JOINT RELEASE: Australia’s hotline joins global project combating online child abuse

June 5, 2019
For Immediate Release

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is pleased to announce that Australia’s eSafety Commissioner has signed on to a pilot with Project Arachnid, an innovative tech platform designed to reduce the availability of child sexual abuse material online.

eSafety’s commitment to Project Arachnid means its Cyber Report team will work collaboratively with investigators and analysts across the globe to scale up the capacity and impact of the project in identifying and removing child sexual abuse material from the internet.

Project Arachnid autonomously detects child sexual abuse material at a rate much faster than human analysts are capable of, however human analysis is still required to help classify images and confirm quality of data.

“Through this work, the Cyber Report team will make a significant impact in restricting the availability of child sexual abuse material to those who are seeking and distributing it,” says eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

“We have an important role to play here in Australia, but ultimately, this is a global problem requiring a global solution, and we’re proud to be partnering with likeminded agencies around the world to fight this scourge.”

Analysts from eSafety’s Cyber Report team will help classify images detected by the Arachnid crawler, contributing to the international effort to build a comprehensive central database of child sexual abuse material ‘hashes’, or digital fingerprints.

“Having Australia’s eSafety team join Project Arachnid is a big step in a unified front against this horrific crime,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of C3P. “Coming together as a global team is essential to battling this borderless crime and helping survivors by reducing the public availability of their child sexual abuse materials, which no survivor should ever have to deal with.”

Cyber Report will also gain access to the Arachnid Hash List of known child sexual abuse material, reducing investigators’ exposure to harmful content and improving the welfare of staff.

“An additional benefit of this pilot is that, through information sharing, our investigators will be exposed to less harmful content, reducing the impact of the incredibly important work they do,” says Toby Dagg, Manager Cyber Report.

Background

Project Arachnid is a technological tool designed to reduce the availability of child sexual abuse images online and help break the cycle of abuse experienced by survivors.

Project Arachnid discovers child sexual abuse material (CSAM) by crawling URLs across the clear web known to have previously hosted CSAM. The platform determines that a particular URL contains CSAM by comparing the media displayed on the URL to a database of known signatures that have been assessed by analysts as CSAM. If CSAM is detected, a notice is sent to the hosting provider requesting its removal.

Estimates vary as to the quantity of child sexual abuse material available online; the United Nations states that approximately 750,000 people are accessing such material at any given moment.

Every month, Project Arachnid detects more than 500,000 unique images of suspected child sexual abuse material requiring analyst assessment. To date, Project Arachnid has sent more than 3.6 million notices for removal of child sexual abuse material to online providers.

To learn more about Project Arachnid, go to www.projectarachnid.ca.

For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

Phone:
204-945-8074

Email:
communications@protectchildren.ca

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About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety and protection of children. Our goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, assist in the location of missing children and to prevent child victimization. The Canadian Centre operates Cybertip.ca — Canada’s national tipline to report child sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet, as well as other prevention and intervention services to the Canadian public.

About Cybertip.ca: Since its inception in September 2002, Cybertip.ca has evolved as a central component of Canada’s national strategy to protect children from sexual exploitation on the internet. The tipline has responded to 550,000+ child sexual exploitation reports from the public and referred those reports to law enforcement for investigation, resulting in at least 514 individuals being arrested, hundreds of children being removed from abusive environments and the protection of countless children both within Canada and abroad. Cybertip.ca also provides education and awareness material to help keep Canadians safe, distributing more than 12 million safety resources free-of-charge to schools, law enforcement, child welfare, industry and other stakeholders over the past 15 years.