I was walking through Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City, still in disbelief that I was attending this historic event. Along with 150 representatives from leading organizations, institutions, and governments, I was presenting Pope Francis with the “Declaration of Rome.” This declaration was the capstone of the World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World, a gathering sponsored by the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, in partnership with the WePROTECT Global Alliance to End Child Sexual Exploitation Online and Telefono Azzurro, an Italian nonprofit and helpline protecting children from abuse. Read More
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
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
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
Oftentimes when a child is in trouble, one of the only clues we have is his or her face. We can have a picture of a missing child and be looking for them, or we can have a picture of an abused child that was distributed online and want to find them quickly. One of the main hurdles is how we connect the dots between these images of exploited children with other photos on the open web that may help us identify them and remove them from harm. Read More
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
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
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.
John Shehan is the Vice President of the Exploited Child Division at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He also serves as Vice President to INHOPE, a network of international hotlines combatting child sexual abuse online, and as an advisory board member to the College of Humanities & Behavioral Sciences at his alma mater, Radford University. His 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.
Last month, Thorn Digital Defender Del Harvey wrote about Twitter’s use of PhotoDNA, a technology developed by Microsoft that computes hash values of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). The tool applies a unique fingerprint to identify an individual photo to detect suspected material online and then supports law enforcement to report and investigate it. Read More