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They thought they were chatting online with a 10-year-old girl in the Philippines.
Sweetie first interacted with the potential predators in public chat rooms.
Researchers made sure to model their alter ego's online conversation, in style and tone, to that of a preteen Filipino girl. But what they don't know: I'm not real." To show them she was, Terre de Homme researchers hunkered in an Amsterdam warehouse, turned on a Webcam, and using software, controlled the CG girl's conversation, facial expressions, and movements (made realistic through the use of motion capture technology).
Now that fake girl could help authorities identify very real child predators.
"Sweetie" is the creation of Dutch children's rights organization Terre des Hommes.
In a demonstration for the Associated Press, a Terre de Homme researcher logged in to a chat room and identified himself as a 10-year-old girl from the Philippines. "We want governments to adopt proactive investigation policies that give law enforcement agencies the mandate to actively patrol public Internet hot spots where this child abuse is taking place every day," Guyt said.