Technical behaviours of child sexual exploitation material offenders

Chad Steel*, Emily Newman, Suzanne O'Rourke, Ethel Quayle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

An exploration of the technological behaviours of previously convicted child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) offenders provides a foundation for future applied research into deterrence, investigation, and treatment efforts. This study evaluates the technology choices and transitions of individuals previously convicted of CSEM offenses. Based on their inclusion in two sex offender registries, anonymous survey results (n=78) were collected from English-speaking adults within the United States. CSEM offenders chose technologies based on both utility and perceived risk; peer-to-peer and web-browsers were the most common gateway technologies and showed substantial sustained usage; a substantial minority of users never stored CSEM and only viewed it; most respondents used more than one technology to view CSEM; CSEM offenders used more countermeasures than the public but did not use encryption at higher rates; almost all CSEM consumers started viewing adult SEM first; and countermeasures were used primarily to reduce psychological strain (anxiety).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • digital forensics
  • child pornography
  • child sexual exploitation material
  • storage
  • viewing
  • countermeasures


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