NY Times article about child porn

Wanted to recommend this article the New York Times has just put out: The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong? It begins: Last year, tech companies reported over 45 million online photos and videos of children being sexually abused — more than double what they found the previous year.

Some takeaways, for those who can’t read the article cause of the paywall or whatever:

  1. In 1998, there were about 3,000 reports of child porn online. By 2008, there were 100,000 reports annually. By 2014, there were one million. In 2018, there were 18.4 million.
  2. The Justice Department is tasked with keeping ahead of the child porn issue but hasn’t been doing its job properly.
  3. Part of the problem is funding. Consistently, Congress has only been providing the Justice Department about half the funds they promised, and this year 20% of what WAS provided got taken away again and re-allocated to (surprise!) immigration enforcement.
  4. The NCMEC is also supposed to work on this problem but it has serious shortcomings, including its reliance “in large measure on 20-year-old technology.”
  5. Tech companies are aware that people are using their platforms (such as Snapchat, etc) to distribute child porn, but the tech companies only act when such images are reported to them. They don’t look for the images themselves. The NYT compares it to someone who knows they have a pest problem, and it scares them, so they just don’t turn on the lights and pretend the roaches aren’t there.
  6. A lot of the information on tech platforms that could lead to the identity of the children and the perpetrators in child porn images gets deleted before law enforcement is able to access it.
  7. We’re f****ed.

The Facebook gods smile upon me again

So a week or so ago the Charley Project’s Facebook page inexplicably tanked and all the sudden no one was seeing the posts, no one was liking or sharing or commenting on any of my posts. Now, equally inexplicably, the page’s reach has returned to normal. Shrug. I am glad of it, anyway.

I have no idea how online algorithms and analytics and whatnot work. Sometimes I wish I did. I was reading about the guy behind the hugely popular Twitter account that rates dogs, and he makes a six-figure annual income just from that account, like from selling ad space and merch. Which isn’t to say he isn’t doing anything. He pays very close attention to the analytics and, out of hundreds of dog pictures submitted for consideration every day, he selects the one he thinks will get the most likes and shares, and then after posting a tweet he keeps an eye on it for like fifteen minutes and if it’s not getting an acceptable number of likes and shares, he deletes it and tries again with another dog, another tweet.

So anyway. The most popular story on Charley’s Facebook at present is this one about Shawn Hornbeck’s family. Sadly, Shawn’s stepfather has passed away from cancer at only 57. He had help raise Shawn from infancy and Shawn and his siblings thought of him as their father. Another really popular story is this one, about a Chinese man who was found alive and well, eighteen years after his abduction at the age of three.

The story I would recommend, which hasn’t gotten much attention since I posted it during the time Facebook was ignoring me: this one. The headline basically says it all: “A Girl, 15, Reported a Sexual Assault, Then the Detective Abused Her, Too.”

I’m sure he had other victims as well.

I think I’m getting back in the saddle

The past week has been a bit unproductive as I was afflicted with what was either a severe cold or severe allergies, not sure which. I was pretty miserable with coughing and general yuckiness and couldn’t get much done.

In the meantime, people have disappeared, people have been found (including Delilah Dawn Hopkins, finally identified after being missing almost twenty years), the wheel turns.

The good news is that, per FBI data, the rate of missing persons and missing kids in particular is at its lowest since 1990. It’s the start of a lovely summer, people. Let your kids play outside, provided the pollen count’s down.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Howard Takanaka

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I am profiling one Asian or Pacific Islander MP for every day of the month of May. Today’s case is Howard Shizue Takanaka Jr., a 26-year-old Army veteran who disappeared from Superior, Wisconsin sometime in January 1984.

The circumstances of his disappearance are vague; even the exact date his unknown. However, there’s no reason to think he’s not still alive today …somewhere.

Three dollars

Hey guys, the Charley Project is asking you for something: three dollars.

For three dollars a month, less than the price of a McDonald’s milkshake, you can help maintain one of the largest, most detailed missing persons databases online, a major tool for getting the information out there about cold cases.

If everyone who viewed the Charley Project on a daily basis donated just three dollars each month, that would be enough that the administrator could keep it as a full-time job and not have to cut back on missing persons work.

In exchange, this important tool can still be used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, including law enforcement, journalists, podcasters, missing persons’ families, bloggers, amateur sleuths, and more.

If you can only afford to give two dollars or one dollar, that’s fine. If you can give more, terrific—any amount is appreciated.

You can use PayPal to donate to administrator@charleyproject.org. If you go to any Charley Project casefile, the PayPal button is at the top. Type in the amount, check the box that says “make this a monthly donation” and follow the steps.

It’s very easy and very, very much appreciated.

Next week is full up

Just a word of warning: I’m going to be extremely busy all of next week and I don’t think I’ll be getting much of anything done on the website. I’ve mentioned before about a certain project I’m working on. I’ll be working on that project all next week. I can’t say anything more about it in public at this time.

And next weekend, of course, I’m going to Wisconsin. It will take pretty much an entire day just to get there. I’ll be leaving Friday. The event is Saturday, and I’m going to spend Saturday night in Green Bay and then return home on Sunday.

Going to 5th Annual Wisconsin Missing Persons Awareness Event in April

So in two weeks I will be attending the fifth annual missing persons awareness event in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I went to the first, second, and fourth ones.

wisconsinevent

This year, I will not have to stay in l’Hotel a la Sketchy or an Airbnb; due to the sponsorship of a certain person who shall remain anonymous for the moment, I will be staying in a respectable establishment for once.

I should have a blast. I always do.