Technology firms must do more about child abuse, police chiefs say

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LONDON: European police chiefs have supported British demands that technology companies urgently transform their way of operating to prevent access to child sexual abuse, Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Friday.

The NCA said the abuse images were readily available online and could be reached with just three mouse clicks on Internet search engines. He said there was a direct link between criminals who viewed material online and then addressed the children themselves.

“The technology industry urgently needs to transform its response to counter the extreme level of online offenses,” said Lynne Owens, general director of the NCA.

“To stop the path of escalation to severe crime, there must be zero tolerance of the presence of child sexual abuse on industry platforms, with the industry reinforcing this at all levels to raise the bar of crime.”

Governments around the world are fighting on how to better control content on social media platforms, often accused of encouraging abuse and the spread of online pornography.

On Wednesday, the British government said it would force social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Snap to do more to block or eliminate harmful content on their platforms and would legislate to ensure that companies have established systems to address harmful content such as child abuse. .

The NCA said police chiefs from 32 countries, along with the international agencies Europol and Interpol, had agreed to support five demands from the technology industry.

This included ensuring that child abuse material was blocked as soon as companies detected that it had been uploaded; companies must stop online preparation and live broadcasting of abuse on their platforms; and they should be more open and do more to help law enforcement agencies.

“European police chiefs see a growing need for technology companies to work together to create a new security standard and introduce security by design that applies to new applications, games and social media platforms,” ​​said the police commissioner of the Netherlands, Erik Akerboom.

“The government should not impose these standards on the industry, but develop them on their own, creating a safety standard for their users.”

Technology companies like Facebook and Google have said they were taking steps to keep users safe, recruiting more people and using more artificial intelligence to find and eliminate offensive content.

In November, Facebook said it had removed millions of posts showing child abuse, although the company’s plans for an encrypted messaging service have been criticized by law enforcement officials who say it could hamper the fight against abuse. childish.

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