Groundbreaking New Tool to Remove Online Child Sexual Abuse Material
Even as efforts to fight online child sex abuse material and compensate victims remains stalled in the United States House of Representatives, efforts abroad continue unabated.
Last week, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection introduced a new tool to combat the growing proliferation of child sexual abuse material on the Internet. Dubbed ‘Project Arachnid’, this automated crawler will help reduce the online availability of child sexual abuse material and break the cycle of abuse.
Project Arachnid detects images and videos of child sexual abuse material based on confirmed digital fingerprints of illegal content. Once content has been identified, a notice is sent to the hosting provider to request its immediate removal. This innovative tool detects content at a speed exponentially faster than current methods. In a very short period of only six weeks, Project Arachnid:
- Processed over 230 million web pages
- Detected over 5.1 million unique web pages hosting child sexual abuse material
- Detected over 40,000 unique images of child sexual abuse material
“These numbers serve as a reality check about the serious problem of child sexual abuse,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre. “We can no longer deny what is right in front of us. We believe that knowledge is the best antidote to societal denial that these types of things don’t happen to children.”
The Canadian Centre created an animated video to showcase the power of Project Arachnid and the urgent need to break the cycle of abuse experienced by survivors of this heinous crime.
Toronto Star – New search tool digs into darkest corners of the Internet
Director of Cybertip.ca says making content more difficult to find is in the best interests of child abuse victims
A new Canadian-made Internet search tool that detects child sexual abuse images online has logged more than five million unique web pages with 40,000 images in the past six weeks alone, the Toronto Star has learned.
Project Arachnid, created by the Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection, is searching 150 web links a second for child abuse imagery in an effort to have it removed from public view, a form of lingering abuse for victims.
When the search tool identifies illegal material, the centre sends notices to the site host requesting its removal.
Read the complete story at https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/01/17/new-web-searcher-digs-into-the-internet-darkest-corners.html
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International Survivors’ Survey
The need for Project Arachnid is based on Cybertip.ca witnessing the growing proliferation of child sexual abuse material, and was further validated by the Canadian Centre’s International Survivors’ Survey. This survey was developed to better understand the unique challenges faced by survivors whose abuse as a child was recorded and, in many instances, distributed online. To date, 128 survivors from around the world have contributed valuable information about their experiences. Some of the preliminary results include:
- 73% of the survivors worry about being recognized by someone because of the recording of their child sexual abuse
- Nearly 60% of the survivors indicated that the single/primary abuser was a parent
- 56% of the survivors indicated that the abuse began before between the ages of 0-four, and of those over 60% indicated that the abuse continued into adulthood
- At least 66 surveys (52%) involved organized sexual abuse (abuse that involves children being subjected to sexual abuse by multiple offenders)
- 67% of the survivors were threatened with physical harm and of those 43% were told they would die or be killed
- 82% of the survivors anticipate needing ongoing/future therapy
“Given what we heard from survivors, we believe that one of the most important outcomes of Project Arachnid will be the psychological relief offered to survivors who have had no control over the ongoing sharing of their abuse,” said McDonald. “Project Arachnid is using technology to counter the years of misuse by offenders and to help end the cycle of abuse.”
The survey continues to be available, and other survivors are encouraged to participate in this important initiative. The goal is to collaborate with the international working group established by the Canadian Centre to assist in the development of global recommendations related to this issue.
As stated by one survivor who, with her siblings, was a victim of this crime; “Child pornography isn’t easily understood or acknowledged. From our young childhood till adulthood we have been exploited every day. Every. Day. Against our will. At times we have felt helpless, hopeless and have lived in fear. We want to tell others who are also victims you no longer need to live in fear or wear guilt and shame every day. There is hope. So many great people are working hard every day to protect us.”
Toronto Star – Chilling evidence of organized child sex abuse revealed in survey
Odette and her sisters Rosemary and Lucy are among the victims of what a new survey by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection suggests is a widespread tragedy — child exploitation rings led by parents of the abused
Responses from 128 child abuse survivors across North America and Europe found 52 per cent were victimized by a network of abusers, overwhelmingly involving their own parents, who shared images and even their children themselves with others. In most cases — nearly 70 per cent — images were then shared with millions more strangers online.
Most survivors are haunted by the online life of the imagery. More than 70 per cent surveyed said that the imagery never ends and makes them feel vulnerable to being recognized. About 90 per cent said their abuse affected both their education and professional success, in part because they know their victimization continues online.
About 30 per cent said they had been recognized by someone who saw their images online. Of those, 64 per cent said they were “targeted” — either blackmailed or propositioned.
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