The growing and alarming trend of online sexual exploitation of children has prompted a Kelowna company to develop a first-of-its-kind computer software to stop predators from victimizing children.
“Two million new children are exploited every year,” head of product development with Two Hat Security Brad Leitch said. “Here in Canada, that there are 27,000 cases alone tells me something has to be done around this issue.”
Two Hat created a cutting-edge computer program called ‘Cease’. The software is based on artificial intelligence. It scans images that exploit children as they are being uploaded.
“If we can develop a successful computer vision technique for identifying child sexual abuse material, we can actually stop it from getting online in the first place,” Leitch said.
The software is of great interest to law enforcement all over the world. Here in Canada, RCMP are currently experimenting with it.
“This is a rampant global problem,” Sgt. Arnold Guerin of the RCMP said. “The ability to successfully detect and categorize newly distributed child sexual materials will be a game-changer in our fight against the online victimization of children.”
The artificial intelligence would go a long way in assisting RCMP with their investigations into online predators, who with the digital age, have it easier than ever before.
“A teenage girl can take a photo of herself, a semi-nude or nude and distribute it online without her parents even knowing what is happening. We see predators able to distribute this digital content quickly,” said Leitch.
It’s a trend the Kelowna company is determined to put an end to.
“I hope we get the bad guys,” Leitch said. “There is a theme running through this office. We want to do something about catching these kinds of predators out there and stopping this kind of sexual abuse.”