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:
- 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.
- The Justice Department is tasked with keeping ahead of the child porn issue but hasn’t been doing its job properly.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- We’re f****ed.