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Online monitoring


Online Monitoring


The Leicestershire Police were tasked with investigating the disappearance of Madeline McCann in 2007 and wanted to monitor conversations in forums and chat rooms for potential sightings and updates to such sightings of the missing toddler.

Social media was in its infancy and few conversations were taking place on Facebook however, some such conversations were present within Myspace. GCHQ technology appeared to be unavailable and reserved for foreign intelligence applications only.

Interpol & Leicestershire Police Constabulary


Approximately 500 potential sightings of Madeline Mcann handed to UK Police


Ultima Thule had recently developed Yalert in conjunction with Lancaster University, probably the World’s first commercially available brand monitoring solution at the time. Use of this software was offered to Interpol via the Leicestershire Police.

With input from both Police organisations we identified several thousand forums and other chat rooms of interest that could be crawled by a search engine with or without a user login. We then monitored these forums regularly where a conversation of interest has been identified.


  • 1000+ Potential sightings identified
  • 0.5M discussion posts monitored across several thousand sites in Europe in many different languages
  • Over 1000 potential sightings were recorded in English or easy to translate European languages
  • From this a handful of valid leads were generated

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