A criminological analysis : using real-time monitoring to gather data on online predators

Jayawardena, Kasun P. (2011) A criminological analysis : using real-time monitoring to gather data on online predators. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


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 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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ID Code: 40227
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Thorne, Colin
Keywords: child sexual abuse, online predator, child pornography, paedophile, paedophilia, hebephilia, beastiality, incest, Internet E-elay Chat (IRC), chatroom, behavioural profiling, criminal intelligence, child sexual grooming, sexual solicitation, Internet crime, Tor, Freenet, instant messenger, image hosting, Web 2.0, Internet Service Provider (ISP) Filtering, primary research, covert monitoring
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 21 Feb 2011 02:26
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:01

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