by T Brewster, May 2019
Police departments across America are turning to Photoshop artists to transform undercover cops into fake teenage boys and girls so they can snare child predators on Facebook and other major platforms.
…. A forensic art
Sources from the policing community tell Forbes that it’s not fancy software that carries out the age regression—it’s in-house forensic artists using old tools like Photoshop.
Jonathan Taylor, who used to work on undercover cases as part of his work on child exploitation cases, said he would get help from the photography department at either the FBI or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). “This is and was very common, as you can’t simply use images from Google—you must have permission from the person supplying their image,” Taylor said. Another investigator from North America, who asked to remain anonymous, said that rather than use an image of a real child, this alternative “holds the moral ground.”
NCMEC, which works closely with global law enforcement on child exploitation cases, declined to comment for the article. But it employs forensic artists who can carry out age-regression work.
In cases where children have been missing for a long time, those artists can go the other way and carry out “age progression” on the minor’s image in an attempt to determine how they would look as an adult. The hope is that someone will recognize the image and report back to NCMEC.
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