On Monday, it announced that it would hand over video footage of the interactions to international police organization Interpol.
For the "Becoming Sweetie" project (PDF of detailed report), Terre de Homme paired with Avaaz.org, an activist group that campaigns on international issues from corruption to poverty to climate change.
It’s hard to say the exact moment when I think of Cozmo as an actual little creature.
Researchers made sure to model their alter ego's online conversation, in style and tone, to that of a preteen Filipino girl. But what they don't know: I'm not real." To show them she was, Terre de Homme researchers hunkered in an Amsterdam warehouse, turned on a Webcam, and using software, controlled the CG girl's conversation, facial expressions, and movements (made realistic through the use of motion capture technology).
"As soon as I go online, they come to me," Sweetie says in a short video documentary about Terre des Homme's campaign against Webcam child sex tourism. While the fake girl chatted with the real men, the activists tracked the potential criminals down not by hacking their computers, but by using information they volunteered -- Facebook and other social-media profiles, Skype handles, phone numbers, pictures, and video footage.
Some may just chance their luck by trying to find unsuspecting children on Facebook or other non-purpose-built chat rooms.