At the outset of a case, Camp explains, police are usually presented with an image or a collection of images, and an IP address, the unique identifying number assigned to every computer that’s connected to the internet. Police then apply for a warrant in order to get the basic subscriber information attached to that IP address from the user’s internet service provider.
Drafting the warrant takes hours. Getting the subscriber information can take more than a month. And that only lets police know who owns the account: it doesn’t necessarily mean that person posted the images.
“The process is arduous,” says Camp, adding he gets frustrated over long legal delays when children could be at risk.
“It seems like the children are becoming, not re-victimized, but they’re put at even higher risk for every day that goes by. It seems unusual to me.”
Camp says the often-lengthy timeline has forced his unit to use a form of triage, so they can better focus on the cases where they believe children can actually be saved.
Earlier this month, they were able to do just that.