBux’ is
what Hall and Hall (2007, 460) would define as a ‘cruiser’, an online predator looking for
reciprocal online sexual contact.

Csbsju.edu (2010, para. 1-11) indicates that the motivations of a gentleman rapist involve a
confirmation of the rapist’s manhood—that he can pleasure or satisfy a woman, stemming from
feelings of inadequacy with women. The act of rape in this context is about possession, as
opposed to harm or sadism. Paedophiles, while likely to have been in a relationship or even
married (Hall and Hall 2007, 462 and Murray 2000, para. 33), tend to have been divorced or
separated from an adult partner (Connolly and Woollons 2007, 5); combined with a sense of
inferiority, self-esteem issues, emotional immaturity (Hall and Hall 2007, 462) and a “fear of
being able to function in adult heterosexual relations” (Murray 2000, para. 12). This seems to
support the gentleman predator being quite similar to the gentleman rapist, although whether the
gentleman predator reaches the offline offence stage if given the opportunity is unknown.

Conversation within IRC-Kids seems to indicate at least a superficial awareness that the
gentleman predator personality type is still abusive—that having paedophilic tendencies is
socially frowned upon and needs to be disguised, as in Transcript 11:




                                                     
                                                   72

 
Transcript 11: The Gentleman Predator (as a Facade)


      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [11:48] <HrbCat> Good evening, Gentlemen
      [11:48] <Shvd4LilGrl> hiya HerbCat
      [11:49] <Chips> hi HerbCat
      [11:49] <Shvd4LilGrl> that is if pedos can be gentlemen LOL
      [11:49] <Chips> we can be, Shvd..:) all prim and proper
      [11:49] <Luvmyng> gentlemen is just a nice male person and i always try to be nice
      [11:49] <Luvmyng> yea yea yea yae yea yea yea
      [11:49] <Luvmyng> hahahaha
      [11:49] <Lust4StpDtr> best way to hide that we are one he he
      [11:50] <Shvd4LilGrl> (in my imitation of a peter otoole accent) but of course then I
      suppose I am one too!



This is quite revealing, not only demonstrating the security they feel within these chatrooms but
a definite awareness that a facade is needed, perhaps not only to blend into the community but to
gain the trust of underage users. Of course, this facade is a marked difference from the open
brutality of the sadist.

The Sadist

During the course of the analysis, it became clear that certain online predators openly expressed
fantasies of violent rape, brutality and other sadistic tendencies. While Hall and Hall point out
that “Fifty percent to 70% of pedophiles [sic] can be diagnosed as having another paraphilia,
such as frotteurism [rubbing up against another person], exhibitionism, voyeurism, or sadism.”
(2007, 458). Wolak et al (2008, 119) maintain that online predators, in particular, are not
amongst this minority of child sexual offenders with sadism, owing to the patience, time and
planning involved in persuading and grooming a child; sadists are described as not having the
necessary interpersonal skills to form the long-term relationships necessary for online sexual
grooming. Sadists are adept at manipulation and conning victims to gain their trust, however this
is done in a short-term way with a lot of long-term planning, but not necessarily long-term
grooming or interaction with the victim (csbsju 2010 para. 45, 49). However, IRC chatrooms
such as the ones studied also function as an outlet for sexual aggression and frustration. It is not
beyond probability – though difficult to prove – that not only is there a chance that sadistic
                                                     
                                                   73

 
paedophiles will be able to ‘trick’ actual underage users into meeting offline or giving them
access to webcams and so forth, but that they may even learn sexual grooming techniques from
other online predators.

The diagnostic criterion for sexual sadism in the DSM-IV-TR is as follows:

    “Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual
    urges, or behaviors [sic] involving acts (real, not simulated) in which the psychological or
    physical suffering (including humiliation) of the victim is sexually exciting to the
    person.” (American Psychiatric Association 2000, 574).

Of course, most acts online can be considered ‘simulated’, however online abuse can obviously
be a precursor to offline abuse as well as a ‘stopgap’ measure between offline offences, or even a
way to compliment or enhance offline offending. Sexual sadism in paedophiles has not been
explored as thoroughly as sadism in rapists and murderers, perhaps owing to the fact that
fondling, exhibitionism and voyeurism, oral sex, frotteurism and the like are more common
sexual acts in paedophilia than more forceful acts involving penetration (Hall and Hall 2007,
458; Murray 2000, para. 3 and Wolak et al 2007, 114-115), especially as paedophiles tend to use
psychological grooming methods as opposed to the use of force (Hall and Hall 2007, 458).

The interest in sexual sadism from online predators is quite clear—the existence and
participation levels of the IRC-Sadism chatroom is testament to that, as the very theme denotes
domination, captivity and harm. The occurrence of sexual sadism in Nicknames, requests and
advertisements are too common in all chatrooms to analyse with the depth this topic deserves;
however some occurrences stand out and are provided in Transcript 12:

Transcript 12: The Sadist

      IRC-Sadism Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [21:57] <f46for_ped> rape rp anyone?

      IRC-Girl Log, Sunday, April 5, 2009

      [00:00] * pisrag4siko loves extreme throatfucking,finger


                                                    
                                                  74

 
      throatfucking,gagging,choking,slapping,spitting,hair pulling,name calling,puking,snot,piss
      showers, hard extreme throat abuse, getting my lil teeny tanned face ruined, extreme throat n
      face destruction etc....love to be degraded n humiliated by sick nasty OLD mean abusive
      pervs...MAX HARDCORE style !!!! :):)

      IRC-Girl Log, Friday, April 5, 2009

      [14:54] * Rvisher is looking for a roleplay scene involving a young girl used by a police
      officer with force, humilation, and abuse. Message me if interested - detailed roleplayers
      only please.



Other examples exist but are covered under the Profiles section of this study. The police officer
roleplay introduced by ‘Rvisher’ reflects the power assertive rapist (likely to have a traditionally
masculine-oriented job such as a police officer), the anger rapist (preparation for rape can
involve dressing in military fatigues or police uniform) or the sadistic rapist (holding a position
of authority which is easily trusted) profiles in csbsju (2010, para. 19, 26). His/Her request for
detailed roleplay and his/her comparatively good written English also fits the sadism profile, as
sadistic rapists are often intellectual with some college education (csbsju 2010, para. 39).
Studies have found that paedophiles and hebephiles in general have academic difficulties and
lower levels of education (Hall and Hall 2007, 464 and Wolak et al 2008, 119); however it is
recognised that repeat offenders tend to have average or above-average intelligence. Sexual
sadists are repeat offenders, being described in the DSM-IV-TR as “chronic” and the sadistic
activity with a non-consenting partner “...likely to be repeated until the person with Sexual
Sadism is apprehended” (American Psychiatric Association 2000, 573).

Sexually sadistic rapists have an end-goal of killing their victims (csbsju.edu 2010); the DSM-
IV-TR points out that this is the case with severe sadism, especially when coupled with antisocial
personality disorder (American Psychiatric Association 2000, 574). When this occurs in
paedophilia, the crime of child sexual abuse – and the associated definition of a child sexual
abuser – will in all probability cease and the offender reclassified as a sadistic murderer or, if
other factors are met, a serial killer targeting children. Therefore, two categories of sadism must
be established when dealing with online predators—sadism (without murder, as already
discussed) and ‘snuff’.

                                                      
                                                    75

 
Snuff is a term usually used to describe a filmed murder (with or without sexual elements) used
as, and specifically filmed for the purpose of, pornography. The contemporary concept of snuff
was inspired by rumours that the 1976 film Snuff, which depicted the rape, murder and
mutilation of the lead actress, was a depiction of actual events—which the filmmakers
purposefully used as a marketing tool (Donovan 2002, 194). Whether real snuff films exist is not
a matter for exploration here; for an examination of the social perceptions of snuff films,
Donovan’s (2002, 194-198) article provides an excellent analysis.

The concept of snuff exists as a sexual fetish in the chatrooms studied, although not much is
actively said in the public chatrooms about it. However, certain users’ Nicknames reveal this
interest, as can be seen in Transcript 13:

Transcript 13: The Sadist (Snuff Nicknames)

      IRC-Girl Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [16:06] *** snuffgrlie (~llama@124-170-153-114.dyn.iinet.net.au) has joined IRC-Girl

      IRC-Incest Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [01:43] *** _snuffdol (~snuffy@clairedoll.users.undernet.org) has joined IRC-Incest

      IRC-Incest Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [09:08] *** kiddsnuff (~toddlersn@166.65-246-213.ippool.namesco.net) has joined IRC-
      Incest

      IRC-Sadism Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [07:20] *** snuftoy16f (~snufftoy1@cpe-24-166-255-55.cinci.res.rr.com) has joined IRC-
      Sadism



It is doubtful whether the snuff these users’ are interested in are the films, filming snuff or in
being filmed—more the eroticised death the term implies. While not logged, entered or
investigated in any manner, there exists a chatroom on IRC, at the time of writing, called
#!!!!!pedosnuffsex, with the descriptor of “Killing children for sexual pleasure” (this was found
via a general channel search). This chatroom listed only five participants, which reflects snuff as
a niche fetish amongst online predators on IRC.
                                                    
                                                  76

 
The next personality type to be discussed is “The Businessman”.

The Businessman

The ‘businessman’ seems to be a personality type not often explored in current discourse about
online predators—the purposeful, almost clinical online predator who matter-of-factly describes
what he/she is looking for. Examples of this personality type can be found in the Profiles section
(see Transcripts 23 and 38), however he/she is characterised by fairly neutral, functional
language – words such as ‘sex’, ‘young girl’, ‘active parents’ (meaning parents who sexually
abuse) and so forth – with simple requests or advertisements.

It is not known whether these users are more graphic or explicit in private chat, or whether this is
a tactic to both put intended targets at ease or a symptom of a shy, non-assertive personality.
Perhaps, it is simply a methodical way of communicating what they’re seeking and filtering out
unwanted chats. This personality type is troubling in that it is often difficult to classify under
what is currently known of rapists, paedophiles and online predators. Hall and Hall’s (2007,
460) ‘networkers’ would certainly describe some of their activities. However, the personality
traits of the businessman – or why they communicate in the way they do – is an area not often
researched. Of course, often the subject matter of the request also gives away information as to
the personality and profile of the online predator, as with the user ‘isubpups’, who is detailed in
the beastiality section.

The “Pretender” is the next personality type to be considered.

The Pretender

Certain online predators pretend to be underage users or the opposite sex, both for grooming
purposes and for roleplaying and chat (fantasies). Most of these users aren’t obvious or
explicitly posing as such, however some do so in an attempt to stay within the bounds of the law,
as in Transcript 14:




                                                   
                                                 77

 
Transcript 14: The Pretender

      IRC-Incest Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [13:06] * emilyh wonders if there are any women out there who might be interested in a
      rolelplay with me where I'm 13/14

      IRC-Girl Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [09:34] <shywfe> VERY sub wife 28, i dont have kids, like to play young and
      innocent/naive (or just chat)...tell me ur age plz and how young u want me to be

The Analyst Notebook software can be used to detect users who use the same IP address or have
the same information under the Name field in mIRC’s setup and change sex or age; an example
of this can be found in Chapter 6. Due to the complexity of setting up mIRC, accessing
Undernet and perhaps even setting up Tor or other proxies, it can be argued that users below a
certain age – perhaps 10 – would not have the sophistication to take part in these chatrooms.
However, this is ignoring the increasing sophistication of successive generations growing up in a
world where the Internet and other communication technology have always been present.
Certainly users purporting to be very young – below the age of 10 – may indeed be pretenders
but there is never any certainty.

Why online predators take on the role of a victim is not so clear, however paedophiles have an
understanding of the psychology of children and what can be termed a ‘functional empathy’—as
the DSM-IV-TR puts it:

    “Except in cases in which the disorder is associated with Sexual Sadism, the [paedophile]
    may be attentive to the child's needs in order to gain the child's affection, interest, and
    loyalty and to prevent the child from reporting the sexual activity.” (American
    Psychiatric Association 2000, 571).

The grooming techniques, for example those explored in O’Connell (2003, 8-10), includes a
friendship and relationship stage which moves slowly from innocent to sexually charged to
sexually abusive. This ‘functional empathy’ is not true empathy in that the paedophile or online
predator does not feel for the harm he/she is causing the victim—paedophilia is egosyntonic and
the paedophile does not see his/her sexual interest in children as a problem (American
                                                     
                                                   78

 
Psychiatric Association 2000, 571). It can therefore be speculated that an online predator may
enjoy another online predator’s abuse of his/her fictitious underage character, either in emulating
the fantasy that the victim is ‘into it’ or seductive or, perhaps more disturbingly, in emulating the
pain and suffering caused by the abuse.

The accompanying paraphilia which was dominant in the chatrooms is discussed in the
“Beastiality” section.




Beastiality

In the course of the chatroom analysis, it became apparent that other paraphilias are present in
concert with the main themes of the chatrooms studied. While a comprehensive list of the
paraphilias encountered is impossible without deeper investigation and within the boundaries of
this study, the paraphilia of beastiality stands out.

Beastiality is the term describing sexual acts on animals, as opposed to zoophilia which is
considered to mean a sexual ‘relationship’ – or romantic love, an actual exclusive preference –
for animals (Earls and Lalumière 2002, 84). As can be seen in Transcript 15, beastiality occurs
as a fetish throughout the chatrooms studied, usually in the form of online predators wanting to
discuss or fantasise about children with animals:

Transcript 15: Beastiality

      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, 2 April

      [02:02] <IPozKid> anybody like animals?
      [02:03] <Timmmmmmmmm> yeah... other animals
      [02:03] <Timmmmmmmmm> and SICK fucks........

      IRC-Girl Log, Saturday, 4 April

      [13:41] <rogr29> any girls out there ever been sexual with a dog or curious about it? or any
      proud parents of a k9 girl?

      IRC-Sadism Log, Friday, 3 April



                                                     
                                                   79

 
      [06:35] <beastiality> man 43 looking for girls between 12 and 15,who are curious or active
      in animal sex.No traders,roleplayers or pretenders.i also want pictures of you,if you dont
      have then dont reply,only nude or action pictures.



The comments in relation to ‘IPozKid’s’ request is interesting and the sentiment has been
repeated by other online predators in other instances, which seems to indicate that beastiality is
considered more despicable than sadism—again demonstrating the egosyntonic nature of
paedophilia. At other times, URLs of images depicting children involved in beastiality are
shared in the public chatroom and discussed, as in Transcript 16:

Transcript 16: Beastiality (Child Pornography and Comments)

      IRC-Sadism Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [08:22]   <annarpx> http://www.postimage.org/image.php?v=CODE
      [08:23]   <sheriXdres> i wish more that series what available
      [08:23]   <FkHrHd> great little dog cock sucker
      [08:23]   <Susi13Femal> her pic are from her vids
      [08:24]   <Giant47> where do you get the vids?
      [08:24]   <FkHrHd> she's really tasting that dog meat
      [08:24]   <Susi13Femal> on internet where you et all the other stuf
      [08:25]   <Giant14> easier said than done
      [08:25]   <Susi13Femal> yes, werry esy
      [08:25]   <Giant14> not for me
      [08:26]   <sheriXdres> someone have the vid in question? giga?
      [08:26]   <drtyman> what not for you?
      [08:26]   <Susi13Femal> well you got here? thats harder than get vids he he
      [08:26]   <Giant14> i say again not for me i am an internet moron lol
      [08:27]   <drtyman> oic...not easy for you



In this case the concept of a child (presumably from the description of her as ‘little’) being
sexual with an animal is generally approved, possibly because IRC-Sadism is a more sadism-
oriented chatroom. Sadism, and sexual abuse or violence, has been linked to beastiality and
animal cruelty in various studies, recently in Hensley, Tallichet and Singer (2006, 910-923) who
concluded that their study found:


                                                     
                                                   80

 
    “...that the bestialic [sic] males [the sample prison population who filled out a
    questionnaire were more likely to commit crimes against humans supports those studies
    showing that individuals who commit bestiality [sic] tend to demonstrate a diminished
    capacity for appropriately relating to other humans and a tendency toward aggressing
    against them. Having found support for the link between bestiality [sic] and interpersonal
    violence in our sample also lends credence to the sexually polymorphous theory whereby
    sexuality and aggression have become developmentally fused in these individuals.”

This corresponds to the Integrated Theory of child sexual abuse discussed by Craven, Brown and
Gilchrist (2003, 289). Beastiality has also been identified in the early lives of serial killers, the
link between beastiality and these sadistic crimes being termed ‘zoosadism’ (Williams and
Weinberg 2003, 524). In the context of paedophilia and online predators, zoosadism presents
itself as a fantasy or interest in forcing children to perform sexual acts on animals—and in the
instance in Transcript 17, as a replacement for actual human children in sexual abuse:

Transcript 17: Beastiality (Zoosadism)

      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [12:20] <isubpup> anyone want to chat about using young puppies inplace of toddlers for
      sex



This user may be using puppies as a precursor to abusing children, perhaps to get beyond any
inhibition he or she may have. This could also be intended to avoid the harsher legal punishment
for child sexual abuse of this nature or even simply as a fantasy online. The zoosadism of the
user, however, is readily apparent and made especially disturbing by the age of the canines and
humans mentioned.

These personality types and characteristic paraphilias apply to various categories of users
(archetypes), which are presented in the next section.




                                                    
                                                  81

 
Archetypes

Groomers

The term ‘groomers’ will be used to refer to online predators involved in child sexual grooming,
preparing underage users for sexual encounters offline; Hall and Hall (2007, 460) give these
online predators the more general label of ‘stalkers’. Groomers will tend to be of the gentleman
rapist or pretender personality types, as a gentle and gradual approach is a usual tactic of
groomers to gain the trust of their underage targets (O’Connell 2003, 8-10 and Eichenwald 2005,
para. 35-38). Groomers can be quite subtle; the suspected groomer in Transcript 18, ‘Barie’,
advertised for young girls or their mothers to chat to him for comfort:

Transcript 18: Groomer


      IRC-Girl Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [13:14] <Barie> any moms or overweight daughters who want to chat with dad 55 pm me I
      have a soft and also a strong shoulder to lean on



‘Barie’ advertised on IRC-Incest, IRC-Girl and IRC-Kids on two occasions, once immediately
upon entering and the second time 38 minutes later; he was online in the three chatrooms for a
total of 14 hours and 11 minutes between Saturday 4 April and Sunday 5 April. On further
analysis of ‘Barie’s’ user details it would appear that he is located in Canada and is accessing the
Internet through Rogers Communications Inc., a Canadian telecommunications company.
‘Barie’ quit due to a network error and did not attempt to reconnect to IRC during the logging
period.

‘Barie’s’ language is quite gentle—he used the term ‘overweight’ instead of a more derogatory
term such as ‘fat’, as well as describing himself as providing a ‘soft and strong shoulder’.
Mitchel et. al. (2001, 3013) found that ‘troubled’ underage Internet users were more at risk of
being sexually solicited and while Jayawardena and Broadhurst’s (2007, 241) research
questioned this popular perception, ‘Barie’s’ targeting of ‘overweight daughters’ can be seen as
an awareness of the vulnerability of young girls with body image issues. His request is quite

                                                   
                                                 82

 
non-sexualised, yet the chatrooms he advertises in – apart from IRC-Kids – are explicitly themed
for both underage sex and mother-daughter incest. ‘Barie’s’ language fits into McCabe and
Wauchope’s (2005, 240) “caring, persuasion, reassurance” theme of the language used by sex
offenders, categorised by a suggestion that ‘Barie’ is worried about his target victims and wants
to provide comfort and reassurance. From these characteristics it seems likely that ‘Barie’ is a
gentleman predator and as such, quite an effective groomer.

While ‘Barie’ is a direct groomer, there are also indirect groomers who network with other
online predators, underage users or those posing as underage users – pretenders – in order to
undertake child sexual grooming. This is quite rare in the open chatroom, however one notable
example in Transcript 19 stands out:

Transcript 19: Groomer (Age and Sex change)

      IRC-Kids Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      16:00 <Timmmmmmmmm> http://URL.com/nymp26_29.jpg

      16:03 <Cindy5yRP> i just have one comment for that pic Tim... anyone have any scissors?

      17:37 <Cindy5yRP> who says moms cant support their preteen girls to wear gstring
      bathing suits, hopefully to get gang raped far away
      http://funksoulbrother.filesurf.ru/CODE/CODE/CODE/CODE/filename.jpg

      IRC-Girl Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [13:32] *** Cindy5yRP (~asdfas@190.131.1.201)              has joined IRC-Girl

      [13:32] *** Cindy5yRP is now known as trickinAgir

      [13:35] * trickinAgir looking for man/woman who can pretend be a girl around 9 yo as my
      friend, to chat in msn with a real preteen girl to trick her into nasty stuff. Candidates must
      have pacience, spanish language skills, prefarably some vids or pics of real preteen girls to
      pretend be one of them when chatting with the REAL girl



‘Cindy5yRP’ (Cindy) is a pretender who begins activity within the logged chatrooms by
commenting on an image posted by another user, then posting one of her own. Her Nickname
suggests that she is available to roleplay as a five year old girl called Cindy; by the nature of her
comments, the sophistication of her language and her lack of presence in any female-oriented
                                                      
                                                    83

 
chatrooms such as IRC-Incest, it can be surmised that she is, in fact, male. For the purposes of
simplification, however, this user will continue to be referred to as female.

The next day – Thursday 2 April – Cindy has joined the channel IRC-Girl and changed her
Nickname to ‘trickinAgir’, presumably intending to change her Nickname to ‘trickinAgirl’ but
prevented from doing so by Undernet’s 12-character limit on Nicknames. Under this Nickname,
she requests the help of another online predator to groom an underage girl. She is quite
methodical and thorough in her request, specifying Spanish language skills and props in the way
of videos and images to deceive the intended target. Cindy’s IP address resolves to Ecuador
Telecom, which may be a possible connection behind her request for a Spanish-speaker,
although she seems fairly fluent in English as well.

The “Dealer” archetype will now be discussed.

Dealers

There are three types of online predator who request direct offline contact—those who request
underage users to contact him/ her to talk to with a view to arranging an offline sexual encounter
(without necessarily grooming); those who request arrangements where money is exchanged for
offline sexual encounters and those who request to make arrangements of some sort, not
involving money, for offline sexual encounters. This last category of online predators will be
termed ‘dealers’. While dealers – and negotiators detailed in the following section – would fall
under the broad category of ‘stalkers’ (Hall and Hall, 2007, 460), they are quite removed from
groomers and other types of online predators who attempt to gain physical access to children.
Dealers communicate on a direct, equal footing with other online predators to create child sexual
abuse situations; because of this equal footing, most dealers fit into the businessman personality
type, which is evidenced by the dealers present in the logged chatrooms.

A particularly active dealer in all four chatrooms monitored is Impregnator, who repeats
variations of the following request in Transcript 20:




                                                   
                                                 84

 
Transcript 20: Dealers

     IRC-Girl Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

     [11:25] <Impregnator> 30/m Looking to take a girls virginity or try to get them preg
     message me if your interested i am serious or i will watch the deed happen live in
     Peterborough parents can watch i will be a sperm donor if needed and will also do moms
     looking for active parents 2 love to see a dad put a seed in his kid

     IRC-Incest Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

     [03:25] <Impregnator> 30/m Looking to take a girls virginity or try to get them preg
     message me if your interested i am serious or i will watch the deed happen live near toronto
     parents can watch i will be a sperm donor if needed and will also do moms looking for active
     parents 2 also want to see hi seed his own daughter aunts and unclees accepted 30/m
     Looking to take a girls virginity or try to get them preg message me if your int

     [03:25] <Impregnator> erested i am serious or i will watch the deed happen live near
     toronto parents can watch i will be a sperm donor if needed and will also do moms looking
     for active parents 2 also want to see hi seed his own daughter aunts and unclees accepted



‘Impregnator’ appears in IRC-Girl on Wednesday 1, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 April, in IRC-
Incest from Wednesday 1 to Saturday 4 April, in IRC-Kids from Thursday 2 to Saturday 4 April
and in IRC-Sadism from Wednesday 1 to Saturday 4 April. He rarely deviates from his
advertisement except for the following comment in Transcript 21:

Transcript 21: Dealers (Revealing Deviation from Advertisement)

     IRC-Girl Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

     [15:12] <Impregnator> Looking for a girl ages 10+ and a guy what ever age to go on cam
     and fuck i am depressed and need somethign to cheer me up my gf left me today my parents
     told me to move out so i am fucked

     IRC-Girl Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

     [14:57] <Impregnator> i feel like i should not live any more no one wants me my parents are
     angery with me no one really cars for me i should die :(

     [14:57] <Impregnator> tg the water in canada is still cold ehough to kill

     [15:00] <Impregnator> i feel like i should not live any more no one wants me my parents are
     angery with me no one really cars for me i should die :(

                                                     
                                                   85

 
      [15:00] <Impregnator> tg the water in canada is still cold ehough to kill

      Note: “tg” is an Internet acronym for ‘thank god’.



According to his advertisement, ‘Impregnator’ is from Peterborough, a city near Toronto in
Canada. His ISP information indicates he is using Bell Canada, one of Canada’s largest
telecommunications companies (Bell.ca 2010). He goes through several Nickname changes in
the logged period, as can be seen in Transcript 22:

Transcript 22: Dealers (Nickname Changes)

      IRC-Girl Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [04:37] *** Impregnator is now known as HymenHnter

      [16:48] *** Impregnator is now known as m30_4girl

      IRC-Incest Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [13:28] *** Impregnator is now known as TorontoGy

      Note: these changes are reflected in the other chatrooms Impregnator was active in
      simultaneously on the same times and days—Undernet only allows one Nickname at a time.



As ‘HymenHnter’, he did not say anything in the public chatrooms; however as ‘m30_4girl’ he
repeated the same advertisement. His language is very functional and he is clearly seeking an
arrangement with other online predators rather than seeking to groom underage users directly.
The language patterns exhibited by users such as ‘Impregnator’ reveal he is of the businessman
personality type, although they do not correspond with those identified by McCabe and
Wauchope (2005, 240-241) as he is addressing those he considers equals; his words are
functional, direct and practical.

His comments about depression and suicide in IRC-Girl on Wednesday 1 and Saturday 4 April
seem to be child-like in comparison, although the same amount of carelessness in grammar,
                                                      
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punctuation and spelling – even adjusting for typing errors – are evident. This may indicate he is
younger than his claimed age, has an immature disposition or the comments are an attempt to
elicit a sympathetic response, perhaps as a way of attracting underage users or other online
predators. If it is genuine, this rare departure from his standard advertisements may reflect a
personality trait of paedophiles to “experience feelings of inferiority, isolation or loneliness, low
self-esteem, internal dysphoria, and emotional immaturity.” (Hall and Hall 2005, 462). Hall and
Hall go on to comment:

    “They have difficulty with mature age-appropriate interpersonal interactions, particularly
    because of their reduced assertiveness, elevated levels of passive-aggressivity, and
    increased anger or hostility. These traits lead to difficulty dealing with painful affect,
    which results in the excessive use of the major defence mechanisms of intellectualization,
    denial, cognitive distortion (eg, manipulation of fact), and rationalization. Even though
    pedophiles [sic] often have difficulty with interpersonal relationships, 50% or more will
    marry at some point in their lives.” (2005, 462)

This seems to offer an explanation, if true, of ‘Impregnator’s’ problems with his girlfriend and
parents and his reactions to them—he appears to be turning towards his deviant interests in
children as a way of dealing with, ignoring or even making use of his other issues.

A more coherent example of a dealer is ‘LoveYngGirl’, who repeats the following advertisement
in Transcript 23 without any alteration:

Transcript 23: Dealers (The Businessman Personality Type)

      IRC-Girl Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [11:25] <LoveYngGirl> I am a 51 yr old man, looking to have a serious chat with girls or
      parents of young girls that would want them to be in a long term relationship with an older
      man. Must be in the US and be willing to consider meeting in real life. Sorry, not interested
      in RP or trading. If interested, please /msg LoveYngGirls



‘LoveYngGirls’ is active in IRC-Sadism and IRC-Kids during all five days logged and in IRC-
Girl on all days with the exception of Thursday 2 April. His ISP appears to be DSL Extreme
(dslextreme.com 2010), a company based in the United States which offers fibre-optic broadband
                                                      
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connections. He was rarely disconnected during the logging period which may indicate that he is
not using a proxy and that DSL Extreme is the actual ISP he is connecting through, as fibre-optic
connections tend to be more stable than other broadband types.

As with ‘Impregnator’, he is of the businessman personality type—the language is quite
functional, matter-of-fact and direct. Of note is the use of the word ‘relationship’ rather than a
more sexual term. Combined with his Nickname, this seems to indicate a similarity to McCabe
and Wauchope’s (2005, 240) “caring, persuasion, reassurance” theme, as with the user ‘Barie’
highlighted in the Groomer archetype.

Negotiators

As mentioned above, another type of online predator who requests offline sexual contact are the
ones who engage in prostitution—soliciting for sexual encounters in return for money. These
online predators can be termed ‘negotiators’ and usually attempt to negotiate with parents or
other online predators for access to underage users. A particularly disturbing example is
PainMster in Transcript 24:

Transcript 24: Negotiators


      IRC-Incest Log, Sunday, April 5, 2009

      [02:11] <PainMster> Sadist need a young girl(age 5-11)to serve as my slave in my
      country(scandinavia)If you have a daughter/know of a girl we agree on price and period of
      time I can keep her! If you send me a homeless streetgirl - I buy her permanent! You must be
      able to send me the girl! She will be used hard, but no permanent damage.


‘PainMster’ advertised on the last day of logging, Sunday 5 April, and first advertised on IRC-
Kids before simultaneously advertising on IRC-Girl, IRC-Sadism and IRC-Incest. Other than
advertising, his – presuming from the Nickname and language that the user is male – only other
action is to attempt to access an fserver on IRC-Kids; whether this is successful or not it is
impossible to tell. His ISP is apparently Nextgentel.com, a Norwegian company which
corresponds to his claim to be located in Scandinavia, although there is no country called
‘Scandinavia’.


                                                    
                                                  88

 
This advertisement is also bordering on the international sex trade as interested parties appear to
be encouraged to either recruit or kidnap homeless children. The language used by ‘PainMster’
is aggressive and dehumanising although the level his advertisement is aimed at remains on
fairly equal terms; he has traits from the sadist – although not the snuff variant if taken at face-
value – personality type (csbsju 2010, para. 42-51), although he is appealing to equals. It is also
interesting to note the inclusion of the “no permanent damage” reassurance—this may be to
appease any guilt the seller may have about the ultimate fate of the available girl or, more likely,
to aid in avoiding detection of the sexual offences committed against a girl who must be returned
to the other party.

From the other end of this spectrum are the producers of child pornography, for example
‘laurensfren’ in Transcript 25:

Transcript 25: Negotiators (Child Pornography Producers)

      IRC-Kids Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [12:44] <laurensfren> 21m alone for the weekend with my 14yr gf, we make no limits
      custom vids, $ serious only

      [14:07] <laurensfren> anyone know any good pay sites?

      [14:09] <laurensfren> 41m alone for the weekend with my 14yr daughter, we make no
      limits custom vids, $ serious only



As with the previous user ‘trickinAgirl’, the Nickname ‘laurensfren’ was obviously intended to
be ‘laurensfriend’. He was active in IRC-Kids, IRC-Sadism and IRC-Girl on Saturday 4 April,
entering IRC-Kids first and the other two chatrooms a few minutes later. Before he quit IRC, he
changed his age and the relationship to the underage girl he claimed to make videos with, from a
21 year old with a 14 year old girlfriend to a 41 year old father with a 14 year old daughter. This
could mean that the situation he describes is false and, coupled with his request for subscription
to child pornography websites, he may be involved in some sort of phishing scam—a child
sexual abuse version of an advance-fee fraud, only utilising a chatroom instead of email. He is
clearly in the businessman personality type and it can be assumed that most negotiators are, as

                                                    
                                                  89

 
they’re communicating with parents or minors for a functional purpose, usually a transaction.
The use of purposeful and matter-of-fact language would be beneficial in organising such a
transaction.

The ISP information for ‘laurensfrien’ points to Kapper.net, an Austrian website, as the ISP—
this is a proxy server operating on the Tor network, as evidenced in the full hostname in
Transcript 26:

Transcript 26: Negotiators (Tor Hostname)

      IRC-Kids Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [14:30] laurensfren (~lauren_fu@tor-gw.wkwtor.vivi2.kapper.net) Quit

The use of Tor makes this user almost impossible to trace, unless the kapper.net server keeps
access logs and provides investigating agencies with information.

The next archetype are the “Roleplayers”.

Roleplayers

Roleplay is one of the main activities of the chatroom users within all of the chatrooms and fits
Hall and Hall’s (2007, 460) ‘cruisers’ type. Roleplay can involve real underage users and online
predators posing as underage users in characters who are depicted in acts of abuse. While
roleplay is primarily a way of acting out fantasies, it is not inconceivable that it may be used for
sexual grooming—if the online predator poses as an underage user to sexualise the conversation
with another underage user.

Advertisements and requests for roleplay are numerous and common in the chatrooms logged,
however a few examples stand out. One, in Transcript 27, is a particularly sadistic request by
‘BrutalBizaR’:




                                                   
                                                 90

 
Transcript 27: Roleplayers

      IRC-Sadism Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [03:54] <BrutalBizaR> Hi there any girls/women/moms in here who like to roleplay about
      getting gangraped hurt humiliated and degraded especially orally and with out to many limits
      then please msg me to



‘BrutalBizaR’ was active in all four logged chatrooms during Friday 3 and Saturday 4 April and
did not deviate from the request above. His ISP information indicated he was using the 3
broadband network in Denmark; whether this is a proxy or his actual ISP is not readily apparent.

It is unclear what function roleplay plays for a sadistic online predator, although it is argued that
child pornography and online activities “allows an individual to operationalize [sic] sexual
fantasies that would otherwise have self-extinguished if it were not for the immediate feedback
provided by on-line [sic] interactions.” (Quayle and Taylor 2002, 867). For online predators that
do not have immediate access to potential victims or opportunities offline, roleplay and cybersex
may encourage their ‘drive’ for underage sex.

There are also those who seem to enjoy more detailed roleplays with involved ‘scenes’ – a term
used in the chatrooms originating from the consensual and above-age ‘Bondage and Discipline,
Sado-Masochism’ lifestyle (Williams 2006, 337), the link to which is explored in Chapter 2 – or
storylines, characterisation and other elements which are not essential to purely sexual
roleplaying or cybersex, as can be seen in Transcript 28:

Transcript 28: Roleplayers (Detailed Scenarios)

      IRC-Sadism Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [13:27] * Dad48-RP reads in the newspaper an ad by a young girl, offering herself for sex in
      return for a good place to live. she says even though that she is underage, she has her mom's
      consent. she is also looking for a man who can be like a father to her (message me to play)

      [13:34] * Dad48-RP comes home with his gf who is your age. You are happy your dad has
      someone since mom left, but you want to also be part of his life...you see she gives him a
      cheap slut and sex all the time...you are not jealous, but you want to be as important to him
      as she is (message me to play it)

                                                      
                                                    91

 
      [16:36] * Dad48-RP is looking for any daughter ages 12 and up to role-play dad's private
      little princess and fuck toy...slow and descriptive scenes. if you wish to play innocent and
      naive and want quick scenes, do not message me please

      [16:53] * Dad48-RP walks in at a party with his daughter, who is dressed preciselike like
      private sex toys dress. he sits down and looks around as the host brings in the women he
      hired for the evening. among those women , he sees a young girl who is not getting any
      attention for her age (msg me to play)

      [17:56] * Dad-48-RP would like to play a retired porn actor, married to one of his previous
      partners (she can be either young or old) and a new actress comes to see me so she asks me
      to do one movie with her, since no other actors want to do with her

      IRC-Sadism Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [02:06] Dad-48-RP would like to play a scene where he is a retired porn actor who did some
      movies with underage girls and now he married one of them. he gets a visit from a girl who
      wants to start but no one would go with her because of her age. (msg me to play it)



‘Dad48-RP’ uses Videotron.ca, which is an ISP servicing Quebec, Canada. It is unlikely that
this is a proxy as he uses the same ISP on both Thursday 2 and Friday 3 April.

This request conveys something more than instant sexual gratification—‘Dad48-RP’ has quite
specific situations in mind which he wants to play out in fantasy. This may mean that he is
involved in, has read about or seen similar situations; this roleplay involves more subtlety and
would seem to require an ‘acted-out’ sexual grooming of an underage party. The language he
uses is closer to McCabe and Wauchope’s (2005, 240) “sexually abusive or explicit language
theme”, although it is not overly sadistic in nature—his personality type is somewhere between
the gentleman predator and the sadist.

More unusual requests for roleplay also arise, such as the following in Transcript 29 by RichSlut:

Transcript 29: Roleplayers (Unusual)

      IRC-Incest Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [05:37] * RichSlut is looking to chat about one of four topics: 1) what life would be like if
      we were in an incestuous relationship (parent/child) and we were filthy rich, that we could

                                                      
                                                    92

 
      do whatever we wanted 2) a story of you being a formal dress designer with me as your
      model. you don't hesistate to design very slutty dressing (ex: a dress that has one breast fully
      exposed) i want it to be very artistic

      [05:37] * RichSlut 3) a chat about what life would be like if we had 50ish cocks available at
      all times, and you/i wanted us to become true cock suckers 4) or possibly just a fun lesbian
      scene of two girls playing on my bed, only there'd be no orgasms or talk of getting wet



This user’s ISP information points towards ltdomains.com, which is a server in the United States
hosted by a company called Network Solutions. It is more than likely a proxy server. The user
was online in one logged chatroom, IRC-Incest, on Friday 3 April and left only the message
quoted above once.

It is difficult to ascertain the true sex of the user, however the specific request for sexual play
without certain sexual functions – “orgasms or talk of getting wet” – makes this request truly
stand out. It is entirely possible, given the mother-daughter incest-oriented chatroom the request
was posted in, that the poster is female and may consider the unwanted sexual functions to be
part of more male-female online sexual roleplay. The reference to fellatio is also interesting in
this regard and the humiliation and exposure inherent in the second suggested scenario perhaps
points towards the “male accompanied” typology of female child sex offenders described by Hall
and Hall (2007, 459). There is, though, equal chance it is a rare type of male online predator,
although the majority of explicitly male online predators in the four chatrooms tend towards
more conventional descriptions of abuse.

Networkers

Networking between online predators is a common occurrence in the chatrooms logged, although
due to the difficulty in conducting primary research on this phenomenon without researcher
interaction with online predators in online environments, it is one which hasn’t been fully
explored—with perhaps O’Connell’s (2003) research being a rare exception. As a result, the
personality types and language used in networking is an area which requires further study.

The perceived and real anonymity of IRC chatrooms, especially un-moderated ones such as those
logged for this study, encourages networking between online predators, although the bulk of
                                                       
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such discussions would take place in private chat. However, networking does take place in open
discussions between online predators and much intelligence can be gathered from this, as seen in
Transcript 30:

Transcript 30: Networkers

      IRC-Incest Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [13:06] <lissa> one of these days, we'll have to put some effort into growing that channel....
      ops are a good thing
      [13:06] <nakdbeth> as long as they take out the trash they are
      [13:08] <lissa> well, thats part of the growing part... having enough ops that one is present
      to apply the boot ;)
      [13:10] <nakdbeth> it is difficult to get full coverage
      [13:12] <lissa> it is...that was what started the downhill spiral here... too often with ops that
      weren't here...
      [13:13] <nakdbeth> the channel owner here was an asshole and then just quit
      [13:14] <lissa> well there was a lot of fighting between some of the ops that I think didn't
      help either
      [13:15] <nakdbeth> true
      [13:15] <nakdbeth> and the war with the dalnet channel didnt help
      [13:15] <nakdbeth> ;)
      [13:16] <lissa> dal... wow been a few years since I was on dal... thought they dided like ef
      LOL
      [13:21] <nakdbeth> no the dalnet channel still exists and actually has ops
      [13:23] <lissa> wow ! thats quite the comeback for them... thought they were as dead as
      efnet got
      [13:26] <nakdbeth> there arent as many as here but there isnt the garbage either
      [13:27] <lissa> thats what I see here... even one op, part time could perm-ban a lot of these
      idiots
      [13:28] <nakdbeth> over there it is usually at least two bot ops
      [13:28] <nakdbeth> keeps things nice and tidy
      [13:29] <nakdbeth> it could be here if someone wanted to pick up ownership of the channel
      [13:30] <lissa> or work on migrating the right ones here.... somehwere else ;)
      [13:33] <nakdbeth> good luck with that
      [13:34] <lissa> wishful thinking hun...wishful thinking is all
      [13:34] <nakdbeth> that i know



This conversation reveals some of the history behind child sexual abuse chatrooms on IRC.
Reference is made to EFnet, one of the oldest IRC networks (EFnet.org 2010), and DALNet,
another large IRC network which suffered from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
(basically where every available connection to the network was ‘flooded’ by malign sources,
blocking off legitimate users) in 2002, which resulted in users unable to connect to its servers
                                                       
                                                     94

 
(Emma 2002). This caused a mass-migration of DALNet users to other networks. A cursory
look at the chatroom listings for DALNet using the keywords ‘girl’ and ‘!’ reveals the presence
of at least two child sexual abuse-themed chatrooms with a smaller but sizeable participant-base.
However, these chatrooms are moderated and the official message one reads is: “Repeat after
me, BotServ: Age 16+,Fantasy Only, NO Pic Trading, AutoGreets, Cams, Clones, Spamming,
Underage Nicks, Web ads, Onjoins,F-Serves nor FTP's, 15 mins between trolling ads.”
(DAL.Net 2010). This does not necessarily mean that users are 16 years of age and over, simply
that users are not explicit in their Nicknames if they are, in fact, underage.

Requests to talk to other online predators about child abuse and child pornography are also part
of the public chat, such as in Transcript 31:

Transcript 31: Networkers (Child Sexual Abuse)

      IRC-Girl Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [12:55] <DadO2FL>       any other active parents that wanna chat, message me

      IRC-Girl Log, Sunday, April 5, 2009

      [02:54] <DadO2FL>       active dad o 2 here, any other active message me

      IRC-Kids Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [17:49] <grlaslvr> anyone want to talk about their daughters,sisters,neices with a 30/m
      single? msg me



The first networker, ‘DadO2FL’, was active in IRC-Girl, IRC-Sadism and IRC-Kids on Saturday
4 and Sunday 5 April. He began with the above request and continued requesting that any other
parents with children contact him for webcam sessions with his own children and himself. The
second networker, ‘grlasslvr’, was active in the same chatrooms on Wednesday 1 to Friday 3
April and in IRC-Incest on Thursday 2 to Friday 3 April.

Another use for networking with other online predators is to reinforce fantasies—as with
roleplay, a way to encourage the ‘drive’ for deviant interests. This can be seen in the following
request by ‘LuvKidBut’ in Transcript 32:

                                                     
                                                   95

 
Transcript 32: Networkers (Fantasies)


      IRC-Sadism Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [03:30] <LuvKidBut> Anyone here want to chat about rape fantasies involving little kids,
      especially family members? Msg me.



This user was already connected to Undernet when the logging began on Wednesday 1April,
then connected and disconnected from IRC-Sadism on Thursday 2 and Saturday 4 April. He was
active in the same previously mentioned chatrooms.

‘LuvKidBut’ implicitly wants to network with other abusers as opposed to victims or potential
victims. The specification for incest fantasies – and presumably the real cases of incest which
‘DadO2FL’ and ‘grlasslvr’ were seeking – is interesting—perhaps indicating the availability of
children in the user’s family or perhaps reflecting the user’s particular fetish. Incest is a
commonly recurring theme in all logged chatrooms – obviously in the case of IRC-Incest –
indicating the prevalence of, and interest in, this category of child sexual abuse. Intercourse is
more common in cases of incest where the victims are older children or adolescents (Hall and
Hall 2007, 458); it is difficult to ascertain the exact age range the above user means when he/she
refers to ‘little kids’.

As reflected in the findings of O’Connell (2003, 7), advice is given by online predators to other
online predators on avoiding detection and grooming. A recurring message in all chatrooms
logged during all five days can be seen in Transcript 33, about a secure IRC network using Tor:

Transcript 33: Networkers (Information)

      IRC-Girl Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [13:17] <AnnonmeIRC> Join OnionNet - The NEW ANONYMOUS and SECURE IRC-
      Network :: Read more here: http://onionnet.funpic.de/

      [13:17] <AnnonmeIRC> We provide ANONYMOUS FILE SHARING, ANONYMOUS
      CHATTING and ONTOPIC STUFF for everyone!!!

      Note: Bolded sections appeared highlighted in different colours for emphasis on mIRC

                                                    
                                                  96

 
AnnonmeIRC repeated this advertisement in all of the logged channels during all five days and
from the ISP information and IP address he/she displays, is using a proxy service – probably Tor
– to connect to Undernet. The first ISP information points to Comcast, a cable television and
Internet company in the United States, and the second IP address resolved to a location in
Denmark.

As explained in Chapter 2, anonymity services such as Tor can be used to host virtually any
Internet service or protocol; instead of utilising Tor as a proxy server to connect to Undernet, the
advertised functionality above uses Tor to directly host an entire secure IRC network, OnionNet.
Using OnionNet, online predators can carry out the same activities as on Undernet with greater
safety and anonymity and much less chance of detection.

There is also more explicit advice on conducting offline abuse and grooming within the public
chatrooms as well, as seen in Transcript 34:

Transcript 34: Networkers (Advice)

      IRC-Girl Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [19:31] <VoyerDad> give her all the soda she wants and then tell her the bathroom is out of
      service but you will hold a bucket for her
      [19:31] <VoyerDad> works great on a row boat too



‘VoyerDad’ appears in IRC-Girl and IRC-Kids, although he does not participate openly in the
latter; both appearances were on Saturday 4 April. The above comments were the only ones
made by this user in public, therefore it may be a ‘lure’ for further conversation with other online
predators. This sort of advice was fairly uncommon in the logged chatrooms and would be more
likely to take place within private chat.

Another archetype for consideration is the “Chat Requestor”.

Chat Requestors

The most common type of request in the chatrooms logged were requests for private chat. These
closely follow Sibley and Heath’s (2004, 231-239) prototypical structure of:

                                                    
                                                  97

 
    “(a) a target specifier, e.g., “any girls”;

    (b) the communication request itself, e.g., “wanna chat”;

    (c) a self-identifier, e.g., “to a guy”; and

    (d) a communication directive, e.g., “msg me!”” (Sibley and Heath 2004, 231).

The majority of the targets for such requests are female, which corresponds to Sibley and
Heath’s (2004, 238) findings as well as the statistical evidence that girls form the majority of
victims of child sexual abuse (Murray 2001, para. 1). Chat requests are one of the key tools used
by online predators engaged in child sexual grooming, however since the content of the
chatrooms studied here quite explicitly deal with child sexual abuse, these chat requestors are
more graphic and obvious in their intentions. Examples of such chat requests are provided in
Transcript 35:

Transcript 35: Chat Requestors

      IRC-Girl Log, Friday, April 3, 2009
      thinks about it , come see me!
      [00:34] <Shvd4LilGrl> Pedo Male wanting any girls 14 and under or any moms or dads with
      young girls who want to chat, pls msg means ‘please message’ or no tits message’, “pvt”
      Note: “Msg” means ‘message’, “pm” me, girls who have smallor ‘privateare welcome also,
      means ‘private [chat]’.
      IRC-Incest Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [07:31] <PntyhosBoy> any girls or moms wana chat with a very naughty sissy boy?? pvt me
      pretty please

      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [15:09] <raven25> if any girls want to be trained pm me 18 m us

      IRC-Sadism Log, Sunday, April 5, 2009

      [03:09] <dremer22>   Hi i am a 22 year old guy who would love to chat with moms
      around my age who wants to raise their daughter into sex, or any girl around my age that



These are a random selection of repeated requests for private chat within the public chatrooms
researched. The users repeat their request until an interested party initiates a private chat with
them or they disconnect from the chatrooms. Some requests and advertisements are automated
                                                     
                                                   98

 
and will continue to repeat regardless of whether there are any responses, at least until they are
turned off. These chat requestors encompass the range of personality types and profiles of online
predators and offline paedophiles, from the gentleman predator to the sadist with all levels of
aggression and all manner of sexual interests in between. This makes profiling this archetype of
online predators almost impossible; the patterns of the chat request seem to be governed by the
medium and the traditions surrounding that medium.

The “Posters” are another archetype.

Posters

Child pornography was posted in all of the chatrooms logged in this study, reflecting the findings
of primary research on child sexual abuse themed chatrooms such as that conducted by
O’Connell (2003, 7). Although these URL links to images (ending in Filename.jpg, for example)
were not investigated in this study for legal and ethical reasons, the comments surrounding them
reveal the nature of what the images depict, for example in Transcript 36:

Transcript 36: Posters

      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [12:11] <Lust4StpDtr> i dream of her sometimes
      http://www.postimage.org/image.php?v=CODE
      [12:11] <isubpup> wow huge wad
      [12:12] <Chips> she has nice nipples to play with too, Luvem
      [12:12] <hrnyunc4rp> she cute
      [12:12] <Luvmyng> if i was with her i could shoot that far also
      [12:12] <AmandaBabe> wow
      [12:14] <FkHrHd> would love to see her eat all that
      [12:14] <FkHrHd> she's got such a hot little bod
      [12:15] <Lust4StpDtr> comments? http://www.postimage.org/image.php?v=CODE
      [12:16] <hrnyunc4rp> she likin her loli
      [12:16] <isubpup> well, trained it seems
      [12:16] <Wlfeater> chocolate pop
      [12:16] <Chips> cute too! a sweet little slut!
      [12:16] <Chips> and well trained in swallowing cock
      [12:16] <isubpup> Yeah, love to watch her gaging on that cock
      [12:16] <FkHrHd> cute little mouth to fuck
      [12:17] <FkHrHd> yeah, make her gag
      [12:17] <HrbCat> gorgeous eyes
      [12:17] <whittop> very nice
                                                   
                                                 99

 
Posting seems to serve several functions within these chatrooms, the most obvious being that
posting such images also allows a passive ‘trading’ of child pornography, no doubt feeding into
or starting collections. The users commenting on the posts are quite explicit in their language
and fairly aggressive in their descriptions – for example, the comments by ‘FkHrHd’ and
‘isubpup’, both of whom can be classified by the sadistic personality type (see Transcripts 16 and
17). While it is possible to classify these users using Hall and Hall’s (2007, 460) classification
of ‘masturbators’, it is clear that these users are not passively viewing child pornography; they
may not only be consumers of child pornography, but they may utilise it for child sexual
grooming (O’Connell 2003, 4) and subsequently for the creation of further child pornography
(Eichenwald 2007 and O’Connell 2003, 4). In the context of these chatrooms, child pornography
also functions to encourage the deviant interests of online predators by posting ‘on-topic’
material; this, in turn, encourages discussion and conversation which also fosters a sense of
community and togetherness. This sense of community is important as advertisements and
requests take up the bulk of chatroom communication, often resulting in more community-
minded online predators to lament the lack of conversation, as can be seen in Transcript 37:

Transcript 37: Posters (Community)


      IRC-Kids Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [15:50]   <Dls1> anyone want to chat with a dad with 2yng daughters msg me
      [15:51]   <boredasusua> hey dil dead in here too lol
      [16:30]   <badgirl> so quiet in here
      [16:30]   <aliceRP> Is quiet all over the place
      IRC-Incest Log, Friday, April 3, 2009
      [12:24]   <NesaLovesU> quiet in here tonight
      [12:25]   <nakdbeth> hello NessaLovesU
      [12:25]   <NesaLovesU> Hi nakedbeth :)
      [12:25]   <NesaLovesU> How are you
      [12:25]   <nakdbeth> i am doing fine and yourself?
      [12:26]   <NesaLovesU> Not bad, little bit bored but other than that
      [12:26]   <NesaLovesU> just fine
      [12:27]   <nakdbeth> yeah it is pretty quiet here
      [12:27]   <nakdbeth> at least it is when you put all the idiots on ignore
      [12:27]   <NesaLovesU> so what are you up to?
      [12:28]   <NesaLovesU> haha, so true :D
      [12:28]   <nakdbeth> mostly watching the channel go by
      [12:28]   <NesaLovesU> I'm sorry it hasnt been more eventful :)
                                                        
                                                     100

 
Of course, fear of detection may be the primary reason which keeps users from openly
participating, especially in posting child pornography, and conversing, although enough
revealing information is communicated in advertisements and requests. The profile of
paedophiles highlighted in Hall and Hall (2005, 462) would lend credence to a search for
justification, normalisation, belonging and community by online and offline paedophiles; the
Internet is well-suited for this purpose. The virtual communities built around these chatrooms,
with the perception of anonymity and lack of risk in forming interpersonal relationships,
encourages more openness and discussion. Within the virtual ‘walls’ of this conceptual
sanctuary, the deepest and most secret deviancies can be explored in perceived safety and the
posting of child pornography – especially depicting child specific acts of child sexual abuse as in
the previous examples – encourages the sharing of these hidden desires.

The last archetype for discussion are the “Travellers”.

Travellers

Travellers are online predators who are willing to travel great distances to sexually abuse
underage users they meet online, or arrange with parents or caregivers to meet and abuse their
children. An excellent example of a traveller is ‘Chckster’, who repeats the advertisement in
Transcript 38 in IRC-Girl, IRC-Kids and IRC-Sadism on all five days logged:

Transcript 38: Traveller

      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [11:31] <Chckster->      I’m a 51 yr old man from southern Calif. and maybe traveling alot
      over the next several months for work, including places in Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, Utah,
      Florida, Washington (State), New York and New Jersey. If any girls or parents of girls in or
      near those areas want to chat about possibly meeting, please message me with details about
      yourself and/or daughter, including age and location.

      IRC-Kids Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [14:59] Chckster- (~Chckster@Chckster.users.undernet.org) Quit




                                                     
                                                  101

 
‘Chckster’ is quite careful about hiding his ISP information and uses Undernet’s own
hostmasking service; he appears to have quite a stable broadband service as he rarely has any
disconnections. In the instance above, he has intentionally quit IRC as opposed to being
disconnected through connection instability.

The language he uses is very matter-of-fact and functional and therefore he fits into the
businessman personality type. He only ever alludes to a sexual encounter in wanting to ‘possibly
meet’ a ‘girl’, which is in keeping with his cautious trait—even his Nickname is simply a name
and not a description of himself or what he wants, as opposed to the users ‘Impregnator’ and
‘LoveYngGirl’. He does not depart from the message above to comment on anything else.
Given this level of caution, it is likely that ‘Chckster’ is not indulging in a fantasy but really
seeking to meet with an underage user offline.

Travellers are perhaps one of the most dangerous types of online predators as they are in a
position to travel such great distances and are desperate, naive or reckless enough to do so.
While many online predators in these chatrooms are seeking chat or roleplay, travellers are
expressly seeking meetings, making them more likely to offend directly and physically.
‘Chckster’ is careful with his online activities, which implies he is patient and intelligent; his
neutral language is perhaps on purpose to disguise what could well be a sadistic personality type.

To develop policy and practices against this and other types of online predators, the intelligence
which can be gathered from the analysis of these chatrooms must be explored. The next chapter
will detail the findings from the intelligence gathered during the collation and analysis of the
chatroom data.




                                                     
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                                           Chapter 6:

                   Research Findings – Intelligence Analysis


A large amount of intelligence about online predators and paedophilia on the Internet can be
gained from the analysis of the logged chatrooms. This intelligence can be separated into four
categories: activity within Undernet, other Internet technologies utilised, other networks and
offline intelligence. Each of these categories will now be dealt with individually.




Activity within Undernet

The activity within the logged chatrooms reveals a lot about how online predators operate within
IRC. The use of proxies and other anonymity services constitutes the major hurdle for
investigators in tracking online predators; more and more, even older generations of Internet
users are becoming tech-savvy in keeping secure.

The simplest method of establishing security is using a service such as Tor; by changing the
firewall settings on IRC clients such as mIRC to access the Tor program, users can very simply
disguise their ISP or IP information. As evidenced in this study (see Chapter 4), Undernet has
blocked many Tor proxy servers for various reasons; however, with patience, all a user has to do
is keep changing the Tor servers until he/she finds one which Undernet has not blocked. A
search for users using Tor in the chatrooms reveals multiple instances of Tor access in all of the
chatrooms during the chatroom logging period, as in Transcript 39:

Transcript 39: Evidence of Tor Proxies

      IRC-Kids Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [14:20] raji (debian-tor@92.241.164.68) has joined IRC-Kids

      IRC-Sadism Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [16:50] Domped (debian-tor@pherrex.tor.morphium.info) has joined IRC-Sadism

                                                   
                                                103

 
      IRC-Girl Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [02:37] *** EvlpedM (debian-tor@adsl34-51.lsf.forthnet.gr) has joined IRC-Girl

      IRC-Incest Log, Saturday, April 4, 2009

      [10:15] *** MuscleGodes (~flex@tor-gw.wkwtor.vivi2.kapper.net) has joined IRC-Incest

      IRC-Girl Log, Sunday, April 5, 2009

      [01:08] *** playtme (debian-tor@pherrex.tor.morphium.info) has joined IRC-Girl



It must be noted that some Tor servers do not contain the word ‘tor’ in the ISP information,
making it more difficult to ascertain whether it is a Tor proxy. Of course, Tor is simply one of
the ways of utilising a proxy—programs called ‘proxy scanners’ can scan an IP range for proxies
as well as judge the level of anonymity provided by each identified proxy (Shareware
Connection 2010). Proxies are also listed on websites, although as these are publicly available, it
is presumed that they are eventually banned by networks such as Undernet. Tor remains the
easiest method of utilising a proxy server. Using Analyst’s Notebook, it can be seen in Figure 3
(on page 105) how one user can have several proxies through the course of his or her activity:




                                                   
                                                104

 
Figure 3: Analyst’s Notebook – Graphical Depiction of Proxies



                                   Top@116.28.226.126
                                                                       Top@209.9.237.180




                                                   Link             Link




                                       Link
                                                                             Link
Top@71-12-130-210.dhcp.mtgm.al.charter.com
                                                          DA32yoo                   Top@BAEc28e.bae.pppool.de




                                                                     Link
                                               Link




                                                                    Top@anonymizer.zomg.biz
                     Top@c-68-83-200-235.hsd1.mi.comcast.net


As mentioned in Chapter 4, it is common to find users utilising Undernet’s own host masking
features—either the IP address mask or the virtual hostmask (Undernet 2010, para. 5-6). While
this allows users to remain anonymous in chatrooms, it may be possible to access actual
information about these users through Undernet itself as the network supports the Virtual Global
Taskforce, a combined taskforce of international policing agencies involved in investigating
online child sexual abuse (virtualglobaltaskforce.com 2010).

As previously mentioned, one tactic used by online predators to sexually groom underage users
is to pretend to be younger, or even of the opposite sex. This can also be a mechanism for
fantasising, chat or roleplay. Analyst’s Notebook is also able to show and track this
phenomenon, as seen below in Figure 4:




                                                         
                                                      105

 
Figure 4: Analyst’s Notebook – Graphical Depiction of Age Change



                               norm746@S01060050184af6ab.gv.shawcable.net



                                     Link                 Link




                     Older^M
                                                                 boy12

It is interesting to note, as with the example above, that underage users – or those posing as such
– frequently use all lower-case Nicknames while online predators’ Nicknames tend to be
capitalised. Whether this is for the sake of convenience and ease of identification or to signify
differing levels of power and control, as with a consensual and above-age
Dominance/submission relationship (Williams 2006, 335), is difficult to ascertain; however, both
reasons are likely to be involved.

Spam

As with any other public Internet community, especially without moderation, IRC chatrooms
also get ‘spam’—unsolicited, off-topic messages which are repeated ad nauseum. Some spam
messages are advertisements for other chatrooms or links to websites or images which are off-
topic, but advertised as material the chatroom user may be interested in. Chatrooms dealing with
child sexual abuse are no exception to this, especially since the ones here are un-moderated.
Examples of such spam can be found in Transcript 40:

Transcript 40: Spam

      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [11:21] angela
      http://www.loregate.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=6&Itemid=2
      [11:23] angela New!! http://www.stqou.com/vb/stqou-link.php?p=158

                                                   
                                                106

 
      IRC-Sadism Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [02:49] <ThreeStar> ** **
      [02:49] <ThreeStar> ** This Bot is using PASSIVE DCC MODE. Ask for help if you are
      unable to recieve files. **
      [02:48] <ThreeStar> Total Offered: 6.46 MB Total Transfered: 65.2 MB
      [02:48] <ThreeStar> ** **
      [02:48] <ThreeStar> ** 2 Packs ** 2 of 2 slots open, Queue: 0/20, Record: 35.51KB/s
      [02:48] <ThreeStar> ** Bandwidth Usage ** Current: 0B/s, Record: 35.5KB/s
      [02:48] <ThreeStar> ** To Request A File Type: "/msg ThreeStars xdcc send #x" **
       [02:48] <ThreeStar> #1 11x [ 5M] Wanna Download Kidie Porn??? Try room #WAREZ-
      DIVX and the servers from there!!
      [02:48] <ThreeStars> #2 7x [1.5M] Wanna Download Kidie Porn??? Try room #WAREZ-
      DIVX and the servers from there!!



The websites ‘angela’ is linking to seem to be websites teaching English to Arabic speakers—the
site stqou.com is entirely in Arabic, though. It is difficult to determine what purpose ‘angela’s’
advertisements serve in the chatroom, although it is a possibility this user is present in all IRC
chatrooms without the presence of moderators capable of banning him or her. It is also a
possibility that the bot repeating what looks like a fileserver advertisement and a link to another
IRC chatroom is legitimate, however there is no instance of any user commenting about the
contents of any files transferred from such an fserver.




Other Internet Technologies Utilised

Online predators now have access to Internet technologies which are safer and more secure to
use and gives them easier access to potential victims than ever before. During the course of the
analysis conducted on the logged chatrooms, several Internet technologies were used by online
predators to enhance or add other functionality to their activities. These technologies include
image sharing technologies, technologies to facilitate the trading of child pornography and
instant messengers.




                                                    
                                                 107

 
Image Sharing

The sharing of child pornography images is ideally suited to the IRC environment. Commonly,
images found online are of the ‘jpeg’ web standard, which are compressed image files well-
suited for access through the Internet (Joint Photographic Experts Group 2010, para. 1-6). Most
images found on the Internet are jpegs, and their relatively small file size and high quality
renders them ideal for linking within IRC chatrooms, for discussion or collection; as a result, the
majority of images found in the chatroom logs are of this format.

As a result, URLs of child pornography images are submitted (or ‘posted’) to various chatrooms
and discussed. One of the most common methods of placing these illegal images online is by
using an image host such as PostImage.org (postimage.org 2010), which is described in the
‘About’ section of the website as:

    “PostImage.org was founded in 2004 to provide forums with an easy way to upload
    images for free. PostImage is a very simple, fast, reliable free image host. It's perfect for
    linking to auctions, message boards, blogs, and other websites. PostImage guarantees
    maximum uptime and performance so your image will be here whenever you need it.
    There is no registration or login, all you have to do is submit your picture.”
    (PostImage.org/about.php 2010, para. 1).

The sheer bulk of images posted to it and the challenge of moderating these images would make
it almost impossible for the website owners, or authorities, to keep track of them. Several other
image hosting websites were used, such as filesurf.ru (filesurf.ru 2010) and imgsrc.ru (imgsrc.ru
2010). The latter is interesting as it is a website hosted in Russia with content in English. The
description of the website on its own homepage reads:

    “iMGSRC.RU (short for image source) is a rapidly growing community, dedicated to
    sharing. Photo sharing. Beauty Sharing.
    We've recently reached population of 211000 USERS with total of 17000000 PHOTOS
    uploaded.
    You can browse through our vast collection of all kinds of amateur and professional


                                                    
                                                 108

 
    photos with thousands uploaded daily! Given our advanced search system you will find
    any kind of photo in a second.” (imgsrc.ru 2010, para. 1-3).

It appears this website works on a registration and album system—once a user registers, he or
she receives an album (presumably a folder on the server under the user’s registered name) in
which image files can be uploaded and displayed. The search function on the homepage shows
an option to search for albums without passwords, which signifies that some albums may be
password-protected to maintain security. A couple of the updates on the homepage are also quite
revealing:

    “skinny: Happy New Year! (2008-12-30)
    iMGSRC.RU wishes all the best to all our legit users. We had hard time fighting
    spammers, CP-poster and alike during the whole 2008 year and we will continue to work
    making iMGSRC.RU a better place to live. See you in 2009 and over :) Good luck!”
    (imgsrc.ru 2010, para. 13).

    “skinny: policy enforcements (2009-08-14)
    OK, guys. Let me remind you that iMGSRC.RU is a general photohosting service and if
    you came here in search of CP or to make GT/trade requests you came wrong place. GT
    is not allowed. CP is not allowed. Reposts are not allowed. So stop trades and don't post
    underage nudity or be banned. I warned you.” (imgsrc.ru 2010, para. 8).

The term ‘CP’ in this context means child pornography. It is interesting to note that trading is
occurring within this image hosting service—it is probable that to avoid detection by providing
some sort of description of the contents of a password-protected album, traders may network in
chatrooms such as the ones studied here and trade passwords and URLs to their albums hosted in
imgsrc.ru and similar websites. Again, the sheer bulk of images stored within the imgsrc.ru
servers and its vast user-base would be problematic for moderation, as reflected in the above
comments.

Trading of Child Pornography

While the trading of child pornography does occur within the chatrooms studied, the extent of
this is not as widespread as first thought, possibly because the chatrooms were specifically
                                                  
                                               109

 
themed around sexual activities as opposed to the trading of images or video. However, the most
obvious instance of advertisements for trading was an fserver which ran in IRC-Girl, IRC-Kids
and IRC-Sadism on all five days logged, as in Transcript 41:

Transcript 41: Fserver

      IRC-Girl Log, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

      [12:52] <AlmstFre> [v2.4] Panzer - Trigger: !Leechme Ratio: 1:5 Start Credit: 200 KB
      Desc:12 ANYTHING YOU WANT - ALMOST FREE - BEST RATIO ABOUT SO FAR
      14[Users:0/5]



It is impossible from this description to ascertain the content of this fserver, however the
presence in child sexual abuse-themed rooms indicates a good possibility of child pornography.

A relatively new peer-to-peer software which allows encrypted and secure data transfers between
individuals – similar to fservers but with more security features and a graphical user interface –
is Gigatribe (gigatribe.com 2010). Multiple users on all channels logged, requested trading on
Gigatribe; an example from IRC-Kids can be found in Transcript 42, with repeated requests
omitted:

Transcript 42: Gigatribe Requests


      IRC-Kids Log, Thursday, April 2, as gigatribe``d
      [17:48] *** gigatribe` is now known 2009
      [17:48] *** gigatribe`d is now known as gigatribedad
      [18:04] <gigatrbedad>anyone on giga
      [11:29] <sxybeast12> Pedo Male wanting any girls 14 and under to chat and rp
      [23:30] <SprDad10y> giga anyone?
      [12:06] <nedyng> giga
      [23:38] <nedyng> trade on gigatribe  nick is manson84, he's a dick
      [12:51] <SprDad10y> gui-gon's giga
      [14:08] <bnyon> anyone got a gigatribe
      [14:21] <Lisa> gigatribe anyone?
      [15:34] <zarthart> gigatraders online?
      [17:28] <daddy`> gigatribe anyone?
      [17:47] *** daddy` is now known as gigatribe``




Gigatribe, in a similar way to Bittorrent (bittorrent.com 2010), acts as a method of transfer
between two users—the files being transferred are stored on the users’ computers. This allows
                                                   
                                                110

 
for the potential transfer of an unlimited amount of content, more than is available on any sort of
server, restricted only by the limits of the user’s computer and bandwidth. Decentralisation of
this kind allows Gigatribe to avoid legal responsibilities for the content being shared by users, as
stated on the Gigatribe website:

    “GigaTribe's purpose is to allow people in a community to interact with each other, not
    with strangers.
    If you accept strangers into your network, you run the risk of being exposed to offensive,
    indecent, or even illegal content. In the latter case, it is your duty to report it to the proper
    authorities.
    We are in no position to conduct investigations which should be handled by the police.”
    (Gigatribe 2010, para. 1).

The website goes on to state that any user reported as involved with illegal content would have
his or her account terminated. It is interesting that there is no mention of Gigatribe passing such
information to the relevant authorities.

Using a more centralised approach is Flickr (flickr.com 2010), which allows users to upload
images and videos to share privately or openly, similar to imgsrc.ru. An album from Flickr was
posted once in IRC-Girl, IRC-Kids and IRC-Sadism on Thursday 2 to Wednesday 3 April, as in
Transcript 43:

Transcript 43: Flickr


      IRC-Girl Log, Thursday, April 2, 2009

      [22:14] <thonglovr> http://www.flickr.com/photos/CODE/



However, this merely demonstrates the possibility of using Flickr in this manner, as it is
impossible to determine the contents of the account. The fact that Flickr was only posted once
during the entire period of logging is a good indication that it is better-moderated than imgsrc.ru
or Gigatribe, or its structure is easier to moderate.


                                                     
                                                  111

 
Instant Messengers

Instant Messengers afford online predators privacy and added functionality which greatly
augments the tools he or she has for child sexual grooming or abuse. In fact, most modern
Instant Messenger programs present an integrated suite of functions with which to carry out
almost any aspect of online child sexual abuse.

Instant Messengers are programs which, at the most basic, provide a real-time private
chatroom—similar to IRC chatrooms but composed of a connection between only two users. A
user has a ‘friends list’ attached to their registered account and depending on the user’s chosen
settings, only those on the friends list are able to communicate with them. This provides a
certain degree of privacy which a public chatroom – even with private messaging – cannot
provide, with the added benefit of less distraction for both the online predator and the intended
target.

One of the commonly used Instant Messengers is Yahoo! Messenger (Yahoo!7 Messenger in
Australia), which needs a Yahoo! email account to activate. Once installed and activated, it
allows webcam capability, computer-to-computer voice chat via microphone, photo-sharing with
integration into Flickr (which is also a Yahoo! product), access to chat with users on other
Instant Messenger networks such as MSN and mobile phone integration (yahoo.com 2010).
Yahoo! Messenger is used in the IRC chatrooms for private conversations, as can be seen in
Transcript 44:

Transcript 44: Yahoo and MSN


      IRC-Girl Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [08:46] <brutalde> anyone on yahoo?

      [11:33] * beache is 46 yo M in FL looking for girl to chat or mic on yahoo msn or skype

      IRC-Incest Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [10:42] <dad4voicecha-> any mom with yahoo and a mic msg me for some hot taboo
      cam/mic fun



                                                     
                                                  112

 
    [16:32] <Dad4Voice> dad here. giving hot youngh cam show on yahoo for dirty girls with
    mic...msg me



The main activity on Yahoo! Messenger appears to be voice chat via microphone or the use of
webcam, two activities that presumably act to confirm the sex – and potentially the age – of an
underage user. It is interesting to note that webcam and audio chat are seen as goals within the
grooming process which will lead to an offline sexual encounter. It is likely that a chat starts in
private message then proceeds to Instant Messenger, therefore it is difficult to track using only
the public chatroom data—research methods such as those used by O’Connor (2003) are needed
to fully explore this process; however, certain exchanges in the public chatroom are quite
revealing of what does occur in private message, as can be seen in Transcript 45:

Transcript 45: Grooming and Age/Sex Confirmation

      IRC-Kids Log, Friday, April 3, 2009

      [05:31] * juliejeune is coming silently, looking around with my 10 yo girl face.. my little
      sister on my arms ( a 6 month old baby)....looking all that people and thinking who will want
      have fun with me and my sis...(can speak in french, spanish and english)..is looking for
      someone into long and detailled roleplay, accepting to be guided and able to provide long
      sentences, with complex answers....
      [05:31] <DadyHardon> gosh, juliejeune, I prefer girls who come noisily
      [05:32] <Ntr0x> lmao.. i prefer girls that actually prove they are girls :) Ofcourse Juliejeune
      wont do that.
      [05:32] * juliejeune slaps Nitr0x around a bit with a large trout
      [05:32] <Ntr0x> lmao
      [05:32] <Ntr0x> you can slap me... but im still right :)
      [05:33] <Ntr0x> or you could prove me wrong and add me on msn :)



This simple challenge, put in a fairly friendly way by ‘Ntr0x’ with smiling emoticons, may or
may not be enough to encourage an actual underage user to comply with his or her wishes;
however, this allows a glimpse into the grooming process carried out in private message. It is
unlikely that ‘juliejeune’ is an actual ten year old girl, as her speech patterns, claim of fluency in
three written languages and the nature of her roleplay scene point towards more maturity. Of
course, proof of her age and sex would necessarily involve more than simply a chat on MSN
                                                      
                                                   113

 
Messenger, or Windows Live Messenger (download.live.com/messenger 2010) as it is now
known—a webcam, a microphone and photographs are undoubtedly what ‘Ntr0x’ is seeking.

Windows Live Messenger also integrates a similar functionality to Yahoo! Messenger—in fact,
the two Instant Messenger systems achieved interoperability in 2006 (Microsoft 2006, para. 19).
Webcam, voice chat, photo-sharing and mobile phone integration are now common in many
related communications applications, such as Skype.

Skype (skype.com 2010) is a popular online communications software which has the capability
to make low-cost computer-to-landline and computer-to-mobile phone calls, as well as sharing
the same (free) features as an Instant Messenger (skype.com 2010, para. 4). Although not
mentioned much in the logged chatrooms, certain Nicknames with ‘Skype’, ‘MSN’ or ‘Yahoo’
attest to its use as a tool for online predators—with perhaps the added utility that online predators
may be able to cheaply fund underage users’ contact from the user’s computer to the online
predator’s landline or mobile phone.




Other Networks

It is relatively surprising that the only other secure network publically shared or discussed in the
chatrooms is the Tor network. Freenet (freenetproject.org 2009), for example, seems to be more
decentralised and secure than Tor, especially for the trading of child pornography, however, it is
not discussed or advertised at any stage. It is quite probable, of course, that such information is
shared between online predators in the comparative security of private chat. However, other
networks on IRC are mentioned in passing, as can be seen in Transcript 30 (page 94), which
provides valuable data on the history of child sexual abuse chatrooms in IRC networks.
Currently, Undernet has the greatest number and participation levels of these types of chatrooms
on IRC and perhaps the most easily investigated, as there is no moderation.




                                                   
                                                114

 
Offline Intelligence

Considerable intelligence can be gathered from the conversations within the logged chatrooms,
however much of this intelligence would be of an indirect nature, as it is doubtful many online
predators would mention offences committed or planned in public chat. Attention payed to the
dealers and negotiators, especially, may provide leads into international sex trafficking, child
sexual abuse and the production of child pornography. Cases of incest may also be revealed
within the chatroom, although it is difficult to separate true cases from fantasy and roleplay—
there are, for example, many users with Nicknames pertaining to incest (with ‘Dad’ or ‘Mom’).
However, a concentrated investigative effort with deeper investigation than is capable in this
study, perhaps over the period of several weeks, would no doubt net a great deal of intelligence.

Within the analysis conducted for the behavioural profiles and personality types alone, much
intelligence can be gathered into activities. In Transcript 9 (page 71), it is entirely possible that
‘OldrThnDirt’ has offended previously within the areas he specifies—and he is obviously willing
to take any offences away from online fantasy to offline meetings. Similarly, ‘Impregnator’ in
Transcript 20-22 (pages 85-86) reveals his location and does not appear to be using a proxy to
protect his ISP information. Police sting operations could easily be set up with these users to
achieve an arrest with this intelligence.

The production of child pornography has been made simpler by the Internet—with a simple
digital camera, anyone with access to a child – or children themselves – can produce child
pornography to transfer to online predators, for money, exchange or for free. This makes the
negotiators in Transcript 25 (page 89) of special interest, although his or her location cannot
readily be traced—however a monitored transfer of money or even false persuasion might reveal
important information.

Another focus of this research was to gain any evidence of organised predator networks beyond
that of the IRC chatrooms monitored. While there were advertisements by online predators
seeking to network with each other (see Chapter 5, pages 93-97), there were no public
advertisements or information about any organised predator groups. As stated previously, this is



                                                    
                                                 115

 
not too surprising—such groups are not likely to advertise publicly for security reasons, any
recruitment activities are more likely to be carried out in private message.

The results of this analysis will be discussed in the next chapter with regard to the main findings
of the research.




                                                   
                                                116

 
                                             Chapter 7:
                                             Discussion



Goals

The primary goal of this thesis was to develop personality types and behavioural archetypes of
users participating in the four logged IRC chatrooms over the five days of logging to enable
better profiling of online predators and bridge the current gap in knowledge about their activities
and behavioural patterns. This primary goal leads into the secondary goal of the study: to gather
intelligence on the activities of online predators within their communities, particularly on their
utilisation of contemporary Internet technologies to serve their purposes. The third goal was to
gain an understanding of the social structure of the chatrooms studied, which gives context to the
behavioural and intelligence goals.

Behavioural Goal

The behavioural analysis of the chatrooms yielded four broad personality types – the gentleman
predator, the sadist, the businessman and the pretender – and eight behavioural archetypes
consisting of the groomers, dealers, negotiators, roleplayers, networkers, chat requestors, posters
and travellers. These findings expand current knowledge of the activities and behavioural
patterns of online predators operating in their own communities and within IRC chatrooms.
Once identified, these behavioural patterns were compared and contrasted to the behavioural and
profiling research of offline paedophiles and sex offenders. The businessman and the pretender
personality types were ones not explored in any great detail in other studies, although profiling
users with these characteristics is difficult without direct interaction.

The businessman personality type is a very functional one—one which, perhaps, poses the most
danger to children through other online predators looking to prostitute, swap or send their
children to another online predator. In the context of networking within online communities
such as the ones studied in this research, this is a very real possibility, especially if the
businessman has a child of their own. While a businessman may not be an effective groomer, he


                                                     
                                                  117

 
or she can be a threat as he/she has passed any inhibition against arranging to sexually abuse
children offline.

The pretender can also be considered a dangerous personality, especially when coupled with the
groomer, dealer and traveller archetypes as pretenders have more experience or better ability to
manipulate and exhibit the fake empathy necessary for grooming. An online predator who is
capable of maintaining an underage character, especially one of the opposite sex, poses a serious
and direct threat to underage users who may believe they are on equal terms with another
underage user.

Similarly, the gentleman predator is perhaps far more dangerous than the businessman and the
sadist in the likelihood of successfully manipulating a child into an offline sexual encounter. The
gentleman predator makes an effective groomer, emotionally manipulating his or her target with
patience and with a long-term goal.

The findings related to the sadist personality type are also interesting. While sadism is only
present in a minority of paedophiles, the presence of an entire and quite populous chatroom
dedicated to the subject of underage sexual slavery seems to indicate that sadistic fantasies, at the
very least, are quite common amongst online predators—perhaps using the anonymity of the
Internet to act out desires which would have been otherwise inhibited. The presence of those
interested in snuff was even more surprising and suggests the same un-inhibiting effect of
anonymity. These findings have a direct impact on the profiling of online predators as such
tendencies tend to provide predictable behaviour patterns, and point towards crimes of
opportunity as opposed to long-term grooming (the creation of opportunity)—which in turn may
mean a category of online predators more likely to be hasty and be caught in police sting
operations. On the other hand, as mentioned in Chapter 5, the networking between sadists and
groomers may teach sadistic online predators techniques of long-term grooming.

Connected to these two – arguably more serious – paraphilias was the finding of a link between
beastiality and child sexual abuse and how common this link seems to be. As with sadism and
snuff, the Internet may well attract those with such interests to form communities and justify and
encourage their behaviour and deviancies. It would be of interest for further research to be

                                                   
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conducted on whether those without a specific interest in beastiality would still appreciate the
beastiality pornography involving minors, perhaps due to general sadistic appreciation of the
humiliation and suffering of the minor.

The archetypes provide a fascinating perspective on the way online predators operate in a
community—while beyond the scope of this study, it would be of interest to compare these roles
to the way groups of offline paedophiles operate, although such groups would be comparatively
rare. Groomers tend to fit the stereotypical paedophile profile—introverted, manipulative,
superficially charming and willing to offend but patient in creating the right situations. This is
quite close to McCabe and Wauchope’s (2005, 240) “caring, persuasion, reassurance” theme and
csbsju’s (2010, para. 1-11) “power reassurance” profile. It is a safe assumption that an online
environment not only allows groomers safer access to children but allows them to be more
confident in themselves—the fantasy of roleplay and cybersex with underage victims, even if
they are other online predators, reinforces confidence and decreases low self-esteem and self
doubt. This in turn may encourage them to be bolder in their attempts at child sexual grooming
and potentially more aggressive in offline sexual encounters.

As opposed to groomers, dealers and negotiators are quite direct in their requests for sexual
contact which, in a way, makes them slightly less dangerous to children online than groomers.
Of course, the danger from these types of online predators comes from predator-to-predator
arrangements such as swapping of children or prostitution. While there have been reports of
international paedophile rings with members who travel to sexually abuse other members’
children, there does not appear to be much behavioural or psychological analysis of these
travellers, perhaps due to the ethical, operational and legal considerations involved. IRC
chatrooms may therefore represent a good opportunity for further, deeper research into dealers
and negotiators in cooperation with police.

Roleplayers and chat requestors are quite general archetypes of online predators—no single
personality type, either the ones found in this study or in comparison to offline sex offenders,
characterise these archetypes. These activities are amongst the most common in the monitored
chatrooms and encompass the gamut of fetishes and deviant interests.


                                                   
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Compared to roleplayers and chat requestors, posters are quite few in number—however these
few tend to post multiple child sexual abuse images and encourage open discussion of these
images. For those who are likely to offend offline – such as groomers and travellers – posters
play an important part in dehumanising victims, normalising sexual abuse and appealing to the
egosyntonic nature of paedophilia by showing children who appear to be ‘enjoying’ acts of
abuse. For those who are more likely to engage in cybersex, roleplay or content to observe and
collect – being Hall and Hall’s (2007, 460) ‘cruisers’ or ‘masturbators’ – posters encourage
fantasies and arousal whilst increasing collections of images. Posters can also provide
intelligence on where child pornography is being stored or how it is being disseminated.

Networkers present an interesting opportunity for further research, although such research would
need ethical consideration for interaction with these online predators, as networking seems to be
conducted more in private message. However, the activities of networkers – particularly in
advertisements – provide a lot of valuable information on technological utilisation and the
subjects of predator-to-predator conversations.

Travellers are more likely to be the most guarded of online predators as they reveal information
about their location or places they will visit which naturally makes them more detectable.
Travellers, in the same manner as dealers and negotiators, constitute a somewhat greater danger
to children online than most other archetypes as they have gotten past any inhibitions about
attempting to meet in person for a sexual encounter. They are most likely to arrange for child
sexual abuse through parents or caregivers and are usually in a position to travel greater
distances – for example, they are likely to have access to vehicles or financial access to other
means of travel such as airplanes.

In identifying these personality types and archetypes, research into offline sex offenders has
proven invaluable. The behavioural research and profiles in Murray (2000), McCabe and
Wauchope’s (2005), Hall and Hall (2007) and csbsju (2010) have extensive similarities and can
translate into identifying personality types of online predators. The differences between the
research into offline sex offenders and online predators, such as the businessman and pretender
personality types, can also be quite revealing.


                                                     
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Intelligence Goal

The intelligence accumulated in the course of this research is very promising from a policing and
investigations perspective—the user information, particularly, demonstrates that not all users of
these chatrooms are protecting themselves adequately online. ISP and IP data, coupled with
location information which ‘dealers’, ‘travellers’ and ‘negotiators’ may divulge through
advertisements and other conversations, is of particular use to investigators tracking down
suspected abusers and sex traffickers. Australian policing authorities, for example, may request
user information from an Australian ISP based on even a hostmask which reveals the name of the
ISP. This intelligence gathering is also greatly enhanced by the use of software such as
Analyst’s Notebook, which is capable of revealing name and age changes, the use of proxies and
connections between events and users, as demonstrated in Chapter 6.

It is evident that software and services such as Tor have made policing within this sphere
difficult and complex. Covert monitoring alone cannot provide enough information on the most
sophisticated and dangerous online predators, such as the ‘traveller’ user ‘Chckster’ in Transcript
38 (page 101), and these users will require more traditional policing methods such as interaction
and a sting operation in the vein of the ones studied in Krone (2005). The downside of these
operations are the comparatively large amount of resources and time needed to make even a
single arrest, although this can be ameliorated slightly by using trained and vetted volunteers in a
model similar to that of the To Catch a Predator series (Dateline NBC 2009), though perhaps
without the involvement of the media.

The intelligence gathered on the utilisation by online predators of various contemporary Internet
technologies is also important to policing, as well as developing policy and legislation to prevent
and adequately respond to the activities of online predators. Image hosting services with servers
in countries such as Russia and within the former Soviet Union may cause jurisdictional issues,
especially in relation to local laws where, for example, certain types of child pornography may
not be illegal. The standards and efficiency of local policing agencies would also be of concern,
as well as the levels of cooperation and any treaties which may apply.




                                                   
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The decentralised nature of some Internet technologies such as Freenet and Tor, as well as the
sheer size and related difficulties in moderation of other services and technologies, also presents
a problem in response and prevention. However, IRC chatrooms such as the ones studied
provide an opportunity to act against any advertised illegal use of technologies through tracking
and investigation, as well as intelligence gathering activities similar to that conducted here—
knowing which technologies are likely to be used by online predators improves the ability to
predict their actions. The networking aspect of these chatrooms implies that online predators
learn from each other, establishing patterns of technology use and behaviour.

Social Structures Goal

Perhaps due in part to the secretive nature of online predators, the goal to gather information on
the social structures of the IRC chatrooms studied was not as successful as first expected. While
observations were able to be made into the social structures, traditions and culture of each
chatroom, it is a safe assumption that most of the social communication arising from the
chatrooms are conducted in private chats. This meant that observations were mostly on the
activity within the chatrooms as opposed to the ways in which the users interacted with each
other and the content of their interactions. However, a significant amount of information was
able to be extrapolated from the data and critical examination of the social structures of the
chatrooms was able to be made.




Limitations

As mentioned in Chapter 1, this research is almost purely qualitative and observational due to the
nature and constraints of the thesis structure. As such, a quantitative analysis of the logs was not
carried out; such an analysis would reveal more precise information on peak times of usage, the
occurrence of certain events and be able to track qualitative patterns in the data.

While the data collected is vast, the scope of this study is narrowed to one medium, that of IRC.
The activity on IRC does not represent the nature of activity on other mediums such as image
boards or services such as Freenet; each part of the Internet has its own customs, traditions and
social structures—each community is different, even on the same topic. Even within the medium
                                                   
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of these chatrooms, the peripheral technologies utilised by online predators, the sophistication
and behaviours of the users will alter as time goes on. Therefore it is important to avoid
generalising the results of this study and applying them to other online mediums without further
extensive research.

To achieve an even more comprehensive understanding of online predators, not only should
future research be expanded to include qualitative methodology but primary research such as this
should delve deeper and wider than the monitoring of IRC chatrooms. Investigative interaction
with online predators both during their activities and after any arrest, perhaps with police
involvement and cooperation, would be of immense benefit to research; however this must be
balanced with ethical considerations and the rights of the studied populations.




Implications

Society

The public perception of the dangers of the Internet certainly includes online predators since the
publicity of high-profile cases such as the recent murder of teenager Carly Ryan after a father
and his son created a fake identity online to seduce her (ABC News 2010, para. 1-10) and current
affair programs such as To Catch a Predator. However, it is unlikely that the public are
completely aware of the level of organisation and networking shown by online predators and the
level of technological utilisation and knowledge they demonstrate.

This research has shown the dangers inherent in Instant Messenger software, webcams,
microphones and social networking platforms, as well as the ways in which online predators
operate within these mediums. An excellent example of this is illustrated in Transcript 45 (page
113), where the online predator attempts to manipulate a user he/she thinks is a 10 year old girl,
all the while keeping the conversation light and playful. While children and teenagers today are,
no doubt, more sophisticated, tech-savvy and knowledgeable than ever before, they will always
remain vulnerable in that they are children—naive, trusting and seeking acceptance and
belonging. This will always make children vulnerable to the manipulations of online predators,
regardless of the technical steps taken to prevent or lessen this risk.
                                                    
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Government

The Australian Commonwealth Government is planning to implement a technical solution to the
issue of child protection, online predators and child pornography via ISP-level filtering of
Internet content. Content that is in a black list will be refused to Australian consumers, which
the Commonwealth Government states is:

    “...consistent with the recent child online protection guidelines issued by the International
    Telecommunications Union. The guidelines state that the strategic objective for the
    internet industry for child internet safety should be to reduce the availability of, and
    restrict access to, harmful or illegal content and conduct.” (Department of Broadband,
    Communications and the Digital Economy 2009a, para. 2).

This is similar to the function of software such as the Government’s NetAlert filter (Australian
Government 2010, para. 2) and commercially available filters such as NetNanny (ContentWatch
2010), except on an ISP-level and taking away the consumer’s choice.

This filtering will not affect any activity on IRC as it only applies to websites, excluding Internet
services such as IRC, peer-to-peer, Instant Messengers and Usenet groups. The Frequently
Asked Questions section of the Commonwealth Government website detailing the plan asks the
question “Can’t these filters be readily circumvented? Will they filter non-web material such as
peer-to-peer?” (Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 2009b,
para. 36), the answer to which is:

    “A technically competent user could circumvent filtering. The Government has always
    said that filtering is not a silver bullet solution. It is part of a suite of measures that will
    help to reduce the risk of inadvertent exposure to Refused Classification-rated material,
    particularly by children.” (Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital
    Economy 2009b, para. 37).

This does not appear to answer the question on non-web material and the second part of the
answer is a justification based on blocking material refused classification by Australian
authorities but hosted on international servers. This also seems to avoid the reality that children
and teenagers are quite adept with computing technology, as evidenced in the case highlighted
                                                      
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by Jayawardena and Broadhurst of a 16 year old male who “‘cracked’ the NetAlert filter in 30
minutes and cracked an upgraded filter within 40 minutes” (2007, 243). Such knowledge, once,
gained, can be distributed online through services such as IRC in the same manner as online
predators share information and knowledge, resulting in even younger Internet users having
access to instructions on how to circumvent any filters.

It is also unlikely that the bulk of child sexual abuse material such as child pornography is stored
in websites—while websites are clearly used to share child pornography, as evidenced by the
findings of this research, the bulk of this material will likely be stored and shared on peer-to-peer
services such as Gigatribe and other networks such as Freenet and Tor. If the Commonwealth
Government blacklists the image sharing website imgsrc.ru for hosting child pornography (and
which they openly admit is an issue the website is faced with and finds difficult to manage),
should Gigatribe also be blacklisted for the same reason? Similar reasoning would apply to
protecting children on Instant Messenger software, which can be used to produce child
pornography. Of course, it is unlikely that this flow-on effect would happen, however such
extreme steps are needed for the Commonwealth Government’s filtering plan to succeed in any
meaningful way.




                                                   
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                                            Chapter 8:
                                            Conclusion


The value of conducting research into online predators, especially primary research with
practical application, is beyond doubt. From the findings of this research it can be seen that
online predators are utilising cutting-edge Internet technologies to produce and disseminate child
pornography, access children and maintain their security and anonymity online. In doing so,
new and unique categories of online predators are formed, new behaviour patterns unique to the
Internet are created and new virtual communities are established, all of which constantly adapt
and evolve with the evolving nature of the Internet. This research and the data it is based on is
thus a snapshot of a wider and somewhat elusive target.

This thesis represents a qualitative analysis of behavioural patterns and intelligence which can
inform policing activities, policy and further research. The personality types, behavioural
archetypes and – especially – the intelligence gathered on technology and communities will
always need updating, unlike offline paedophilia before the influence and globalisation caused
by the Internet. This research therefore must represent only the beginning of other research
projects within this area, with similar – if not greater – levels of access.

The aim of all such research into online predators and paedophilia is to protect children from the
dangers posed by the Internet. It is, of course, important not to lose sight of the positive impact
the Internet can have on children, however this must always be tempered with an awareness and
understanding of these dangers—and a knowledge of the ways in which online predators behave
and the ways in which they use the Internet. This thesis is of interest to those working to respond
to this danger, however prevention will always lie in education and keeping children connected
to parents, caregivers, family and friends offline. Online predators thrive on the private, the
secret and the vulnerable.

With this in mind, the following section presents a number of recommendations to enhance
prevention and response strategies in regard to online predators.



                                                     
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Recommendations

The following are recommendations which will aid in preventing and responding to the dangers
posed by, and activities of, online predators. These recommendations concentrate on the areas of
education, prevention and response.

Education

Education is a facet of the Commonwealth Government’s cyber-safety initiative of which ISP-
level filtering is but a part. The education plan for online safety seems to be quite broad and
involves parents, children and teachers (Department of Broadband, Communications and the
Digital Economy 2009b, para. 1-14). It is essential for parents and caregivers, in particular, to
have a working knowledge of the Internet and specific technologies such as Instant Messengers
and peer-to-peer technology, as they play the most direct and influential role in ensuring the
safety of children online. In a globalised and interconnected world, it is no longer feasible for
those of past generations to remain ignorant of computers and the Internet—this ignorance is
dangerous, as can be so easily seen in the case illustrated within Eichenwald’s (2005) report :

    “Justin's mother, Karen Page, said she sensed nothing out of the ordinary. Her son
    seemed to be just a boy talented with computers who enjoyed speaking to friends online.
    The Webcam, as she saw it, was just another device that would improve her son's
    computer skills, and maybe even help him on his Web site development business.

    "Everything I ever heard was that children should be exposed to computers and given
    every opportunity to learn from them," Ms. Page said in an interview.

    She never guessed that one of her son's first lessons after turning on his Webcam was that
    adults would eagerly pay him just to disrobe a little.” (2005, para. 38-40).

The intelligence and awareness displayed by online predators researched in this study speaks
volumes on the importance of education.




                                                   
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Prevention

Certain strategies are presented here to prevent, or at least lessen the likelihood of, online child
sexual abuse. The following prevention strategies are aimed at families:

    1. Human supervision of children using the Internet. This is key to all other prevention
       strategies and is the most important strategy. No technological solution is completely
       effective in protecting children online and it is necessary for parents or caregivers to
       supervise their children’s Internet time. This does not have to involve sitting beside the
       child, especially for older children and teenagers—being in the same room and having
       visibility to the computer’s monitor is enough.

    2. Locate computers in family areas. A computer – or any other device such as a mobile
       phone – with Internet access in a child’s bedroom, especially one with peripheral
       hardware such as webcams and microphones, allows an online predator private access to
       that child’s bedroom. Often children may demand their personal computers and this only
       poses a danger to them if located in a private area; having computers located in a family
       area aids supervision and maintains a connection between the parent or caregiver and the
       child. Groomers, such as the user ‘Barie’ in Transcript 18 (page 82), thrive in a situation
       where the child is disconnected or distant – physically and/or emotionally – from family
       and friends due to various issues such as low self esteem.

    3. Open communication of Internet safety issues. To maintain the connection between
       children and parents or caregivers and to educate both parents and children on the
       Internet and online predators, it is important for families, as well as educators, to discuss
       Internet safety. Such open discussion can facilitate the subsequent communication from
       children to parents or other authorities of any suspicious activity they encounter. It is
       important here to ensure that the child knows he or she will not get punished, is not at
       fault and will not be in any ‘trouble’ for reporting these situations.

    4. Choosing computers, software and Internet access carefully. There is little reason for a
       child – or even a teenager – to own a webcam or a microphone, or to have Internet access
       on their mobile phones. It is up to the parents or caregivers to vet the software and
                                                    
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       hardware a child has access to, especially in the home. If a webcam or other hardware is
       necessary, for example in a rural schooling situation or for communicating to distant
       relatives or friends, then parents or caregivers should strictly control the access to this
       hardware and supervise its use.

While filtering software definitely has a place in providing Internet safety, public policy should
shift focus away from the reliance on a technological solution and towards increased education
and awareness. Prevention strategies such as those above will guarantee children’s safety to a far
greater extent than filtering is capable of and with fewer implications for civil liberties. Child
pornography and other illegal materials need to be investigated and ceased, of course, but simply
blocking this material on websites will not discourage production and dissemination. A global,
coordinated effort, such as the Virtual Global Taskforce (virtualglobaltaskforce.com 2010), to
investigate these materials consists of a more effective response, however any such taskforce
needs to be truly global, requiring the majority of countries to support it. Of course, this may
require countries such as Japan to increase the minimum age of consent.

Response

This research has shown the amount of information even a limited qualitative analysis yields
from the study of hubs of online predator activity such as the logged IRC chatrooms. It is clear
that there is a distinctive criminological and policing benefit from further research, both
qualitative and quantitative, into these and similar hubs such as Freenet and Tor.

This research does raise some clear recommendations for future research and investigation,
however. Greater numbers of online predators than first thought appear to not use proxies to
maintain their anonymity. As aforementioned, future research would benefit from being
conducted with police involvement; it is also obvious that increased funding and resources need
to be directed into online policing operations. A sustained covert monitoring of IRC chatrooms
would result not only in criminological data being gathered but in vital information being
revealed, such as an online predator advertising Tor or Freenet accidentally revealing a real IP
address. Coupled with real-time offline police work, this may result in significant arrests and
prosecutions.

                                                    
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Legislative change is also vital to support these and other such operations. As mentioned in
Chapter 3, increasingly advanced technologies are available to online predators, such as the
Windows 7 operating system and its encryption feature (Eckersley 2009, 3). To allow police
better operational efficiency, legislation must be changed to reflect these advanced technologies,
such as the requirement to decrypt data needed as part of a police investigation. While giving
police these powers, legislation and policy must also deal with the realities of child
pornography—that children themselves may be producers and distributors of it, on the
encouragement of online predators. In the case covered in Eichenwald’s (2005) report, the
underage child grew into adulthood producing child pornography for money, which would
almost place him within the negotiator category.

It is clear that the responsibility for the safety of children must not only lie with governments to
filter out these threats or police in detecting and responding to them, but ultimately on families as
well. Education and human supervision are the two strategies with the most certainty of
maintaining online safety.




                                                    
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    Appendix 1




          
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