New Research by Finnish Child Rights NGO Protect Children Reveals How Offenders Use Technology Platforms for Online Child Sexual Abuse

News provided by
Protect Children
Feb. 21, 2024 11:50
HELSINKI--(Business Wire / Korea Newswire)--In a groundbreaking new study, alarming insights are unveiled about the technology platforms that offenders use to sexually abuse children online. The research surveyed over 30,000 online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) offenders and uncovers significant information to tackle the proliferation of online child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The research reveals that 40% of CSAM offenders have attempted to contact a child. 70% of them sought contact with a child online, mainly through social media, online gaming, or messaging platforms, with Instagram, Facebook, and Discord being the most exploited social media platforms. End-to-end encrypted messaging apps, Telegram, WhatsApp, and Signal were highlighted as common tools for these illicit activities. These messaging apps are favoured by offenders due to the security and privacy offered by end-to-end encryption, which allows them to commit crimes without fear of detection.

On 20 February, Protect Children will present the research for the first time at the European Parliament. The event will facilitate an active dialogue with policymakers and tech industry representatives on the urgent need for tech to step up efforts to tackle online child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Tech industry must step up their efforts to keep children safe online

In response to these findings, Protect Children has outlined a series of actionable recommendations for the tech industry to step up efforts to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse. These include adopting a children's rights-by-design approach in platform development, enhancing detection and removal of CSAM, and ensuring stringent age verification processes.

Protect Children urges tech companies not to implement end-to-end encryption on their services without appropriate safeguards to ensure access to evidence by law enforcement and maintain the ability to detect and report CSAM.

The research was conducted with the support of Safe Online. However, the opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed are those of the author Protect Children and do not necessarily reflect those of Safe Online.

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Protect Children
Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen
Executive Director
+358 40 747 8829

Tegan Insoll
Head of Research
+358 40 610 2000