Microsoft Highlights Efforts to Police the Net

Microsoft has also developed other tools for law enforcement use. One, which the company won't even name because it says that doing so might help the bad guys thwart it, helps agents track down phishers. The tool helped the Sûreté du Québec break up a global botnet network earlier this year, said Captain Frederick Gaudreau, who heads the provincial police force's cybercrime unit.

Last summer, Microsoft introduced another software tool called Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE). It fits on a USB drive and helps law enforcement agents find important information quickly on criminals' computers.

Along with the custom-built software, law enforcement agencies use off-the-shelf products that Microsoft donates for their use. Interpol uses Groove, for example, a collaboration product that lets people work together across different organizations.

The software has allowed Interpol to operate more efficiently, said Jean-Michel Louboutin, executive director of police services for Interpol. "Microsoft for several years has been a valuable partner for Interpol," he said.

In a recent case, law enforcement agents discovered a child predator in Asia and, within an hour, agents in different parts of the world used Groove to collaborate in a way that allowed them to connect the individual to hundreds of megabytes of child pornography stored in Europe, Smith said. Law enforcement was able to arrest the man.

The conference continues through Wednesday, although the remaining days are closed to reporters.

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