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Career Interview with Carolina Christofoletti

This week's interview is with Carolina Christofoletti, who is the Head of the Child Sexual Abuse Materials (CSAM) Research and Investigations Unit at the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative (ATII).

Connect with Carolina on LinkedIn.

Visit the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative (ATII) here.

Carolina, where do you work now and what exactly is it that you do?

At present, I am the Head of Research and CSAM Investigations at the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative, where I work in close partnership with national and international law enforcement authorities by supporting them in ongoing investigations. Every CSAM investigation conducted in partnership with ATII is being equally researched for actionable intelligence indicators, so that we can better inform our Law Enforcement Authorities and also gather valuable input from them. CSAM Analytics - translate a CSAM Researcher’s job like that.

Can you tell us more about the industry that you are working in?

ATII has two specific focus: The fight against Human Trafficking and the fight against CSAM, both of which we work in strong cooperation with Law Enforcement Authorities, as also with the OSINT and Finance Intelligence partners. Our investigations are powered by our professional teams of volunteers at the OSINT, Financial Intelligence and other Teams level, as also constantly helped by Hades, a Dark Web software that ATII has developed for this specific purpose.

What skills, knowledge, and background are required to work in your industry?

The intelligence career is not a background-specific one. I, for example, was raised at the Law School - where I bring my analytics, my sense of legality and my current methodology from. 

Working with intelligence means being able to walk a great part of our career path by yourself, specially when it comes to analytics. Because the intelligence environment is highly volatile, anyone working with CSAM Research (and consequently with CSAM Intelligence) must be a constant learner. 

Notwithstanding, having someone to guide you through the intelligence route is something that can be decisive - and I had, personally, had the great chance of having some great intelligence mentors during my career, and to whom I am extremely grateful. My mentors remain, until today, my first point of reference when it comes to self-development.

For me, being mentored by someone else who is already working in the field is something I would highly advise, even though I would not set it as a “requirement”. 

In terms of skills, one of the most valuable skills one of my mentors taught me is that a good analyst does not panic: (s)he looks for alternatives. Adaptability thus remains, in my view, an indispensable skill. 

In your view, what are the top skills/attributes to have for becoming successful in your area?

1. Strong operational security knowledge (OPSEC) 

2. Great analytical and abstraction capacity 

3. Problem-solving thinking 

Where and how did you land your first job?

My CSAM Researcher career was born at University of São Paulo (Brazil) Law School and during my second year as an undergraduate, with a Research Project of mine being selected for public funding in August 2017. This research report and its follow-ups gained a prominence I wasn’t absolutely expecting: Suddenly, I started to stand out for the very specific and unique research I was doing. 

Following the advice of a foreign professor who was delighted by the innovative approach of my work, I started translating into English and publishing in a channel of high circulation (LinkedIn) - which brought it to an international audience. 

Looking back at how you started and where you are today, what advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a similar career or even transition to the field you are working in?

1. Find where the gaps are 

2. Study (in depth) methodology. 

3. Be transparent with Law Enforcement Authorities about what is it that you are doing and keep the communication open.

4.  Do not break any laws

5.  Keep your operational security practice up to date

6. Keep the good diplomacy

If you were to hire people in your team, what would you look for? 

A problem-solving mindset, a great analytical capacity, an adequate sense of discretion and an untouchable ethical integrity. 

Looking at your career, is there anything you would do differently today if you had the chance to travel back in time?

I would have start learning “how to code” earlier.

Where and how do you develop yourself professionally?

I have daily “to-read” lists, and I take a time of my day to learn something new every day. This can be, for example, a Coursera new Course, a new law that was just published or an interesting report that someone has just sent me through LinkedIn. 

Important is not where and how one develops oneself professionally, but the fact that one is constantly looking forward to learning something new.

Are there any websites, books, podcasts, or anything else that you would recommend for professional development (does not have to be OSINT related)?

Articles: 

My LinkedIn articles, which can be found in my LinkedIn page (linked above)

Books: 

Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography on the Internet by Philipp Jenkins 

Silk Road by Eileen Ormsby

The Darkest Web by Eileen Ormsby

Podcasts: 

Safe to Net (https://safetonet.com/)

CatFish Cops (https://catfishcops.com/)


[End of interview]

Note: this interview has not been edited.

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