Child Safety Hackathon Brings Silicon Valley Together

child safety hackathon julie cordua

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.

Child Safety Hackathon Presents Solutions

Engineers and data scientists came out in force to use their skills to create solutions to help protect, identify and facilitate the rescue of exploited children. We were happy to see individuals join in from Facebook and many of our partner companies: Amazon Web Services, Cloudera, Microsoft, Google, Zynga, and a handful of individuals who we’ve connected with through our Digital Defenders survey.

After a quick two days of work, teams presented some of their approaches, including:

  • Prototyping a crowdsourcing app to help law enforcement more quickly identify objects in child abuse images.
  • Exploring data that could be used to identify regional trends within the United States.
  • Using advanced data analytics to surface intelligence and leads on abusers operating in the dark web.
  • Leveraging advanced image analytics and facial recognition to help identify missing children that have been exploited and trafficked.

The power of these two days at the Child Safety Hackathon is in the ideas, and in the connections made across company boundaries to build a coalition of individuals and companies that are Digital Defenders.

“Not only did we work with brilliant people that produced great ideas, we built the foundation of a community of passionate engineers and data scientists that care about the issue and are willing to give their time to address it. I’d love to hold these hackathons multiple times per year and keep the momentum going.”

-Sugreev Chawla, Thorn Data Scientist

Connecting Tech Companies to the Issue

There are millions of child sexual abuse images circulating currently. These images are produced in various ways. Some of them come from screenshots of live streaming abuse, others are snapped on phones and easily uploaded, and others are images that have stayed in circulation years after the original incident of abuse. While most people may never encounter this content, it crosses the platforms we use everyday, and it will take partnership from the leaders of the Internet’s most popular platforms to stop it.

If you want to share your talent and time to stop online child abuse, and get involved in the next Thorn event, submit a Digital Defenders survey.

And, if you’d like to put your talent to the test and work with Thorn full-time, we’re hiring. Learn more here.