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Global Fight Being Waged on Child Sexual Abuse Imagery on the Internet

Canada, United States and the United Kingdom Galvanize Efforts to Tackle Online Crimes against Children

For Immediate Release

Winnipeg, MB: Yesterday in Washington, representatives from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (Canadian Centre), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd and representatives from the major tech companies, met at a roundtable to discuss innovative efforts to combat child sexual abuse material on the internet.

The roundtable discussion focused on Project Arachnid and its new capabilities to expedite the removal of child sexual abuse material. Arachnid is a platform to proactively detect child sexual abuse material and issue take down notices to hosting providers requesting its immediate removal. In partnership with NCMEC, Arachnid will be enhanced to create a trusted, global child sexual abuse material hash list and a set of tools to help industry members who seek assistance in voluntarily addressing the misuse of their services.

This global initiative is being supported by the UK Home Office and allows for unprecedented collaboration between Canada and the United Kingdom. “Global collaboration is absolutely essential if we really want to tackle online crimes against children,” says Amber Rudd, UK Home Secretary. “We must all work together to galvanize our efforts to develop meaningful solutions that have a global capacity to help those most vulnerable.”

“We are proud to support the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and its innovative tool, Project Arachnid,” said Ralph Goodale, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety. “The sexual exploitation of children is intolerable and a serious concern around the world. The Government of Canada is pleased to see this Canadian made solution being used globally and making a meaningful difference in the lives of survivors of child sexual abuse.”

Project Arachnid has identified over 2,800 unique victim series, is detecting 80,000 unique suspected images per month and is issuing approximately 700 removal notices a day to providers. Project Arachnid, crawling thousands of pages a second, is able to shed light on the scope of this pervasive problem and the extensive availability of child sexual abuse material on the internet.

“These numbers serve as a reality check about the serious problem of child sexual abuse,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “Project Arachnid is using technology to counter the years of misuse by offenders and to help end the cycle of abuse.”

A recent international survivors’ survey released by the Canadian Centre underscored the debilitating impact that the recording and distribution of child sexual abuse has on its victims. Nearly 70% of the survivors in the survey worried about being recognized by someone because of the recording of their child sexual abuse. Project Arachnid is a groundbreaking tool that will begin to assist these victims by quickly detecting and reducing the availability of these abusive images.

“As survivors of this type of abuse we have no control over whether it is distributed. It’s just another way our abusers have control,” said a Survivor. “Every time I imagine him watching back those videos, looking at those pictures, for his amusement I can feel a piece of me break off with every replay.”

NCMEC proudly supports Project Arachnid because we know there is a unique anguish inflicted upon those depicted in child sexual abuse imagery,” said John Clark, NCMEC President and CEO. “We owe it to survivors to do what we can, and collaborate wherever possible, to reduce the availability of child sexual abuse imagery online.”

The Canadian Centre’s program is Canada’s tipline to report the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children. The Canadian Centre is built into the Government of Canada’s National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet.