“Thank you for saving lives.”
For the times they are a-changin’.” —Bob Dylan
In this reporting period of July 2020 through June 2021, I wanted to be sure you had a clear picture of the positive changes and impact you’re having on the lives of children and their families by supporting the Innocent Lives Foundation.
Did you know that the ILF had 101 cases accepted by law enforcement during this fiscal year? That means that we averaged one case accepted every 3.6 days. 4 years ago we had 9 cases or one case every 40.5 days accepted by law enforcement.
Our relationship with law enforcement has continued to change for the better. The ILF mission is expanding beyond federal entities and also gaining traction with local Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force programs. As highlighted by the story found later in this impact report, we are receiving more requests than ever before from law enforcement to assist in cases where the predator is desperately attempting to hide their identity.
Another recent change we’ve experienced at the ILF is a noticeable increase in grooming cases.
You may be wondering how this could be viewed in a positive manner? This means that there are many families who had been told there was nothing more that could be done for them, yet the Innocent Lives Foundation was able to move their case forward by presenting actionable evidence to law enforcement. Imagine being one of those parents and having hope once again.
Organizationally we have added long-time volunteer Mandy Cox as a full-time employee in the role of Senior Team Leader. Mandy is responsible for the Education & Outreach and Development programs for the ILF.
Fundraising at ILF has changed dramatically in this fiscal year also. In addition to implementing new fundraising software, we held our first ILFest conference and the amazing rock & roll band Clutch held a virtual concert benefiting the ILF. And if this was not enough, in February we received our single largest donation to date. The Estate of Janice C Boyd entrusted the ILF with an initial donation of $116,667. We are humbled and honored by the Boyd family’s support of the mission. Please see the Fundraising highlights section for more fundraising details.
You will likely notice other changes. The mission statement, vision statement, and guiding principles have been refined. The ILF website has been updated extensively and we have added 7 impactful blog posts educating parents and guardians with the knowledge they need to help keep their children safe.
We are working hard to build and strengthen relationships with you and raise awareness of the mission. Leading the charge on this front is the newly formed ILF Ambassador program.
Additionally, you can now find live case statistics right on the front page of our website and our footer now contains links to all of our 990 Tax Forms. We have made ourselves available via streaming channels, podcasts, media outlets and have presented to many private organizations.
These positive changes are possible thanks to your generosity and passion for the mission. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to creating a world where all children can live innocent lives.
Chief Operations Officer
Innocent Lives Foundation
ABOUT THE ILF
The Innocent Lives Foundation is an international organization consisting of accomplished ethical hackers, cyber investigators, and other technology experts. This group volunteers their time and skills to protect children on the internet by identifying dangerous predators who target them for sexual abuse, sextortion, and other abuse. ILF undertakes the time-consuming and challenging task of discovering the true identities and physical locations of predators who target children and teenagers, then submits all digital evidence to the appropriate law enforcement agency. ILF works closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure these cases result in arrests and prosecutions. To ensure the evidence’s integrity and increase the opportunity for prosecution, ILF does not condone the use of vigilante-style tactics.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR THIS REPORT PERIOD
Identify anonymous child predators to help bring them to justice
A world where all children can live innocent lives
Children are our beneficiaries.
While we count on our contacts and love our donors, we exist to serve endangered children. When making decisions, policies, and planning for the future, we first ask, “How will this affect children?”
Never educate a predator.
There are many successes we wish to share with the public, but we must ask ourselves, “If this information is published, will it make a predator harder to catch?” If the information does not serve the best interest of the children we protect or gives a predator new ideas, we will not release the information.
Operate above reproach.
Our team of professionals operates under strict guidelines and regulations inside a heavily monitored virtual environment. Adherence to this framework is vital and enforced— if we deviate from our procedures, a predator could go free.
We believe that vigilantism often causes more harm than good. Predators take advantage of loopholes to avoid prosecution. By not engaging in vigilante behavior, these loopholes do not exist. There is no room for vigilantism when a child’s future— and possibly their life— is at stake.
Protect the emotional health of the ILF.
Our team is routinely exposed to soul-crushing subject matter during ILF investigations. To guard the emotional health of our team members, everyone must participate in the ILF Wellness Program. Formal sessions with our Wellness Director are scheduled regularly, and additional sessions are highly encouraged.
The Weight of a Username
The following true story describes accounts of child sexual and physical abuse, which the Innocent Lives Foundation works to prevent. This content is disturbing. Please be emotionally prepared before proceeding.
Names, locations, and other identifying information have been changed for the safety of the victims and the Innocent Lives Foundation team. Any similarity to actual names, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
How much does a username weigh? Sometimes a username carries no weight; it is made of completely random letters and numbers. Other times it can carry immense weight and lead to the user’s front door. When federal law enforcement sought help from the Innocent Lives Foundation (ILF) and provided nothing but the username “JoDoe,” ILF’s Predator Identification Team (PIT) hoped the username would carry some weight.
One evening, a group of PIT members met to focus their investigative efforts on the “JoDoe” username as requested by federal authorities. Some searched the deep and dark web for the JoDoe username and others searched the clear net for potential social media profiles. The dark web team uncovered some truly horrendous results. Not only was “JoDoe” associated with child sexual abuse material, but also hurtcore material: a subgenre of child sexual abuse material involving degrading torture and extreme violence. Even though many of the dark web sites related to the username were no longer operable, old data from the sites was still accessible via a highly specialized tool named Beacon. The Beacon data showed posts from “JoDoe” advertising his own uploaded content abusing Asian children. He wasn’t just seeking hurtcore; he was creating it.
The PIT members hunting on the clear net scoured various social media accounts that surfaced for the username, but there were only a few potential profiles, and none provided a direct lead toward an identity. It wasn’t until a PIT member expressed their confusion in the inconsistencies on a specific account that something clicked for another PIT member: the same inconsistencies were on another account they had seen. The accounts had the “JoDoe” username, but the name on the accounts read, “Joe Buck.” Individually, the profiles seemed insignificant; together, they showed a pattern. Most importantly, one of the accounts possessed a new hidden username including a potential physical location: “OrlandoJohn.”
Pivoting off of the new “OrlandoJohn” username, the PIT members searched for more social media profiles. The first profile was marked private, yet had a small biography: some sports-related emojis, noting he enjoyed traveling to Asia, and that he was non-judgemental. There was also a small profile picture with an even smaller logo visible on the shirt of a smiling man. Could this be the face of “JoDoe?” What was the logo on his shirt? Was the logo even significant?
Approximately 250,000 people travel abroad per year to engage in sex tourism with children and youth.
On another “OrlandoJohn” profile, the PIT found a name, “John Doe,” along with images of him with his family, children, and travels. The profile disclosed that “John Doe” owned a business. He had adopted his children from Asia. He often traveled to a specific country in Asia, where he volunteered in orphanages. His wife was originally from that same country. Digging into that country and the “OrlandoJohn” username, PIT members discovered his blog with a post about his favorite places to travel, including a specific location that is a common area for child sexual abuse. Records from his business confirmed his true identity: “John Doe”.
One member finally chimed in, “That’s a sports logo.” Assuming the subject’s general location was Orlando, PIT members manually sifted through sports divisions in the area one by one until finding a match to the logo from the other profile: a local youth sports league. Nothing further came up for John Doe’s usernames and the league, but the youth league definitely had “John Doe” on their site. He was their coach.
Now that the PIT had a confirmed identity, they needed a confirmed physical location. John Doe had, ironically, uploaded a photo to one of his accounts showing off his new flag to support the police. The photo showed a part of John Doe’s house as well as his neighbor’s, so the PIT was able to compare the unique window trimming against some houses from a realtor’s website resulting in a perfect match. Now they had his identity and his home address.
Starting with only a username, the Innocent Lives Foundation was able to verify the subject’s identity, get his home address, and gather all information for a report. Upon submitting the finalized report to law enforcement, ILF learned that John Doe had been producing child sexual abuse material during his frequent trips to Asia and at home with his adopted children. After some time, ILF received confirmation from law enforcement that they had arrested John Doe. A short time later, ILF received indictment paperwork; he is facing up to 100 years in federal prison.
“JoDoe,” “Joe Buck,” “OrlandoJohn,” and John Doe were the same person. John Doe seemed like someone who enjoyed traveling when in reality, he was “JoDoe,” a sex tourist preying on innocent children. He seemed like someone who supported law enforcement when he was attempting to fly under their radar. John Doe appeared to love his family while he was sexually abusing his children.
How much does a username weigh? Sometimes it can carry the weight of the world for innocent children.
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HOW TO HELP
There are endless opportunities for you to join ILF in the fight against child sexual abuse. Whether you donate your finances, network, or time, each contributes value to the mission and helps the ILF continue identifying child predators. Thank you on behalf of these children.
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FINANCIALS AT A GLANCE
TOTAL INCOME AND CONTRIBUTIONS:
The Innocent Lives Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization led by ethical hackers and other cybersecurity and technology experts, with the sole purpose of protecting children online. Using innovative online investigative tactics and techniques, ILF’s team hunts down the worst of the worst — pedophiles, sexual predators, and human traffickers — and provides critical evidence and identifying information to US and international law enforcement agencies to aid in their capture and arrest. Founded by renowned social engineer Chris Hadnagy (aka “The Human Hacker’’), the foundation’s executive board includes such notable figures as Clutch lead singer Neil Fallon, former FBI Behavioral Analysis Program head Robin Dreeke, Attorney Timothy J Maloney, Criminal Minds actress AJ Cook, and Criminal Psychologist Dr. Michelle Ward.