UK Home Secretary praises new software to help in the fight against online child sexual exploitation (CSE). The anti-grooming tool will be an important weapon used to tackle online child grooming.
The news followed a US hackathon co-hosted by Microsoft and the Home Secretary. Hackathons are events that engage large numbers of people in collaborative computer programming.
The task for industry experts was to find new tools to help identify online child grooming.
It was a two day hackathon in America that included engineers from some of the biggest tech firms in the world.
The collaboration included the likes of Microsoft, Google, Snap, Twitter, and Facebook.
The outcome was the development of a prototype tool that works 'automatically'. The software can flag potential conversations that occur between child groomers and children.
Participants at the hackathon analysed tens of thousands of conversations. They used them to better understand patterns used by online predators.
It enabled engineers to develop software technology that can accurately detect the patterns using an automatic process. It means that potential chats between a groomer and their victim would get flagged. Having done so, a moderator would then investigate the conversation in more detail.
Note: The prototype will undergo further enhancements before it's licensed free of charge worldwide to smaller and medium-sized technology companies.
While in the United States, the UK Home Secretary also met with other major tech firms. The main purpose was to arrange updates on their efforts in tackling this kind of crime. In particular, how can companies make greater use of technology to find and remove abusive content from their websites.
There were signs of some progress noted by the Home Secretary. But, companies must go further and work even faster to rid the Internet of child sexual exploitation (CSE).
In fact, online child sexual abuse is the focus for the Five Country Ministerial meeting in London (summer 2019). It brings together interior ministers and attorneys general from the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, and from New Zealand.
The government also announced a package of extra measures to tackle online CSE. Some of the improvements include:
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