Access to image databases

Definition

  • Law enforcement use Interpol’s International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts to identify victims and offenders.
  • Where appropriate a national child sexual abuse image database is in place and law enforcement use it to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts to identify victims and offenders. 

Why is it needed? 

  • The exchange of child sexual abuse material online is multi-jurisdictional. This has resulted in a requirement for law enforcement to cooperate at both national and international levels to share information and intelligence.
  • Accessing image databases at a national and international level reduces the risk for duplicate and repeated investigation of child sexual abuse material by law enforcement where the victim has already been identified or the material is already under investigation by another law enforcement agency.
  • A national child abuse image database enhances operational capability for law enforcement within a country, as it allows officers to use the data contained within an image to aid victim and offender identification. 
  • The content within the ICSE DB and a national database can evolve over time to include such things as video footage, ICSE series numbers and Interpol identifiers, which further law enforcement operational capability and cooperation nationally and internationally.
  • Users of the ICSE DB provide unique local knowledge to assist in identifying the country and location of the crime, which can further enhance victim and offender identification opportunities. 

Good practice 

  • The ICSE DB is an intelligence and investigative tool that enables instant global access to data and tools for the uploading and analysis of child sexual exploitation material seized by law enforcement. ICSE DB is accessed via Interpol’s global secure network (I-24/7), which links Interpol’s national central bureaus in its 190 member countries.
  • To be considered for connection to the ICSE DB a number of conditions must be met; specifically the existence of a dedicated CSEA law enforcement unit/team (see Capability 4) and evidence of existing legislation that penalizes the production, possession and/or distribution of child sexual abuse material and identifies the sanctions (see Capability 3). 
  • A key requirement for the existence of a national database with the ability to share and retain child sexual abuse material is to ensure that the appropriate governing legislation is in place.
  • Training in the use of both ICSE DB and a national database must be provided to all officers who have access. This includes the classification of images, the functionality of the databases and victim identification training. 

More guidance and support 

  • More information about connection to the ICSE DB can be found at www.interpol.int. Good practice in the establishment of a national database can be provided by a number of countries that have developed and implemented their own version. Advice and guidance from these countries can be accessed through Interpol.