The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to help find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation, and prevent child victimization. Palantir has partnered with NCMEC for seven years, providing key data integration and analytic capabilities that have aided NCMEC’s efforts to help identify and rescue child victims and prevent future victimization for thousands of child exploitation cases in the United States.
This year, we started a project with NCMEC’s CyberTipline, a centralized reporting mechanism for suspected child sexual exploitation. The CyberTipline receives a deluge of information — over 26.5 million reports since its inception in 1998, and more than 10 million in 2017 alone. A small number of reports are submitted by the public, but the vast majority are from electronic service providers (such as social media, search engines, or internet service providers) that report apparent child pornography when they detect it on their systems. A dedicated team of NCMEC analysts is tasked with processing this information, but with as many as 30,000 reports per day and only twenty-five analysts, timely triage is a challenge—and when it comes to rescuing victims, every second counts.
That’s where Palantir comes in. Palantir is uniquely capable of integrating this data as it comes in and making it immediately actionable for users. The application runs several algorithms against the CyberTipline data, each based on parameters such as historical patterns and correlations. CyberTipline analysts use the results to prioritize incoming reports and quickly determine which ones deserve their attention and action first. For instance, if a report includes information that indicates that an adult in a position of trust (e.g., police officer, teacher, or coach) might have access to a child, it is given higher priority because the child is in a particularly vulnerable situation.
These algorithms surface the highest priority reports and send alerts to CyberTipline analysts, who analyze the report further to add value and make the information available to law enforcement. Palantir runs about a dozen of these alerting strategies, updating them every morning with newly relevant information, and fine-tuning the algorithms so that they generate the most accurate signal, enabling NCMEC to prioritize and process the reports more quickly. And it’s working: after less than a year in production, insights from analysts using the algorithms have already led to 59 offenders being identified and 47 victims rescued.
Last year, Palantir helped revolutionize the way we prioritize and manage the tens of thousands of reports that are received by NCMEC’s CyberTipline every day. As a direct result of Palantir’s work, NCMEC has witnessed an increase in children being rescued from sexually abusive situations and offenders being identified; some within a day or two of when the alert was received.
Our partnership with Palantir is critical. It has helped to reduce the further victimization of children and I expect this will continue as we work with Palantir as they develop new alerts and other methodologies in 2018.
John Shehan, Vice President, Exploited Children's Division, NCMEC
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