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Local FBI chief stepping down, warns of growing child porn problem

(Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY – A local FBI chief is saying goodbye, and says certain crimes are spiking in Utah.  He’s pointing out what Utahns need to do to better protect themselves.

One of the things that keeps FBI agents extremely busy in Utah is affinity fraud.  Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart says investigators could spend all day tracking down the scams people in this state fall victim to.  However, he’s also noticed most of the crimes they look into have one thing in common.

“The vast majority of things we investigate have a cyber element to them,” he says.

One of the most troubling crimes they track on line is child pornography trafficking.  Barnhart says the methods of sharing these images are becoming more complex, and the people doing are becoming more brazen.

“The use of encryption, the use of encrypted apps is becoming more and more sophisticated in how they transmit [images].  This is not the old collection 20 years ago,” he says, adding, “We actually find is the tradecraft used by terrorists is similar to the stuff used by child pornographers.”

Barnhart says he also has serious concerns about rehabilitation efforts for child porn traffickers in prison.  He believes they don’t work.

“In my mind, the first and foremost goal has to be protecting innocence, and a very distant second is rehabilitation, because I have just not seen the data that backs it up,” he says.