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Peer-to-peer child pornography a breeding ground for predators

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Authorities are cracking down on peer-to-peer file sharing software, as the technology has provided a breeding ground for child pornography.

Sgt. Kevin Murphy with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force spends eight to ten hours a day starring at a computer screen.

Murphy trolls through free peer-to-peer downloadable software like Bearshare, Kazaa, and Bit Torrent – programs used to share music and movies – to find users who are sharing child pornography.

"Since we started making the cases on peer-to-peer in September 2012, I've opened 54 cases," says Murphy. "14 of them in the last week."

His file cabinet is filling up with cases in Berkeley County.

Every day, Murphy goes in undercover with new software that is able to watch transaction being made. He will collect videos and photos – more than one on each IP address – and start a case file.

"We've had to go where the predators are going," says Deb Shupe, Commander of the Task Force. "Peer-to-peer networks are very much out there and have now become the method of exchanging child pornography."

But keeping up with predators is proving to be a rough task.

Attorney General Alan Wilson says as soon as his agents start to close one door, another opens.

"The internet, I've often likened it to a chainsaw. A chainsaw in the hands of a person who respects it and understands it is an amazing tool that can do a lot of wonderful things," Wilson explains. "In the hands of someone who doesn't have the maturity or the respect for it, it can be a very deadly weapon."

Wilson urges people to be cognizant of what they are putting on social media sites, like Facebook.

Wilson says pictures parents have posted of their children have become unintentional bait for predators as the task force has tracked child porn back to personal Facebook pages.

"If you're putting something on the internet, pretend you're taking color photos of that picture and you're nailing them to every single telephone pole in your city," says Murphy. "Putting something on the internet is the closest to immortality as you can come in this life, and unfortunately that's what happens to the children.

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