In January 2003 the Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted Microsoft Corporation and asked for help in dealing with the problem of online sexual exploitation of children. An assessment of the situation revealed that improvements in Canadian law enforcement’s efforts in some of these areas needed to be made. A software package called CETS resulted from the TPS/Microsoft partnership. Microsoft Canada’s contribution to this initiative is valued at approximately $2.5 million.
Since the inception of CETS, many police forces have provided input into its development. TPS approached the Officer In Charge of the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) for assistance in providing CETS to law enforcement across Canada. Since then, much work has been done by the technology team at the NCECC, the RCMP’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Sector, RCMP Legal Branch, and Departmental Security Branch to ensure such a system could be provided, while still complying with federal standards.
In January 2004, a CETS user requirements meeting was held in Toronto. Delegates from police forces across Canada as well as Interpol and the UK were present and there was general agreement of the need for CETS. After much work by the CETS project team (Microsoft, the NCECC, TPS, and the RCMP CIO Sector) the software was finalized.
The product vision is to support more effective, intelligence-based child exploitation policing by enabling collaboration and information sharing across police services.
CETS will increase the effectiveness of law enforcement by providing tools that will streamline the management of large volumes of investigative information.
TPS has worked with the NCECC Technology Team to identify police agencies specializing in Internet-based child sexual exploitation, and the RCMP CIO Sector is working full time to ensure the appropriate technology is available. The NCECC has also been involved in the development of CETS and sees this as an indispensable tool which will help the Centre realize its objectives.