Contra Costa DA offers free 'computer cop' software

Allows parents to scan digital materials for inappropriate content

Contra Costa County residents are being offered a new way to protect their kids from online predators and bullying with "computer cop" software being distributed by District Attorney Mark Peterson's office.

The software, paid for with assets taken from drug dealers, allows parents to scan photos, videos, emails and chat messages for inappropriate content.

According to the DA's Office, 34% of 10- to 17-year-olds have unwanted exposure to sexual material. One in 25 young people have received an online sexual solicitation where the solicitor tried to make offline contact, officials added.

"Over the past year, our office has filed 15 cases that involve the use of the Internet to victimize children," Peterson said. "Every day children are contacted by predators throughout the Internet. This software lets parents see what their kids are up to online and heads off dangerous situations before they occur."

Peterson's office recently hosted a meeting for its Internet crimes against children task force at which police officers were trained on the newest technology to capture those individuals who prey on children for sexual purposes.

The computer cop software allows computers to be searched for content, cookies, text logs with key words of a sexual nature, drug slang, gang names, and terms and violent or threatening words.

The DA's Office is making 500 copies of the software available. Copies can be picked up at any Contra Costa County library or at any of the DA's three offices -- two in Martinez and a third in Richmond.


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