AI Is Now Helping NCMEC Find Missing & Abducted Children

AI Is Now Helping NCMEC Find Missing & Abducted Children

Date: September 18, 2023

With millions of tips, leads, and reports incoming every year, this 8-member legal team is using AI to fasten their search process.

When a child in the United States goes missing, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is usually the first receiver of the calls and also the respondent to the case. But with over a million tips, out of which 22,000+ involve a child going missing, it becomes one of the most challenging jobs to find both the children and the predator. But now, NCMEC is speeding up its hunt by taking aid from Artificial Intelligence. 

NCMEC is quickly putting AI to work for tasks that involve filtering huge amounts of data, removing the clutter of backgrounds to improve focus on the main elements, and airbrushing out the unaffected children from the lead pictures. Even though the help of AI is increasing the efficiency of finding missing children, its main job of hunting down the predators with proper evidence to prosecute them begins.

The legal system demands a lot of evidence to prosecute a predator and prevent wrongful accusations. The eight people in the legal team at NCMEC, supported by 4 people in the imaging and communications department, are mostly overwhelmed with a mountain of information to sift through. These folks at NCMEC are now using the power of AI to soar through 1000s of emails and filter out the relevant information to build a strong case. It saves nearly 4000 hours in data sorting and frees time for the legal team to actually work on ground with the families to help them seek justice faster.

The AI tool used here, Logickull, built and deployed by the tech company Reveal, deploys machine learning to look through vast data, videos, and public footage to cut through the crowd. This improves the accuracy of the imaging team in collecting critical information and sorting it into a strong case file. 

Any predator who has been prosecuted and sentenced due to NCMEC receiving a tip in the past few years has likely had their case flow through Reveal’s Logikcull product. 

- Jisa Wendell, Founder & CEO of Reveal

NCMEC has had over 32 million reports into its cyber tip line, each of which needs to be analyzed by the legal team, at least theoretically, before transferring to other relevant departments. The help of AI in identifying the case also helps NCMEC move the case without wasting hours of processing time just finding out that it doesn’t belong to their department.

With the skepticism around AI's advancement growing, witnessing AI's positive impact in such a critical aspect of crime-solving helps build trust toward it. Earlier, the entire process of reading, collecting, sorting, and identifying the right pieces of information used to be manual. Saving each second improves the chances of saving the children in distress, and AI is a savior in this case.

Arpit Dubey

By Arpit Dubey LinkedIn Icon

Arpit is a dreamer, wanderer, and a tech nerd who loves to jot down tech musings and updates. With a logician mind, he is always chasing sunrises and tech advancements while secretly preparing for the robot uprising.

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