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.