BS December 17, 2007 2:09 PM

Tricking airhead teenagers into thinking they are chatting with Britney Spears could work. 30 million fans could not be wrong. Maybe 300 could.

kurt wismer December 17, 2007 2:22 PM

anyone else see the potential for cracking down on illicit chat room activities? set up bots to act like pre-teens to catch pedophiles, set up other bots to act like crooks looking to purchase malware services to catch malware service providers, etc…

Jester December 17, 2007 2:22 PM

Wow, a real life Turing test! Is this the next step? :

User #1: “Hi, I’m a cute 17 year old from Iowa and I love Linux geeks!”

User #2: “Hey, what a coincidence! me too!”

User #1: “We should meet up”

User #2: “Hey that’s just what I was thinking. I want to meet as well.”

User #1: “First we need to arrange a meeting place and some way to recognise each other”

User #2: “You’re right. now let’s see. I need your name and a secret code. Isn’t this fun”

User #1: “I’ve had a great idea! The numbers printed on the back of your credit card. We’ll meet in a public place and I’ll put the numbers on a card so you know it’s me.”

User #2: “I was just about to say the same thing. Ok now, tell me the numbers on the back of that card”

User #3: “Hi, I’m a cute 17 year old from Iowa and I love Linux geeks!”

User #1: “I guess you better give me those numbers too”

User #4: “Hi, I’m a cute 17 year old from Iowa and I love Linux geeks!”

User #1: “Now just wait a goddamed minute…”

FP December 17, 2007 2:53 PM

Now we need to implement bots that are able to discover these mal-bots. I.e., our white-hat bots would join chat rooms and start conversations to determine if the other end was a mal-bot or just human.

Imagine the arms race between the two! Soon good bots and bad bots will have elaborate discussions before they can make a decision. Insert obligatory Blade Runner reference here.

Of course that will ruin instant messaging for everyone else. But the malware authors already succeeded doing the same for e-mail.

BMurray December 17, 2007 3:00 PM

I will be interested in when exactly the first artificial sexual predator is caught by an FBI child simulator.

Mitch December 17, 2007 3:37 PM

Umm, all this brouhaha is based on a single report, repeating and reverberating through through the blogosphere over the last week or so. Has anybody confirmed that it’s even true?

Perry December 17, 2007 6:04 PM


Why are you asking that? Are you trying to trick me? I have enemies, you know, and they always try to trick me.

David Harmon December 17, 2007 6:15 PM

Well, there have been chat-room “AIs” around for a few years now, it was a matter of time until someone used the power for evil.

It’s worth noting that even the original ELIZA (grammar errors and all) could fool a significant number of people.

Anonymous December 17, 2007 6:27 PM

The next logical step, of course, is to get actual people to trick others to give them personally identifiable information in exchange for steamier and steamier free porn.

Nostromo December 18, 2007 2:42 AM

@David Harmon: “It’s worth noting that even the original ELIZA (grammar errors and all) could fool a significant number of people.”

The people who inhabit chat rooms write a dialect of English in which there is no such thing as a grammar error.

Graham Anderson December 18, 2007 5:01 AM

I’m sorry – but the most state-of-the-art identity theft tool on the planet is Her Majesty’s Government. Who can compete with the vast swathes of data that the British Government has put out into the wild?

greg December 18, 2007 6:30 AM


@kurt wismer
How many pedophiles do you really think there are online? 10 , 100 or 100,000 or even >1M. It seems you have been duped by the imaginary apocalyptic four horsemen of the internet.

Oh and in many countries this would be called entrapment.

Fact is almost all men like women (you know with breast etc). Not little girls. Many of the “celebrated” porn busts involve a difference in the age of girls allowed in porn films across country’s. Some country’s require that they don’t “look” like they are under age while others just have different ages that are allowed to be involved in porn.

Hell when my daughter was 12 people though she was my wife sometimes. There was a girl I asked a girl for ID (she looked 12) for a R16 movie and she was 24 (had a passport and was Japanese). So when a 30+ year old looks at my daughter is he a pedophile? What about when they look at the Japanese girl or her boyfriend?

kurt wismer December 18, 2007 12:25 PM

i’m aware there aren’t many pedophiles out there, but i’m also aware that our society doesn’t tolerate their presence even at such low levels… it’s something we already expend (perhaps wrongly) a not-insignificant amount of energy on…

and yes, i know that in some jurisdictions it would be considered entrapment, but in others there are already adults pretending to be kids trying to lure such predators out while being careful to not technically cross the line into entrapment and in such jurisdictions a tool like the one described could reduce the amount of manpower needed to get the same results…

Schlepp December 18, 2007 3:03 PM

Not Eliza, but RACTER of the mid-eighties. That program’s descendants are the ones to suspect.

z December 21, 2007 2:05 AM

@nzruss OMG I think i just pissed myself. [sing] bla bla bla bla anne boot…[/sing] hahahaha

I hope that was a spoof..people wouldn’t really listen to that…would they? hahaha

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