Tech Giants Fight Child Sexual Abuse Content OnlineBy José Escobedo | Thu, 06/11/2020 - 18:32
US tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Snapchat, along with 18 other international companies, presented an initiative to fight child sexual abuse content online. The Technology Coalition, which was formed in 2006, includes technology companies of various sizes that have committed to collaborate to keep content off social networks and other distribution platforms through the implementation of technological moderation instruments on large digital platforms that allows automated recognition systems to detect pornographic images.
These firms have announced Project Protect, which aims to improve the cross-industry approach to stopping child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) content appearing online, reports the Daily Mail. This project consists of a “five pillar” plan that includes pushing technological innovations that are able to detect and stop this type of content. The project aims to encourage more participation from other firms, as well as funding for more research.
The coalition has agreed to finance a "multi-million-euro research and innovation fund to create technological instruments to eradicating exploitation and sexual abuse of children online.” According to organization, research projects will be conducted independently of the Tech Coalition and its members and will include pilot studies on issues such as evolving threats, the effectiveness of awareness and deterrence interventions and how to improve the work of moderators.
“This new plan will help us share the progress we have made concerning lessons and leading instruments in the digital ecosystem. No company can fight this problem alone," said Kent Walker, a Google official. Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg said the project "brings together the brightest minds from across the tech industry to tackle a grave issue. Facebook is proud to contribute to this initiative that we hope will lead to real changes to ensure the safety of children.”
The Daily mail reported that in a blog post announcing its plans, the group said advances in technology and social media had "added to the challenge of keeping the internet a safe place." However, after consultation with experts, renewed investment and ongoing commitment would be key to prevent and eradicate online CSEA. Google Senior Vice President of Global Affairs Kent Walker said this project will help firms share "progress, learnings, and cutting-edge tools" to help fight the problem, adding that "no company can fight this problem alone."
There is still much work to do about fighting sexual child abuse in Mexico. According to the OECD, Mexico ranks first in child sexual abuse. Every year there are 5.4 million child abuse cases. Sadly, for every 1,000 cases, only 100 are reported. Of these, only 10 go to trial and only one case gets a final sentence. According to the Human Rights Council of the UN, Mexico generates 60 percent of global child pornography. The reason for this high percentage is that in many cases, criminals steal images that the victim has on their social networks or on their electronic devices, so it does not necessarily imply direct contact with the victim.
In December 2019, the Attorney General's Office (FGR) dismantled a child pornography network that distributed images and videos through WhatsApp internationally. The operation called “Angel Mancillado” consisted of undercover cyber police work in Europe and the US. The operation turned out to be a success, thanks to authorities in charge of the operation that were able to determine the identity of the forum’s administrators and participants. During the operation, five Mexicans were arrested.