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Crime

Winnipeg organization using international help to crack down on child sexual abuse online

Lianne Macdonald from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
Lianne Macdonald from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. Global News / File

A project trying to pull images of child porn off the internet is dealing with a backlog of suspected cases.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection said its Project Arachnid sends reports to online content providers when it finds images of child sexual abuse, and that the volume of reports is very troubling – its automated platform detects 10,824 new images of child sexual abuse online every 12 hours.

Lloyd Richardson, IT director for the centre, told Global News the project has flagged 10 million images since its inception, and is getting international help to deal with the volume of reports.

“We’ve actually signed on a few other countries to assist us with this classification process,” he said.

“We have seven countries around the world that all assist us here in little Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to work with this backlog. We’re quite proud of the way this is developing.”

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Richardson said the goal of Project Arachnid is not necessarily to put offenders in jail, but instead to prevent re-victimization of children whose images are being shared online.

The centre said the trouble is that the industry isn’t always quick to respond when abusive images are flagged, so there’s still work to be done.

“Current practices to tackle the removal of child sexual abuse images are not working,” said Lianna McDonald, the centre’s executive director.

“More needs to be done by industry to detect and expeditiously remove child sexual abuse images. The overwhelming pace at which technology has progressed, along with the enormity of this problem, has resulted in a failure to properly safeguard children on the Internet.”

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