Spinout lands first American partnership

Cyan Forensics continues work to help forces in fight against indecent child imagery

Date posted

19 August 2019


A University spinout that has developed digital forensic technology to help catch criminals faster has announced its first partnership in America.

Edinburgh-based digital forensics start-up Cyan Forensics has signed a partnership with Alexandria Virginia headquartered the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).Cyan Forensics and NCMEC announced the partnership at the Crimes Against Children Conference in Dallas, Texas

Cyan Forensics’ software helps police detect indecent images of children in minutes, speeding up the time it takes to search seized devices.

Digital evidence is vital to investigations into child sexual exploitation, but these investigations often take months due to delays. Delays are caused by backlogs of devices waiting to be searched and the amount of detailed work required to search each device.

Cyan Forensics’ software quickly scans devices for any recognised content and can be used on the device before it enters the queue. It can also help to better inform officers on the ground if a suspect should be taken in for further questioning and a comprehensive digital search.

NCMEC’s CyberTipline is the United States’ centralised reporting system for child sexual exploitation. It receives reports from the public and US based internet companies like Google and Facebook. NCMEC makes information from these reports available to US law enforcement, including the FBI, Homeland Security, the Secret Service, the US Military, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces (ICACs), and law enforcement in over 110 countries around the world. In 2018, NCMEC received more than 18.4 million reports to its CyberTipline.

NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program helps identify child victims who appear in child sexual abuse material and serves as the central clearinghouse for information related to child victims who have been previously identified by law enforcement. The program has reviewed more than 283 million images and videos and has a record of more than 17,000 child victims identified by law enforcement.

As part of the partnership Cyan Forensics and NCMEC will work together to evaluate Cyan Forensics’ technology and its ability to detect images already known to NCMEC.

Cyan Forensics’ Co-founder and CEO, Ian Stevenson commented: “This is a partnership of shared values, and we are delighted to be working with such a respected force in the fight against child abduction, abuse, and exploitation. Cyan Forensics can support NCMEC with the great work it is already doing to help protect children both on and offline. We are proud to be associated with an organisation at the forefront of the field, and look forward to discussing how we can help other future partners across America.”

John Clark, President and CEO of NCMEC added: “Timing is often critical in these cases, and we’re excited at the prospect of new technology that could provide faster access to information that will help rescue children from abuse. Cyan Forensics’ technology has the power to make a big impact in the fight against online child sexual abuse imagery.”