Amid increasing child sex abuse online due to growing internet usage across the world, Sweden is pioneering the use of a new tool for the automatic detection and deletion of child porn, Swedish Radio reported.
The Swedish Ecpat Hotline network against child abuse is poised to become the first in Europe to use the Arachnid program, which is expected to become a welcome addition in the fight against cybercrime.
The Arachnid program searches for photo and video material containing graphic scenes. The next step for the program is to remove the relevant material, whereupon those responsible for the servers will receive messages demonstrating its existence.
"We are never going to be ahead of the perpetrators, but now we are taking a big step forward in terms of technology. This way, we'll get a better picture of the scope of the problem and will be able to put pressure on legislators," Ecpat Sweden's Secretary General Anders Petterson said.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimated the extent of child sex trafficking at 1.8 million children a year. The problem has been snowballing with the spread of the Internet, which successfully eliminates national borders in this respect. While the Philippines has been identified as a hotbed of livestreaming child sex abuse, the "customer," however, is most often from another country.
In mid-February, a Swedish man from the city of Östersund was sentenced to 14 years in prison for ordering a series of rapes of children on the Philippines. The 39-year-old was convicted of ordering child rape on 32 occasions, whereupon videos of the abuse were saved on his computer, Swedish Radio reported.
"We really think that the total penalty value is higher than 14 years, but there is a rule that says that one cannot be sentenced to higher than a maximum penalty plus a certain period," Östersund District Court judge Marit Åkerblom told Swedish Radio. She explained that had the 32 occasions been penalized one at a time, the total penalty would have reached "US levels," which are not applicable in Sweden.
According to Petterson, knowing that the material is still available online is a strong psychological drama with a lasting effect for the survivors of sex abuse.
The Arachnid tool was launched by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection working against child trafficking. So far, 41 billion images have been scanned on over 230 million web sites. Each month, approximately 80,000 relevant images and films can be identified, Swedish Radio reported.