Warriors win. Children win

Three days ago, on Wednesday 9th June, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) published a brilliant report containing details of their work over the two year period 2018-2020. I blogged about it the next day.

In the two years covered in their report we learned C3P had seen and verified 5.4 million child sex abuse images and in respect of them issued take down notices to over 760 Electronic Service Providers in all parts of the world. 97% of all the images were hosted on the clear web, not hidden away anywhere and 48% of the notices issued related to images which had already been flagged at least once to the hosting company concerned.

We also learned, inter alia, the Canadians identified a single telecoms company, based in France, responsible for fully 48% of all the child sex abuse material referenced.They named the company. It is called “Free”.

On Thursday 10th June Forbes published an article based on the Canadian report. In the Forbes story they named French billionaire Xavier Niel and published his picture while informing us he owned 70% of Free’s parent group, a company called Iliad.

Free had hosted 1.1 million csam files in 2018-2020. These had triggered 2.7 million notices. The most likely root cause of the problem was Free’s policy of allowing anonymous users. Obviously there was no suggestion Niel personally or senior executives were aware of any of this but that hardly constitues a defence when you think of the pain and misery their lack of diligence had caused and continued to cause over many years.

Yesterday, 11th June I received an email from Wonder Woman, whose real world identity is CEO of C3P. Not many people know that so keep it to yourselves.

In the email I was informed

As of yesterday, Free’s file-hosting service no longer allows anonymous users to upload content — only Free account holders have access to the service now. We believe this has effectively eliminated this service as a means of online CSAM distribution. In addition to this, all 6,500 archives files, containing more than 2 million images/and over 35,000 videos, that were still live prior to the release of the report have been deleted from their file-hosting service”.

What can I say?

Could someone remind me why it is important to “play nice” and refrain from naming and shaming? Yet again we see truth is our most important weapon and truth loses its potency, power and purpose if it is kept hidden away.

This is not just a feather in the cap of C3P. It’s a whole Golden Eagle. And well done Forbes for riding shotgun. Children in general and survivors in particular are forever in the debt of both.

About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International and is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John is now or has formerly been an Adviser to the Council of Europe, the UN (ITU), the EU and UNICEF. John has advised many of the world's largest technology companies on online child safety. John's skill as a writer has also been widely recognised. http://johncarrcv.blogspot.com
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