France24: French police announce arrest of ‘darknet’ paedophilia site operator. “French prosecutors said Monday that police had arrested a man suspected of operating paedophilia sites on secret ‘darknet’ internet networks providing pornographic videos and pictures to thousands of people worldwide. The 40-year-old arrested near the southwestern city of Bordeaux on July 7 was described by prosecutors as “one of the 10 most-wanted targets” of authorities fighting child sex crimes around the globe.”
FBI: FBI Warns of Child Sexual Abuse Material Being Displayed During Zoom Meetings. “The COVID-19 crisis has caused many organizations and schools to conduct virtual meetings/events, some of which are open to the public. Additionally, links to many virtual events are being shared online, resulting in a lack of vetting of approved participants. During the last few months, the FBI has received more than 195 reports of incidents throughout the United States and in other countries in which a Zoom participant was able to broadcast a video depicting child sexual abuse material (CSAM). The FBI considers this activity to be a violent crime, as every time child sexual abuse material is viewed, the depicted child is re-victimized. Furthermore, anyone who inadvertently sees child sexual abuse material depicted during a virtual event is potentially a victim as well.”
FBI: School Closings Due to COVID-19 Present Potential for Increased Risk of Child Exploitation. “Due to school closings as a result of COVID-19, children will potentially have an increased online presence and/or be in a position that puts them at an inadvertent risk. Due to this newly developing environment, the FBI is seeking to warn parents, educators, caregivers, and children about the dangers of online sexual exploitation and signs of child abuse.”
New York Times: U.S. to Hold Tech Firms Accountable for Spread of Child Sex Abuse Imagery. “Legislation announced on Thursday aimed at curbing the spread of online child sexual abuse imagery would take the extraordinary step of removing legal protections for tech companies that fail to police the illegal content. A separate, international initiative that was also announced takes a softer approach, getting the industry to voluntarily embrace standards for combating the material.”
New York Times: Tech Companies Detect a Surge in Online Videos of Child Sexual Abuse. “The number of reported photos, videos and other materials related to online child sexual abuse grew by more than 50 percent last year, an indication that many of the world’s biggest technology platforms remain infested with the illegal content.”
US Department of Justice: Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison for Orchestrating Snapchat Sextortion Ring that Targeted Children. “U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, Chief W. Howard Harrison of the Planation Police Department, and Chief Dale Engle of the Davie Police Department, announced that Joseph Isaiah Woodson, Jr., 30, of Ashburn, Virginia, was sentenced yesterday to a total of 600 months in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez, after having been convicted at trial of using the internet to target and extort children through sexual exploitation (‘sextortion’) and pornographic offenses.”
New York Times: No ‘Magic Bullets’ in the Fight Against Online Abuse, but ‘Spiders’ Help. “Sexual predators have grown increasingly adept at using the internet to share and view child sexual abuse photos and videos. Some have computer-programming skills and have deployed sophisticated defenses against efforts to take them down. But the predators don’t have free rein on the internet, thanks to nearly four dozen child protection hotlines around the world, which act as a first line of defense against the explosion of imagery.”
The Verge: The Terror Queue. “Peter, who has done this job for nearly two years, worries about the toll that the job is taking on his mental health. His family has repeatedly urged him to quit. But he worries that he will not be able to find another job that pays as well as this one does: $18.50 an hour, or about $37,000 a year. Since he began working in the violent extremism queue, Peter noted, he has lost hair and gained weight. His temper is shorter. When he drives by the building where he works, even on his off days, a vein begins to throb in his chest.” This is about moderating content at Google and YouTube. It left me in tears. A disturbing but important read.
BT: Landmark data sharing agreement made to cut spread of child sex abuse imagery. “The UK’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is to work with a US counterpart to create the biggest database of hashed child abuse images in the world to help fight the spread of such content. The IWF will work with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US to share known content with each other – helping internet companies stop the upload, sharing and storing of such content.”
New York Times: Video Games and Online Chats Are ‘Hunting Grounds’ for Sexual Predators. “Sexual predators and other bad actors have found an easy access point into the lives of young people: They are meeting them online through multiplayer video games and chat apps, making virtual connections right in their victims’ homes.”
BBC: Facebook removes 11.6 million child abuse posts. “Facebook has released the latest figures in its efforts to remove harmful content from its platforms. They reveal 11.6 million pieces of content related to child nudity and child sexual exploitation were taken down between July and September 2019. For the first time, Facebook is also releasing figures for Instagram and including numbers for posts related to suicide and self-harm.”
BBC: Dark web child abuse: Hundreds arrested across 38 countries. “More than 300 people have been arrested following the take-down of one of the world’s ‘largest dark web child porn marketplaces’, investigators said. The site had more than 200,000 videos which had collectively been downloaded more than a million times.”
Tubefilter: YouTube Mom Indicted On 30 Counts Of Child Abuse Declared Incompetent To Stand Trial. “Machelle Hobson, the former proprietor of a popular YouTube children’s channel who was indicted on 30 counts of child molestation, child abuse, unlawful imprisonment, and child neglect in March, has been declared incompetent to stand trial by doctors on behalf of both the state and defense.” I’m not interested in noting legal troubles for any and all YouTube users, but because of the popularity of content featuring children on YouTube, this seemed worth paying attention to.
Deutsche Welle: German authorities turn to AI to combat child pornography online. “Peter Biesenbach, the justice minister in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s largest state, announced on Monday a new project in cooperation with computer giant Microsoft: the development of new AI technology that would not only automatize the detection of child pornography on the internet, but also lighten the workload and psychological burden on authorities dealing with such disturbing content.”
ReliefWeb: Child Soldiers World Index reveals shocking scale of child recruitment around the world. “The Child Soldiers World Index, developed by human rights group Child Soldiers International, is the first comprehensive worldwide resource on child recruitment…. Covering all 197 UN Members States, the World Index, which includes more than 10,000 data points, will include authoritative data on national laws, policies and child recruitment practices worldwide.”