In August 1997, the Customs Service formed the CyberSmuggling Center, which (among other things) develops leads, tips, and complaints of child pornography and child luring and forwards them to area offices for further investigation and case development. Some of these leads come from the Center's website, which received almost 6,000 tips between November 1997 and November 1998.
The Center also conducts undercover operations to identify child pornography producers and distributors at the international level. These undercover operations have investigated operations on the World Wide Web, in newsgroups, in IRCs, in bulletin board services, and in commercial online services. Between November 1998 and September 1999, the Customs Service's child pornography investigations have resulted in 436 convictions.