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CTV News: U of M students working to prevent child sex abuse images from hitting internet

February 1, 2017 — 

As CTV reports:

Two student researchers at the University of Manitoba have teamed up with a Kelowna company called Two Hat Security to develop new software aimed at keeping child sexual abuse images off the internet.

It’s a growing problem, but with billions of images online, sorting through what’s appropriate and what’s illegal is a huge challenge for law enforcement agencies and social media companies.

Software which can scan and detect images previously reported to the authorities already exists, but the new software would be able to scan for images which exploit children as they’re uploaded.

Two Hat Security’s head of product development, Brad Leitch said the goal is to give police a new investigative tool and stop the spread of child sexual abuse images through social networks.

The RCMP received 14,951 reports of child sexual abuse images in 2015. The number of cases doubled to 27,361 in 2016.

“If you’re talking about a new influx or a new trend of child sexual abuse material hitting the market there needs to be some kind of way to detect that,” said Leitch. “The ability to detect child sexual abuse material is probably the most meaningful because you’re talking about the darkest place on the internet.”

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