Public Opinion States Tech Companies Should be Held Accountable when Failing to Address Child Sexual Abuse Images

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection release survey findings while supporting the Five Country Ministerial voluntary principles to counter online child sexual exploitation

March 9, 2020
For Immediate Release

Winnipeg, MB: On March 5, 2020, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) and the Phoenix 11 participated in a roundtable meeting at the White House with ministers from the Five Eyes security alliance, industry, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Following the discussion, the Five Country Ministerial released their voluntary principles to counter online child sexual exploitation and abuse in order to drive consistent and collective industry action, which C3P and the Phoenix 11 strongly support.

The Five Country Ministerial principles echo the public opinions seen in C3P’s latest survey, Your Voice Has the Power to Protect Children. In conjunction with a series of 2019 New York Times articles that underscored the prevalence of child sexual abuse material online and industry’s lack of response, C3P launched the short survey asking the public to weigh in on the responsibility industry bears in the removal of child sexual abuse images online. In just over three months, 10,500 respondents overwhelmingly indicated that technology companies must be held accountable for failures to remove images/videos harming children, and government should pass laws that include penalties for non-compliance.

Notable results include:

  • 83% of respondents felt a technology company who does not remove child sexual abuse imagery on its service should be criminally charged.
  • 90% of respondents felt governments should pass laws that require technology companies to meet safety standard that include penalties for non-compliance.
  • 95% felt that technology companies who are notified that stolen images of children are being reposted/shared in a sexual context on their services and platforms should be required by law to remove the stolen images.

Stolen imagery is commonly detected by C3P’s platform Project Arachnid within forums/chatrooms dedicated to those with a sexual interest in children. C3P’s new child protection and rights framework, How we are Failing Children: Changing the Paradigm, calls on immediate industry action when notified of stolen images. These images may have been originally posted innocently, but are reposted and used in a way that sexualizes and harms children.

To view the full results of Your Voice Has the Power to Protect Children, visit protectchildren.ca/yourvoice.

For a summary and the full version of How we are Failing Children: Changing the Paradigm, visit protectchildren.ca/framework.

Quotes:

“This issue has been largely invisible to the public. The survey results underscore the outrage people feel when made aware of the prevalence of harmful and abusive images of children online and the lack of response from industry to address it and prevent it. Public opinion supports the need for governments to hold industry accountable.”
Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection
“Every one of the images captured during our child sexual abuse and their continued distribution online is a violation of our rights, dignity, and personal safety. Industry must prioritize the protection of children on their platforms and the public outcry in the Canadian Centre’s survey reinforces the responsibility tech companies must bear in ensuring children are safe and free from harm.”
Phoenix 11

For more information please contact: Communications, Canadian Centre for Child Protection

Phone:
204-560-0723

Email:
communications@protectchildren.ca

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About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety 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 intervention, prevention, and education services to the Canadian public.

C3P is leading the fight against the global social epidemic of online child sexual abuse material through Project Arachnid. Since its launch almost three years ago, Project Arachnid has detected over 13.8 million child sexual abuse images, and issued 5.2 million removal notices to content providers across the globe.

About the Phoenix 11: The Phoenix 11 is a courageous group of 11 survivors whose child sexual abuse was recorded, and in the majority of cases, distributed online. As an advocacy group, the Phoenix 11 is harnessing the collective power of their voice to effect change for themselves and the others who continue to suffer in silence.