The question of ease of access via the internet to images of child abuse and pornography in general has once again become front page news. Details from the recent, tragic April Jones murder case highlighted the impact that access to violent illegal images had upon the behaviour of the convicted murderer.
The positive and liberating impact of the Internet is there for all to see and has entered all our daily lives but these tragic cases bring into sharp focus the darker side of the web and the inherent dangers of unfettered access. This inevitably leads to calls for regulation.
The demands for action typically fall upon the search engines and content providers generally and in this case Google has come under intense, and generally unfair pressure to act. Google and other search engines are conduits for information and cannot be held solely responsible for the content which is posted on the web; that is the responsibility of everyone.
One of the founding ideas behind the internet was that it should be a vehicle for promoting freedom of expression and free exchange of information, and this benefit is visible daily in the more positive side. However with good comes bad and he answer to the question of how access to the darker side and its associated content is controlled is more complex than simply demanding action from search providers.
The answer involves all groups, search providers, the IWF, government, parents, mentors, minors and we the content producers taking action to report and monitor the content which is available. It is equally imperative that all the stakeholders can incorporate the vast array of new technologies which are now available as part of the answer.
Over the last five years the pace of change in content moderation technology has grown rapidly and the old inadequate, inaccurate first-generation technologies have been quickly made obsolete. It is now possible to analyse text, images and videos in real time and provide a risk score for the content and associate a risk profile for the individual user accessing or person posting the content which can enable content to be removed and future threats from specific users managed.
By everyone concerned being vigilant and co-operating to identify and take proactive action including user profiling it is possible that the internet can become an unsafe place for illegal content. The associated risk here is that this activity will be driven underground but it may have a positive impact on reducing access to general users.
As a provider of ‘state of the art’ technology to this sector, Image Analyzer is committed to a collaborative approach, working with all the relevant agencies and providers to find a solution to this issue, believes that no one group should be held responsible and that working together with new technology is the only solution.
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