Tech Giant Collaboration To Clamp Down On The 'Dark Web'
The internet is undoubtedly a fabulous tool enjoyed by many users of all ages and for many different purposes; online shopping, gaming, research, promoting a business and keeping in touch with loved ones via social media. Unfortunately, the internet has another, darker side.
This month has seen the UK government team up with global law enforcement agencies and tech giants to tackle the growing problem of online child abuse. A specialist unit has been formed and tasked with investigating and clamping down on online child sexual exploitation carried out via the so-called, ‘Dark Web’.
Serial paedophiles rely on the anonymity provided by the Dark Web to share images of child abuse via encrypted channels which help them avoid detection. So far, one persistent offender has been arrested and jailed for sharing child abuse images and running chat rooms which were used to link other abusers and even provided information about how to conceal their behaviour and presence online.
Rise of the Dark Web
Figures released by the NCA (National Crime Agency) reveal that there has been an increase of 75 per cent in Dark Web users in the UK alone, although many people use it to protect their online privacy rather than for nefarious purposes. Unfortunately, statistics revealed by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) show that there has also been a rise in the number of web pages featuring images of child abuse. For the year ending 30 November 2014, such pages had increased by over 100 per cent.
Charities and campaigners have welcomed the action and have previously launched harsh criticism at the government for not adequately tackling the problem. The government has also put in place a package of tech measures to support the police in their efforts to trace online child abusers through social networks and other popular internet services.
The IWF is working closely with Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google to prevent inappropriate images being shared across their platforms or viewed by users. Google has also developed a method of ‘hashing’ tech to assist in the recognition of child abuse videos and this will be rolled out to other tech giants shortly.
In addition, Mozilla, Google and Microsoft are looking into the possibility of putting in place blocking restrictions in their browsers to prevent users from accessing URLs known to be linked to child abuse material.
The UK government intends this latest action to send out a message to those who would seek to participate in the spread of child abuse material via the internet: perpetrators will be caught; there is nowhere to hide and online child abuse will eventually be stamped out completely.
Image source: TG Daily