Innovative technology can help curb the sharp growth of child sexual abuse online
Why is this needed?
Safety technology can prevent, detect, block, report and remove illegal and exploitative material, live streaming and grooming. Technology tools can also be used to deter and detect offenders and identify and protect victims.
Technology can also be used to identify some of the hard problems that are preventing progress. Online tools can work many times faster than humans to identify and detect abusive material, as well as track down platforms and websites used to share this material. Safety technology can also be used to assess risks and help limit the vulnerability of children online.
The technology industry can contribute to building a safer internet for children if:
It puts in place procedures to quickly remove child sexual exploitation and abuse material when a company confirms its presence on its service.
It sets up processes to enable the timely identification and reporting to authorities of child sexual exploitation and abuse online.
It develops tools, using technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to prevent, detect, block, report and remove illegal and exploitative material, livestreaming and grooming.
It carries out risk and safety assessments across platforms, in terms of both the risk to children but also for offender management.
It ensures child safety issues are paramount in the development and delivery of products and services, and they are integrated into appropriate corporate policies, procedures and processes.
It regularly publishes transparency reports on the detection and prevention of child sexual exploitation and abuse online.
You can find more detailed information about how the technology industry can help tackle child sexual abuse online in our frameworks, the Model National Response and the Global Strategic Response, and their online guides.
What is being done in this area?
The Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
In March 2020, the five Country Ministerial government partners (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States) released the Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
Developed by the five countries in consultation with six leading platforms (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Roblox, Snap and Twitter), the Voluntary Principles provide a high-level, best practice framework for online platforms and service providers in their efforts to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse online.
The following Alliance members have endorsed these Principles:
To assist members of the technology industry in considering how they might operationalise the Voluntary Principles, the six initial companies that supported the Principles (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Roblox, Snap and Twitter) have developed A guide for tech companies considering supporting the Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
Drawing on the collective experience of those companies, this guide provides an overview of operational, policy, and other practices that may be relevant. The guide is intended to support internal company conversations about the Voluntary Principles and to offer suggestions for practical action, alongside illustrative examples and a round-up of existing resources.
First released in February 2021, the guide will be maintained to ensure the examples and resources remain current.
Framing the Future
Our and UNICEF’s Framing the Future report gives an insight into how 42 Alliance countries have responded to child sexual abuse online and some of their challenges and best practices.
When it comes to the technology industry, the report shows that:
73% of the surveyed countries have procedures to enable the removal or blocking of child sexual abuse material
25 out of 41 governments of the surveyed countries engage with the industry sector and proactively encourage it to develop innovative solutions and corporate social responsibility
eSafety’s Safety by Design initiative
eSafety’s Safety by Design initiative encourages technology companies to anticipate, detect and eliminate the proliferation of online harms. Safety by Design acknowledges the need to make digital spaces safer and more inclusive to protect those most at risk. This encourages organisations to put safety and rights at the centre of the design and development of online products and services rather than retrofitting safeguards after harm has occurred.
Trust: Voluntary Framework for Industry Transparency
During our latest Global Summit, the Tech Coalition launched this framework, which offers guidance to tech companies on providing transparency reports on their efforts to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse online.