An Unsung Hero: The Story Behind CRC Technology
Many of our supporters know that our CRC technology helps law enforcement track predators online sharing child sexual abuse material, but we wanted to share the story behind the person, that through his generosity and technical resources, made a lasting impact on CRCs technology, Hank Asher. Asher is not only the father of our founder and CEO, Carly Yoost and board member, Desiree Asher, he was also coined in the industry as the “father of data fusion”.
Hank pioneered data mining software that was sold to businesses but also aided law enforcement’s ability to connect the dots in criminal investigations. Work that once required months could be done in a few minutes with the use of technology created throughout Hank’s career. For example, the programs known as TLOxp and Accurint which are a network of databases he put together for commercial use. Law-enforcement agencies around the country subscribe to TLO and Accurint. But so do insurance companies, collection agencies, law firms, even big-city newspapers. His database work led to the arrests of the Beltway snipers who killed 10 people in the Washington area in 2002 and played a role in helping identify hijackers that participated in 9/11.
Hank made his state-of-the-art data-mining systems available to law enforcement for free and declined to publicize their role in solving high-profile cases. He kept quiet about a lot of help he’d offered to law enforcement over the years. Only few knew that he’d donated the use of his systems—along with millions of dollars—to help find missing children, including to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Throughout Asher’s career, he founded three major investigation data companies. Database Technologies (AutoTrack) which was acquired by Choice Point and later acquired by Thomson Reuters as their Clear product. Seisint (Accurint), technology acquired by LexisNexis Risk Solutions in 2004 and TLFO (TLOxp), acquired by TransUnion in 2013.
During TLO, which was the final data company he founded, and the name reflected that in TLO (The Last One), Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart, came to Hank with a project that he believed Hank would be passionate about helping to build. A group of law enforcement had lost funding within their department, along with their data storage, while they were working on a new program that would be able to track predators trading child sexual abuse material on the Internet. This team of law enforcement included Bill Wiltse, who serves as Child Rescue Coalition’s president today. Ed was correct, child protection was Hank’s biggest passion and even as technology was just beginning to evolve, he believed in building technology to protect and rescue children and identify predators. So, he brought the entire team to TLO and they focused solely on building what was the early version of our CRC technology. Hank Asher provided them with all the financial and technical support that team needed to build CRCs system into the most innovative tool to proactively identify child predators.
Hank Asher passed away ten years ago at the age of 61. He was a visionary and entrepreneur who pioneered the use of databases and spent millions of his fortune fighting child abuse. It is because of his unquie expertise and compassion that Child Rescue Coalition is able to continue this work. CRC proudly carries on his legacy and through the help of CRC technology, more than 14,300 predators have been arrested and almost 3,300 children rescued from childhood sexual abuse.