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Competition To Identify Sexual Predators In Chat Logs 273

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-see-what-you-wrote-there dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from the University of Lugano, Switzerland, and other universities from the U.S. and Europe organize a competition to automatically identify sexual predators in chat logs. The task is described as: 'The goal of this sub-task is to identify classes of authors, namely online predators. You will be given chat logs involving two (or more) people and have to determine who is the one trying to convince the other participants(s) to provide some sexual favor. You will also need to identify the particular conversation where the person exploits his bad behavior.' Their data set covers hundreds of chat logs with dozens of true positives (i.e., chats where one is trying to hit on another)."
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Competition To Identify Sexual Predators In Chat Logs

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  • Simple algorithm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by srussia (884021) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @01:57PM (#39563379)
    A/S/L
  • Ummm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @01:57PM (#39563387)

    automatically identify sexual predators in chat logs

    OK sounds good hate those guys

    trying to convince the other partecipants(s) to provide some sexual favor

    Whoa whoa who here, thats me and my wife not a bunch of predators.

    Whoever would have guessed that the govt trying to get into my bedroom would mean they're scanning my chat logs.

    I suppose Target store wants to monetize this too...

  • False positives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @01:58PM (#39563393)
    Not everyone who solicits sexual favors is a "predator". They seem to be making that leap.
    • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:04PM (#39563489)

      Not everyone who solicits sexual favors is a "predator". They seem to be making that leap.

      Hell, some people seemingly solicit for sexual favors when they actually want nothing of the sort. Just the other day, two guys were shouting at each other, and unless this was some kind of passive-aggressive homoerotic fantasy being acted out, the one's invitation, "Suck my dick!" to the other was almost undoubtedly not solicited with any expectation or desire behind it...

      • These are both things that make it an interesting problem to work on.

        BTW, they call it a competition, but I can't see a prize...

        • by Thud457 (234763) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:21PM (#39563791) Homepage Journal

          they call it a competition, but I can't see a prize...

          Obviously the prize is the ****EPIC**** ****LULZ!!!1!1**** to be had.

      • Not everyone who solicits sexual favors is a "predator". They seem to be making that leap.

        Hell, some people seemingly solicit for sexual favors when they actually want nothing of the sort. Just the other day, two guys were shouting at each other, and unless this was some kind of passive-aggressive homoerotic fantasy being acted out, the one's invitation, "Suck my dick!" to the other was almost undoubtedly not solicited with any expectation or desire behind it...

        Or "I'm looking for the tastiest spotted dick to eat" ?

    • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @04:08PM (#39565243) Homepage

      The cultural expectation in the West has been, for quite some time, that if you're a white male, you're a sexual predator. That's what Women's Studies has been teaching to Education and Business majors now for several generations, and is often considered a requirement (as I understand things). Many convictions today of sexual harassment, as well as rape trials, are based on that thin veil of sexism and racism.

      • by Fwipp (1473271)

        Many convictions of sexual harassment are based on actual sexual harassment.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Many convictions of sexual harassment are based on actual sexual harassment.

          Shouldn't it be "all convictions of sexual harassment are based on actual sexual harassment"? Or at least "most"?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Thanks to these guys a lot of them will be anti-anti-sex-predator bots developed with the aid of all this free research and example code.

  • Sample (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @01:58PM (#39563411)

    bloodninja: Baby, I been havin a tough night so treat me nice aight?

    BritneySpears14: Aight.

    bloodninja: Slip out of those pants baby, yeah.

    BritneySpears14: I slip out of my pants, just for you, bloodninja.

    bloodninja: Oh yeah, aight. Aight, I put on my robe and wizard hat.

    BritneySpears14: Oh, I like to play dress up.

    bloodninja: Me too baby.

    BritneySpears14: I kiss you softly on your chest.

    bloodninja: I cast Lvl. 3 Eroticism. You turn into a real beautiful woman.

    BritneySpears14: Hey...

    bloodninja: I meditate to regain my mana, before casting Lvl. 8 Cock of the Infinite.

    BritneySpears14: Funny I still don't see it.

    bloodninja: I spend my mana reserves to cast Mighty F*ck of the Beyondness.

    BritneySpears14: You are the worst cyber partner ever. This is ridiculous.

    bloodninja: Don't f*ck with me bitch, I'm the mightiest sorcerer of the lands.

    bloodninja: I steal yo soul and cast Lightning Lvl. 1,000,000 Your body explodes into a fine bloody mist, because you are only a Lvl. 2 Druid.

    BritneySpears14: Don't ever message me again you piece of ****.

    bloodninja: Robots are trying to drill my brain but my lightning shield inflicts DOA attack, leaving the robots as flaming piles of metal.

    bloodninja: King Arthur congratulates me for destroying Dr. Robotnik's evil army of Robot Socialist Republics. The cold war ends. Reagan steals my accomplishments and makes like it was cause of him.

    bloodninja: You still there baby? I think it's getting hard now.

    bloodninja: Baby?

    -------------------

    bloodninja: Ok baby, we got to hurry, I don't know how long I can keep it ready for you.

    j_gurli3: thats ok. ok i'm a japanese schoolgirl, what r u.

    bloodninja: A Rhinocerus. Well, hung like one, thats for sure.

    j_gurli3: haha, ok lets go.

    j_gurli3: i put my hand through ur hair, and kiss u on the neck.

    bloodninja: I stomp the ground, and snort, to alert you that you are in my breeding territory.

    j_gurli3: haha, ok, u know that turns me on.

    j_gurli3: i start unbuttoning ur shirt.

    bloodninja: Rhinoceruses don't wear shirts.

    j_gurli3: No, ur not really a Rhinocerus silly, it's just part of the game.

    bloodninja: Rhinoceruses don't play games. They f*cking charge your ass.

    j_gurli3: stop, cmon be serious.

    bloodninja: It doesn't get any more serious than a Rhinocerus about to charge your ass.

    bloodninja: I stomp my feet, the dust stirs around my tough skinned feet.

    j_gurli3: thats it.

    bloodninja: Nostrils flaring, I lower my head. My horn, like some phallic symbol of my potent virility, is the last thing you see as skulls collide and mine remains the victor. You are now a bloody red ragdoll suspended in the air on my mighty horn.

    bloodninja: Goddam am I hard now.

    --------------

    BritneySpears14: Ok, are you ready?

    eminemBNJA: Aight, yeah I'm ready.

    BritneySpears14: I like your music Em... Tee hee.

    eminemBNJA: huh huh, yeah, I make it for the ladies.

    BritneySpears14: Mmm, we like it a lot. Let me show you.

    BritneySpears14: I take off your pants, slowly, and massage your muscular physique.

    eminemBNJA: Oh I like that Baby. I put on my robe and wizard hat.

    BritneySpears14: What the f*ck, I told you not to message me again.

    eminemBNJA: Oh ****

    BritneySpears14: I swear if you do it one more time I'm gonna report your ISP and say you were sending me kiddie porn you f*ck up.

    eminemBNJA: Oh ****

    eminemBNJA: damn I gotta write down your names or something

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I can't believe this got modded down. Seriously people? Just for that I'm going to post this:

      <JonJonB> Ok
      <JonJonB> I have found, definitive proof
      <JonJonB> that J.K Rowling is a dirty DIRTY woman, making a fool of us all
      <JonJonB> "Yes," Harry said, gripping his wang very tightly, and moving into the middle of the deserted classroom. He tried to keep his mind on flying, but something else kept intruding.... Any second now, he might hear his mother again... but he shouldn't think that,

      • Re:Sample (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:34PM (#39563989)

        Me: Hey beautiful
        Her: Wow, thanks. That was unexpected
        Me: I'm not saying it because it's nice, I'm saying it because it's true.
        Her: My my, whats gotten into you? Youre in a really sweet mood rite now :)
        Me: I realized It's time to talk to beautiful girls and chew bubble gum, and I'm all outta gum.
        Her: You know I have a boyfriend right? Why are you saying this to me anyway?
        Me: I've got balls of steel!
        Her: lol you probably do cause he'd be pissed if he saw this.
        Me: I'm an equal opportunity ass kicker!
        Her: HAHA omg, you're so weird today. You tell me I'm beautiful and now you're acting all alpha.
        Me: Balls of steel!
        Her: Right right. Look, honestly I think you're kind of cute so if you're not doing anything right now, why don't you come over? Just don't tell anyone okay :)
        Me: Hail to the king, baby
        Her: lol, just get the hell over here
        Me: Damn I'm good

  • Is this even difficult? Someone please tear into these weirdos.

    • I put on my robe and wizard hat...
    • Re:Obvious? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thesandtiger (819476) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:30PM (#39563927)

      It isn't always obvious because efforts to get into someone's head aren't always obvious.

      Some people will attempt to groom a chat participant - they will ask more or less innocuous questions, but occasionally throw in one that is just a shade less innocuous than the others. Over time they will push the limits, until eventually some of the most outrageous stuff seems like it's just par for the course from this person. They'll couch all of this in the guise of being a mentor or friend, will back off if their target gets a little iffy, but will try to reconcile and take another tack. When this method is used against a target from a vulnerable population (kids, for example) it's scary how effective it can be and how easily even people who are not in vulnerable groups get taken in (see: people who fall for scams).

      Eventually predators will shift to a more active part once their target has been willing to talk openly about previously forbidden subjects, and they'll attempt to get a cam session, phonecall, pics, meetings, whatever. The target might agree to go on cam or to pics, and at that point the predator has them - "Hey, if you don't keep doing this I'll post those pics/videos everywhere" etc.

      It's easy to recognize the obvious and unsubtle ones, but it's a lot harder to recognize (from a relatively small sample) the more crafty ones unless you're an outside observer. For example, if I were someone being groomed by a predator as I described, I might not balk at a question as to whether I had pubic hair since I'd already been conditioned to trust that person. But if I were an outside observer it would be obvious that is untoward - unfortunately for many people targeted by predators, no outside observer is there to kind of make them realize what's going on.

      As a researcher who often works with young people who have been exploited or put at risk, I've been given chatlogs from predators like the ones I've described above and was just astonished at how things progressed. However, quite a few of the skeevy questions that were asked by predators were ALSO asked in completely innocuous relationships and in that context were not nearly as skeevy. Just flagging based on questions or terms isn't enough - it's a context that needs to be understood.

      The goal, I imagine, in the case of this contest, would be to help automate the process of that "outside observer" to have the software check for suspicious behavior/history and throw a flag once it passes a certain threshold but BEFORE the target gets exploited, and possibly to minimize the number of false positives so that extensive resources aren't wasted on non-predatory relationships.

      Ethical considerations aside, it's an interesting problem and could be applied to a number of areas where you're attempting to detect non-obvious manipulative behavior in any kind of multi-party interaction.

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        To expand on this a bit.... in a less creepy way.... I remember being an awkward 20 something geek. Never learned how to really "get girls", more than a bit socially inept. so naturally I started reading up on flirting, and dating.... etc...

        After a while I came to a conclusion.... the distance between being friendly and hitting on someone is very very short and often as much in the mind of the individual as anywhere. In fact, most of the things that one is told to do "look her in the eye", "pay attention to

        • It's actually pretty amazing just how vastly the difference in perception can be when doing things like flirting, as you say. When one party is thinking about the interaction in a different context than the other there is HUGE room for misunderstanding even when the signals are unambiguous.

          I'd also agree that I'm skeptical about this kind of system; my gut tells me it would need to have a huge amount of information on each person in the chat, across multiple chats with multiple parties, to even begin to bui

          • by robot256 (1635039)

            When one party is thinking about the interaction in a different context than the other there is HUGE room for misunderstanding even when the signals are unambiguous.

            Then it would appear that what you call unambiguous signals are in fact extremely ambiguous. The context is part of the message too, so if the parties are not aware of what context the other is using, then the communication has already failed.

          • by Tassach (137772)

            Some people are very, very good at reading people - can take one look at someone, see a relatively small number of factors but put them together into a framework that suggests lots of other probabilities about the person that turns out to be startlingly accurate. I could see them trying this to see if it's possible for algorithms to pull off this same kind of feat.

            It's called cold reading [wikipedia.org], and it's a parlor trick / con game / pseudoscience. The reason it appears to work is primarily due to confirmation bias [wikipedia.org] - you want to believe, so you focus on the successes and ignore the misses, even when the latter far outnumber the former.

        • by robot256 (1635039)

          As an awkward 20-something myself, I have found it extremely important to verifying or explicitly establish context during important communications. For example, if after a sufficient amount of normal conversation you are not certain that she is uninterested, say out loud "I am interested in you as a possible romantic partner." It is much more effective than the mix of body language and innocuous comments known as flirting, especially when the target is similarly awkward and socially unaware. If she is no

    • It is not as simple as this:

      G: I'm 12!
      P: Oh, let's go have some sex. I can show you how, since I am an experienced 40 year old.
  • *BONG* *KLAXON* *BONG*

    Here come the FBI. Off to Guantanamo with you.

  • by LionKimbro (200000) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:02PM (#39563467) Homepage

    detect_predator = (user_a.sex == "M" or user_b.sex == "M") and ((user_a.age=18) or (user_b.age>=18))

    Boom! I win! Give me reward moneys.

    • Where's the part where you determine the genders and ages of people from their chat logs?

    • by walkerp1 (523460)

      detect_predator = (user_a.sex == "M" or user_b.sex == "M") and ((user_a.age=18) or (user_b.age>=18))

      Boom! I win! Give me reward moneys.

      You have a bug in your user_a detection that allows 19+ males to slip through.

      • by Hentes (2461350)
        No, after user_a.age have been assigned 18, the assignment will return 18, which is true. The problem in this case is that the algorithm is overzealous, and will also flag 18- user_a males as predators.
    • by Xtifr (1323)

      Wait, so sexual predators are people who go exclusively after 18-year-olds? No older, no younger?

      Even if I assume that slashdot ate your '<' and you really meant "user_a.age<=18", that's still flawed in two ways: 1) 18 is legal (so '<=' was not the right operator to use), and, 2) in most states (and most countries outside the US), 17 is legal, and in several states (and several countries), 16 is legal. Also many sexual predators (possibly most) go after adults and/or don't really care about the a

      • by Hentes (2461350)
        Which is why he used an OR between the ages.
        • by Xtifr (1323)

          That doesn't even begin to address the issues. I suspect he was trying to make a joke, but his psuedo-code was so bad that the joke was entirely lost--I can't even begin to guess what he was trying to convey. Furthermore, posting psuedo-code that bad/buggy on slashdot is hardly a way to gain geek cred points.

          • by Hentes (2461350)
            The joke was that all 18+ males are considered predators by some. Not that funny, I admit.
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:07PM (#39563549)
    I think many of us here could find such an algorithm useful to detect when a female is hitting on us.
  • Dateline NBC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rwv (1636355) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:09PM (#39563583) Homepage Journal
    What about an algorithm for detecting if one of the chatters is an adult who's posing as a 12-17 year-old for reasons of entrapment and TV ratings?
    • Re:Dateline NBC (Score:5, Informative)

      by jimbolauski (882977) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:44PM (#39564131) Journal
      Your NAMBLA logic fails you once you understand what entrapment truly is. An adult sending sexually explicit text messages to a person posing to be a minor is not entrapment. An adult going over to what they think is a minor's residence with the intent of molesting the minor is not entrapment. It becomes entrapment if the fake minor steers the conversation to an inappropriate conversation.

      A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.
      However, there is no entrapment where a person is ready and willing to break the law and the Government agents merely provide what appears to be a favorable opportunity for the person to commit the crime. For example, it is not entrapment for a Government agent to pretend to be someone else and to offer, either directly or through an informer or other decoy, to engage in an unlawful transaction with the person. So, a person would not be a victim of entrapment if the person was ready, willing and able to commit the crime charged in the indictment whenever opportunity was afforded, and that Government officers or their agents did no more than offer an opportunity.
      On the other hand, if the evidence leaves a reasonable doubt whether the person had any intent to commit the crime except for inducement or persuasion on the part of some Government officer or agent, then the person is not guilty.
      In slightly different words: Even though someone may have [sold drugs], as charged by the government, if it was the result of entrapment then he is not guilty. Government agents entrapped him if three things occurred:
      - First, the idea for committing the crime came from the government agents and not from the person accused of the crime.
      - Second, the government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime. Simply giving him the opportunity to commit the crime is not the same as persuading him to commit the crime.
      - And third, the person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government agents spoke with him.
      On the issue of entrapment the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped by government agents.

  • We MUST do this FOR THE CHILDREN. What could possibly go wrong?
  • But... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jtnix (173853) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:09PM (#39563593) Homepage

    What if I am just trying to get laid? Seriously, how does one determine from chat text whether a person is a 'sexual predator' vs. someone who is just looking for a casual hookup? Wouldn't the approach be similar if not identical? I smell a FAIL.

    Of course, the results of this 'competition' will likely get support from conservative, big brother regimes as a way to ring up innocent and horny people - particularly targeting young men - online.

    Gender based stereotyping, convictions and punishment coming soon to the interwebs and country you live in. That's just wonderful!

    • by Hatta (162192)

      What if I am just trying to get laid?

      Then you are a predator. In the minds of these people, going to the bar and looking for the sluttiest girl is no different from going to the watering hole and looking for the slowest Wildebeest. You will get caught in a drag net, and no one will care that you're harmless because you've been labeled a sexual predator. After all, "if it stops just one rape..."

  • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlieNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:09PM (#39563595) Homepage

    This looks like a not-too-well-prepared excercise as there is absolutely no definition of what they mean with "sexual predator," except that a sexual predator tries to gain some sort of a sexually-loaded response from the other side. The problem: what is considered a "sexually-loaded response," would e.g. a boyfriend asking his girlfriend for a bikini-picture qualify as a "predator" even though the act is perfectly common and acceptable, do they deem there is a possibility of a sexually-loaded conversation that still manages to say within the terms of "good behaviour" or are all sexually-loaded comments and conversations inherently "bad behaviour" etc. etc.

    I have a feeling the whole point with this is to use the results for "protect the children" - politics in an effort to score brownie-points.

  • Do pattern matching on what the other chat room members reply with, rather than the pick up line itself.

  • by icebike (68054) * on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:13PM (#39563661)

    While cloaked in "won't somebody please think of the children" language, it appears to me that this project is really all about developing technology to rapidly scan a mountain of text conversations to identify any instances of behavior for which you have a few documented prototypes.

    Swap in political activist, opposition party, occupy movement, flash mob, or hackers, and the project doesn't seem so appealing. The goal sounds like they would like to find an engine to which you could feed in a few examples and have a few thousand computers watching all conversations on the net.

    Why would Universities participate in that? Are these people that naive? Why not spend the money on education materials, or web sites explaining the sexual predators techniques so at risk populations can be smarter, rather than helping governments build Skynet?

    • by fa2k (881632)

      Why would Universities participate in that? Are these people that naive? Why not spend the money on education materials, or web sites explaining the sexual predators techniques so at risk populations can be smarter, rather than helping governments build Skynet?

      If the alternative is that the governments build this secretly, then it's much better to have it out in the open, as public research. It's maybe even a question of civil rights, if this was implemented in a live environment.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        You make a good point, that public research could be used for good, built into software that runs locally on your 13 year old daughters computer or phone which pops up a warning telling her, in language she can understand, that the other party is a) probably much older, b) persistently steering the conversation toward sex, c) are you sure you want to post that? d) OMFG I'm telling mom....

        (You'd probably have to leave off point d) or she would find ways around the software.)

        How successful this would be is an

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Why not spend the money on education materials, or web sites explaining the sexual predators techniques so at risk populations can be smarter, rather than helping governments build Skynet?

      My bet is that they are not spending money but earning it, planning to sell this tool to all sorts of paranoids over the world.

  • Sex is bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:17PM (#39563729) Homepage

    First, "being persistent" (common dating advice for men in earlier decades) became "stalking". Telling a woman she looked hot became "sexual harassment", even when the man had no power over the woman. Now, asking for sex makes you a "sexual predator". And if a woman agrees to sex, men have to worry that she may later claim she was raped.

    The "sex is bad" side has won.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There is a difference between being persistent and stalking a woman. If you don't know the difference you should probably not try to be persistent.

      Choose who you flirt with wisely and you won't have most of these problems. In an office environment let her flirt first. Then flirt back, but don't escalate and always have an out. You should be doing that anyway since you don't want to be "too interested". When you compliment a woman remember she is more than just good looks. No one was ever sued for sexual har

    • Nah, dude, you're just a charmless buffoon. That's why you can't get laid.

  • Wait a second.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me&hotmail,com> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:40PM (#39564063) Homepage Journal

    Since when is one person chatting with another and asking for "sexual favors" suddenly a sexual predator? If I'm hitting on a person and ask to see a naughty pic this is predatory behavior? If the person is of age and I'm of age WTF is the issue? If they asks me for a pic and I'm interested am I being preyed upon somehow? What if I welcome this, what's the issue? The assumptions here are tremendous IMO! Please tell me age plays SOME factor in all of this sheesh!

  • by lobiusmoop (305328) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:03PM (#39564317) Homepage

    It's Alan Turing spinning in his grave.

  • If Yawning means you might be a terrorist...... Perhaps if your last name starts with an "A" you might be a sexual predictor.... just ask Assange...

  • The goal of this sub-task is to identify classes of authors, namely online predators. You will be given chat logs involving two (or more) people and have to determine who is the one trying to convince the other partecipants(s) to provide some sexual favour . You will also need to identify the particular conversation where the person exploits his bad behavior.

    It would seem to me the use of the word participant would incite that both parties are receptive to the chat at hand, in which case depending on the

  • So, how do they determine that it's illegal?

    I spent a great deal of time (in high school) talking to girls from my high school on AOL Instant Messenger back in the day. I bet 90% of that time was spent trying to get sexual favors. I'm sure I was often inappropriate, but I wasn't a pedophile (kinda hard when all parties are 16-18 years old).

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