Groundbreaking principles unveiled to combat child sexual abuse online
5 March, 2020
An international coalition of governments – including the UK – has called on tech firms to adopt a new set of voluntary principles in an effort to tackle online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA).
The 11 principles seek to minimise the risk of children being sexually exploited by encouraging companies to, for example, put in place the infrastructure needed to filter out child abuse material and take steps to limit grooming.
Several major industry stakeholders – including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Snap and Roblox – have already agreed to follow the new blueprint, which was drafted by the Five Country Partners (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand).
“It is truly horrific that thousands of sick paedophiles are preying on vulnerable children from across the world. This scandal requires our global partners to work together, and these principles provide a blueprint for delivering just that,” said home secretary Priti Patel.
“I want this landmark collaboration across borders and sectors to define a stronger, new, united approach.”
Last year, companies reported more than 69m CSEA images and videos on their platforms – an alarming increase of more than 50 per cent.
The coalition started work on the new principles, which are said to be the first of their kind, in July 2019. They are divided into seven categories:
- Prevent child sexual abuse material from appearing
- Target online grooming and predatory behaviour
- Target livestreaming
- A specialised approach for children
- Victim/survivor considerations
- Collaborate and respond to evolving threats
The initiative coincides with the UK’s plan, outlined in the Online Harms White Paper, to place a statutory duty of care on tech companies. The government will also reportedly launch a Child Sexual Abuse Strategy soon.
“We cannot allow children to fall victim to predators who lurk in the shadows of the web,” said security minister James Brokenshire.
“Through global collaboration and with enhanced action from the Five Countries, law enforcement agencies and tech companies, we will ensure that children are protected online.”