June 6, 2010

Times of India

Anti-grooming’ software will catch online paedophiles

LONDON: Scientists have developed “anti-grooming” software, which can detect whether kids may be chatting with an adult posing as a child or a teenager on the internet.

The program, which has been developed by Lancaster University, uses language analysis technique to detect fraudsters. The key is that people of a particular age group have a particular vocabulary. Computer experts believe it could be a significant breakthrough in helping to catch paedophiles.

Researchers believe the software could eventually be used to pick up on “stylistic footprints” used by paedophiles, which would help police track them as they move around the internet.

In a study, when the software was installed on some computers, it correctly worked out whether it was an adult or a child using a chatroom in 47 cases out of 50 — including when an adult was pretending to be a child.

“Paedophiles often pose as children online and our research indicates that children don’t find it easy to spot an adult pretending to be a child,” the Independent quoted professor Awais Rashid, from Lancaster University’s computing department, as saying.

“We hope to develop a system which can pick up on quirks of language particular to a certain age group. These language patterns can help us expose adults who seek to groom children online.

“The software looks at a range of things, for example, the structure of sentences, the language which is being used and also things which indicate deception.”

It is hoped that an early working version of the software could be available by next summer.

Times of India

HCs often lax in convicting accused’

Apex Court Finds 2,280 Cases Of Rape, Murder Stayed By HCs
New Delhi: Ever wondered why so many accused in heinous crimes — murder, rape, kidnapping and dacoity — roam around for years before the law catches up with them?

This question bothered the Supreme Court a lot and it found that the High Courts were mainly responsible for such a sorry state of affairs. For, they have stayed the proceedings in these cases and forgotten all about them for years

As many as 2,280 cases relating to murder, rape, kidnapping and dacoity have been stayed by HCs at various — FIR, investigation, framing of charges and trial — stages and then left in the limbo, possibly allowing the accused to remain at large on bail. A Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly sought assistance from Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam for collating data on cases relating to the four categories of heinous crimes which have been stayed by HCs after it found an identical situation pointed out in a petition filed by Imtiaz Ahmed, where the Allahabad HC had stayed a criminal case since April 2003.

The efforts by the SG to collate such cases threw up startling facts:
Murder cases stayed at various stages by HCs were 1,021 (45% of the total cases), rape cases 492, kidnapping cases 550 and dacoity 217

As many as 41% of the 2,280 cases were pending for 2-6 years and 8% for more than 8 years. Of a total of 178 cases pending for more than 6 years, 97 were murder cases

Calcutta High Court appears to be the most liberal when it came to staying cases relating to heinous crimes accounting for 31% of the 2,280 cases. Allahabad High Court was not far behind having stayed 29% of the cases

In most of the cases across the HCs, the duration for which the case is pending varied from 1 to 4 years. It is seen that 34 out of 201 cases in Patna HC and 33 out of 653 cases in Allahabad HC were pending for more than 8 years After perusing the enormity of the situation and having regard to the case in hand that related to Allahabad HC, the Bench headed by Justice Singhvi requested the counsel for the High Court to furnish data about the number of cases which have been stayed at the stage of investigation or trial and listed the matter for further hearing on July 9.The report was submitted to the court by Subramaniam, who took assistance of Dr Pronab Sen and Dr G S Manna, secretary and deputy director in the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, in studying the data supplied by various HCs. The SG, in the concluding part of the report, said “the factfinding exercise by the Supreme Court has revealed a problem of serious dimension” and suggested that the apex court would be well within its jurisdiction to direct the HCs to dispose of the matter within a year from the date of grant of stay in cases relating to heinous crimes.


Imported rapists turn New Delhi into danger zone

New Delhi: That Delhi is the nation’s rape capital is well-known. What is not known is that a major chunk of criminals which has made it earn the dubious reputation are “outsiders”.

These are fly-by-night migrant labourers, mostly school dropouts aged 17-23 years, who come to the capital in search of work and disappear after 5-6 months.
According to a recent assessment by the Delhi Police crime branch, of the 185 rapes registered in the capital till May 15 this year, the accused in 52% cases were school dropouts.

“In most cases, the accused are dropouts who left school between the 6th and 8th grades,” a senior police officer said.
Over 84% of the rapes were recorded at 85 police stations, exactly 50% of the total number of police stations in Delhi.

“The people living in most of these areas [in northeast, south and northwest Delhi] belong to economically weak sections of society.
They are part of the migrating population that comes in search of work and leaves after a few months,” the officer said.

“These areas are semi-urban colonies that are densely populated. They have a huge number of clusters of one-room accommodations. The people living in these colonies are mainly daily wage workers,” he said.

The police assessment also revealed that in more than 96% of cases, the accused were known to victims. “There are cases where cousins or other family members assaulted girls,” the officer said.
“Though we have solved most cases, sometimes it is difficult to trace accused because they leave for their villages after committing crimes in the city,” he said.

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