The scale, severity and complexity of online child sexual exploitation and abuse is increasing at a faster pace than those trying to respond can do so. Referrals from industry and law enforcement partners have reached record highs. This creates an urgent need for governments, law enforcement organisations and civil society to work with the technology industry and step up their collective response.
The most recent Global Threat Assessment recommends that:
- The international community should engage upstream technology and service providers more consistently at the national and international levels.
- The international community should consider a paradigm shift in the current notice and take-down model for relieving victims from trauma and taking bad content hosts offline, while improving international access and data sharing.
- Global technology companies should be more proactive in their efforts to scan, detect and remove child sexual abuse material and thwart grooming attempts. Companies should embrace a safety by design approach rather than a reactive stance, for example through verification of children online.
The situation is ever more challenging. Today, industry-applied encryption means that technology companies are increasingly unable to identify and flag malicious use of their own platforms. Anonymity and secure networking continue to enable offenders to establish safe spaces online, where they can network and spread tools and techniques to facilitate exploitation.
As we develop our understanding of the methodology and motivations of offenders, and of the needs and impact of abuse on victims, it underlines the importance of prevention and protection. We must stop the harm before it takes place.
See the Voluntary Principles:
A set of Voluntary Principles developed by the Five Country governments (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and US) in consultation with six leading technology companies and a broad range of experts from industry, civil society and academia.
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.