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Feds launch smartphone app to nab child sexual predators

Posted at 10:37 PM, Sep 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-12 22:37:52-04

(CNN) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has unveiled an iPhone app called Operation Predator that asks the public for help in gathering information on suspected child sexual predators, including those who are fugitives.

The new app, created in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations’ Cyber Crime Center, lets users submit a tip by phone or by filling out a tip form in the app. All tips can be submitted anonymously.

People with information about suspects can also submit tips online or by calling (866) 347-2423.

The app includes photos of fugitives and asks for help in trying to find suspected child predators for criminal prosecution. Under the alerts section there are images and names of people who are wanted for crimes such as possession of child pornography. Unidentified suspects are listed as “John Doe” and the public is asked to help identify them from available photos.

There also is an option to share these profiles on Twitter or Facebook to help spread the word.

An urgent case currently tops the app’s feed. A “John Doe” is wanted for producing child pornography that involved the sexual abuse of a girl between 10 and 12 years old.

“These investigations are one of our highest priorities, and in today’s world, we need to be technologically savvy and innovative in our approach,” said ICE Acting Director John Sandweg in a statement announcing the app.

A news section has updates on recent cases involving sexual predators, including the ICE’s various projects and sentencing for captured criminals. The app can be set up to send you push alerts on the latest wanted suspects.

ICE announced the new app at a news conference in Miami on Thursday morning. At this time, the app is only available in the Apple App Store, but the agency plans to bring it to other devices in the future.

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