Police Have a New Weapon in the Fight Against Child Pornography

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 8 2014 11:14 AM

Police Dogs Are Sniffing Out Hard Drives Filled with Child Pornography

74313069
Smell any thumb drives?

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

We think of police dogs as being trained to sniff for two things: drugs and bombs. But they could learn to detect any manner of contraband. In Rhode Island, law enforcement dogs—specifically one talented golden lab—are looking for hidden hard drives, thumb drives, or memory cards with child pornography on them.

Of course, trained dogs can't smell the type of data being stored, but a thumb drive in someone’s shoe, a hard drive in a ceiling tile, or a memory card tucked deep inside a metal cabinet aren't typical places to keep, say, vacation photos. The Providence Journal reports that having a dog follow every electronic scent while officers execute a search warrant helps them locate stashes they might otherwise miss.

Advertisement

As Rhode Island state police do their part to battle an entrenched $20 billion child pornography industry, Thoreau, a golden Labrador from the Connecticut State Police Training Academy, is the latest addition to their efforts. While sniffing during his first search warrant in June, Thoreau found an incriminating thumb drive that eventually led to an arrest warrant. Thoreau’s handler, detective Adam Houston, told the Journal, “If it has a memory card, he’ll sniff it out.”

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:25 AM The Brilliant Fake Novels of Listen Up Philip
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 9:39 AM The International-Student Revolving Door Foreign students shouldn’t have to prove they’ll go home after graduating to get a visa.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.