07 Nov Using Technology For Good
While most of South Florida’s nonprofits are powered by passionate founders and an average of just six employees, they are thinking big. Meet Child Rescue Coalition, which is using technology to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse.
The nonprofit has assisted in the arrest of nearly 11,000 online predators and the rescues of over 2,400 abused children in the last six years. CRC’s Child Protection System used free of charge by more than 11,000 law enforcement officials in 50 states and 89 countries, allows law enforcement to track predators, monitor their activities, prevent potential assaults and make arrests.
Carly Asher Yoost, CEO and founder of Boca Raton-based CRC, said every year more than 300,000 children are abused in the U.S. alone. Predators leverage social media, chat applications, and the Dark Web to target and coerce children. About 85 percent of online offenders viewing child sexual exploitation material are also sexually abusing children, according to CRC. In South Florida, CRC’s tech has identified 879 individual IP addresses in possession of illegal child pornography.
A law enforcement team originally created CRC’s technology. It then was developed by a technology company owned by Yoost’s father, the late Hank Asher, who was passionate about protecting children and provided the technology free to law enforcement.
After Asher passed away in early 2013, Yoost and her sister sold her father’s company, but kept the technology and transitioned to a nonprofit, CRC. Since then, CRC has nearly tripled the number of countries that use the technology.
And the technology continues to be free for law enforcement. To fund future technology, and to get the software out there to do more good, CRC is exploring allowing companies, such as online babysitter services, to use it for a fee, to identify predators before they get into their system, Yoost said. One babysitter service is under contract.
In addition, CRC is developing a forensics tool that it plans to charge for. Once officers have made the arrest and seized the suspect’s devices, they can run CRC’s new application to help them find the illegal files, even if the suspect deleted them. “We are working with federal law enforcement agencies around the world to provide us with the data to fuel our forensic tool, Neula,” Yoost said.