Child sexual abuse in any form is simply a heinous and deplorable crime; the creation, distribution and viewing of related materials is equally abhorrent. Its the abhorrent nature of these crimes that make most people avoid the subject and understandably not want to think about it, however it’s the collective actions of society that can add real power to the fight against these abhorrent activities.
Businesses and individuals can take action that will help towards fighting crimes involving child sexual abuse material and the following blog posted by digital forensics magazine not only highlights some myths surrounding the subject but also gives an insight into how businesses and individuals assist in the fight using IT filters.
5 myths about fighting child sexual abuse material
The 2015 NetClean report revealed that the numbers of crimes involving child sexual abuse material (CSA) are increasing, the violence is becoming more severe and the victims are getting younger. Despite these alarming numbers, the public, and in many cases also business owners and decision-makers, remain unaware of the full extent of the problem within the workplace or their communities.
It was to fight this evil that NetClean was formed in 2003 with the aim of making use of the latest technical inventions to stop the spread of CSA. However, despite being in operation for more than a decade there still exists misunderstandings about the technologies available to do so.
We debunk 5 myths about fighting CSA material:
1 Myth: There are no available technologies to block CSA material
It is a common misconception that technologies that can track and block CSA material does not exist, for example in this recent campaign https://www.stopchildporno-filter.be. It is immensely important that the public report any material that they come across, but it is not the sole solution.
Fact: There are advanced technologies available, designed to selectively identify and block CSA content to secure the corporate network. At NetClean, we have been cooperating with law enforcement and business leaders to develop the ProActive solution that tracks and blocks images that law enforcement has identified as CSA material.
2 Myth: Regular web filters are enough to block CSA content
Fact: You cannot rely on a web filter alone which only blocks URLs. CSA offenders are fully aware of the need to keep moving content around different websites in order to evade being blocked by filters and found by law enforcement. Most of the material is also shared through other methods, such as the Darknet, anonymisation techniques, peer to peer, etcetera. Therefore, the only effective way to stop the spread of CSA content is to track and block the image itself as soon as it is downloaded onto a network or opened on a computer.
3 Myth: Our networks are secure and will block and detect CSA content
Fact: CSA content does not typically infiltrate the workplace directly through the network. Instead, portable USB devices and mobile storage means that offenders typically bring illegal images or videos into the workplace on external devices. Therefore the actual work devices need to be secured, not just the networks.
4 Myth: ‘Child pornography’ is correct terminology
Fact: Child sexual abuse images and videos are not pornography, they are documentation of actual sexual abuse crime against children, and should be referred to as such. The term ‘child pornography’ only serves to ‘normalise’ the material’s existence and create confusion. As an example, some people even mistake the term ‘child pornography’ for children that watch pornography.
5 Myth: Installing technology to block CSA runs the risk of also blocking legal content
Fact: NetClean technologies only track and block CSA material. It is for this reason that our solutions are employed by millions of users including multinational organisations, government agencies, police authorities and Internet providers looking to protect their network and digital content. The technology is designed in collaboration with law enforcement agencies around the world, and uses digital fingerprints to classify and track each and every image or video file containing CSA evidence.
It is only through education and awareness that we will be able to highlight the sheer scale of the problem that is child sexual abuse. We need to work together, if we are to make a difference.