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Thorn Staff

Why I Donate My Time to Thorn

By | Partners, Technology For Good | No Comments

Shari Benko, User Experience Design Lead at Intel, joined us last week at Facebook Global Security HQ for the two-day Child Safety Hackathon. Employees from Intel, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Domino Data Lab, and more, came together for the second year in a row to help develop cutting edge solutions in the fight against child sexual exploitation. Taking two days away from her work, Shari shares her motivation to combine her skills, empathy and passion to help move our projects forward. Read More

Technology and Thorn Are Playing a Critical Role in Addressing Child Sexual Exploitation

By | Partners | No Comments

The following guest post was written by Ernie Allen, a recent addition to Thorn’s Board of Directors. His leadership, dedication, inspiration and ongoing work to protect children across the globe continue to push us forward.

Throughout my career I have worked closely with technology leaders. For more than three decades I have seen the power of technology firsthand and how it has changed every aspect of our lives, including the way we search for missing children, identify those who prey upon children, and keep children safe. Yet, there is a dark side. Technology also facilitates the exploitation of children. We have to change that. Read More

Cloudera Cares + Thorn = Social Impact at Grace Hopper 2016

By | Partners, Technology For Good | No Comments

Our team joined Cloudera Cares to host a hackathon at the recent Grace Hopper Open Source Day. Women attending the conference were invited to take part in a day long hackathon to benefit a social impact project. The event served a number of purposes — to draw attention to the problem of child sexual exploitation, look for ways to stop it, encourage women starting out in their tech careers to contribute and offer those same women the opportunity to be mentored by other experienced engineers and data scientists. Read More

My First 30 Days as a Development Associate at Thorn

By | Technology For Good | No Comments

As soon as I started at Thorn, I was thrilled to be at a hub where technology and social good intersect. From my first day, I was immersed in the world of Thorn’s programmatic work and multi-layered partnerships. I was encouraged to ask questions (I had about a thousand) and to keep asking them, and even to give feedback beyond my immediate scope of work. It was apparent that Thorn’s approach was different than that of the average non-profit. At Thorn, innovation and new ideas are encouraged and, in fact, drive our work fighting child sexual exploitation. I am excited to be part of a team that is both dynamic and forward-thinking — constantly engaging in conversations and forging new relationships in order to create the best and most effective tools on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children. Read More

Philip Holzenspies

Child Safety Solutions: Hackathon Elevates Image Hashing

By | Child Abuse Imagery, Technology For Good | No Comments

Philip Hölzenspies is a Software Engineer at Facebook. He also works to maintain the platform’s PhotoDNA infrastructure, which helps accelerate the identification, removal and reporting of child abuse imagery.

In the (online) Child Safety space, tech companies get to forget about being companies for a bit and focus on what really matters. People who work in this space in tech companies know this, sort of. It is invigorating, though, to experience it so acutely during a cross-company Child Safety Hackathon. This type of event provides a rare networking opportunity to meet people and share insights with those working in the same space. While conferences on child safety cover a much wider range of highly critical areas — law enforcement, signals for social workers, post-traumatic pastoral care, etc. — they’re far removed from the day-to-day job of a software engineer. A hackathon like this provides the opportunity to share war stories, personal drivers and innovative solutions that are tied to this work. Read More

Tech-Solutions-Greg-Clark

Hackathon Creates Tech Solutions for Child Safety

By | News, Partners, Technology For Good | No Comments

Greg Clark is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft and participated in the recent Child Safety Hackathon at Facebook.

As someone who has spent his entire career thus far working in technology, I’ve always looked for opportunities to use my skills and experience to make a difference, beyond simply producing new innovative software and services.

I recently had the privilege of traveling to the Bay Area to attend a Child Safety Hackathon, put on by Facebook, featuring challenges from Thorn and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The goal was to raise the problem of child sex trafficking to a diverse group of engineers to see what progress could be made over two days. The result was truly amazing! Read More

child safety hackathon julie cordua

Child Safety Hackathon Brings Silicon Valley Together

By | Partners, Technology For Good | No Comments

Last week, we joined Facebook as they hosted the first cross-industry Child Safety Hackathon. The event brought together leaders across the tech industry to hack on creating cutting edge solutions that will help find victims faster, deter predatory behavior and make platforms safer. The event further highlights the power of partnerships among leading technology companies. Read More

PhotoDNA

Microsoft’s PhotoDNA: Leading the Fight Against Child Sexual Abuse Imagery

By | Partners, Technology For Good | No Comments

Courtney Gregoire works as a senior attorney in Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, where she fights technology-facilitated crime against vulnerable populations including children and the elderly. Her blog post is part of Thorn’s hashing series, which highlights the benefits of hashing technology for industry, law enforcement, nonprofits, and service providers as they work to detect and remove child sexual abuse material online.

Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit is dedicated to helping fight the online exploitation of children.  One persistent, horrendous crime is the distribution of child sex abuse imagery  on the Internet. The children victimized in this material  are first harmed when their abuse is perpetrated and recorded. They are further victimized each time that record is distributed. Last year, thanks to PhotoDNA, the technology industry was able to disrupt the distribution of over 4 million images, a 4-fold increase over 2014.

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