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Removing images of child sexual abuse online

The first priorities when child sexual abuse (CSA) images are found online, according to GSMA is taking down the images and finding the victim. This process is technically referred to as Notice and Takedown (NTD) mostly by the industry.

 

Late 2017, my country and in deed the organisation I work for (@SemaTanzania), joined hands with Tanzania government and other partners in launching an online portal for reporting child sexual abuse (CSA). Internet users in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar now have the ability to anonymously report sexually explicit content featuring children found online.

 

We’ve all seen at least one photo or video of child sexual abuse or of children being interrogated by adults eagerly holding their smartphones up while forcing honest responses from the already-tormented children. These videos and photos spread like wildfires on social networks like WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

 

The reasons for sharing these pictures/videos are usually quite innocent, albeit not well thought out. We all just want to remind everyone to protect our children from sexual abuse so that they don’t end up like the children in those videos.

 

Despite our good intentions, sharing these images does more harm than good. Every time we upload, share or view a photo or video containing child sexual abuse content, we re-victimize the child . These children have already suffered abuse once; passing on the reminder for the entire world to see only hurts them more.

 

Internet users in Tanzania can help protect child victims of sexual abuse by providing information about images or videos with such content when they see them online. The Internet Watch Foundation Reporting Portal will help ensure that children affected by sexual abuse are not abused further by images of their abuse being shared online.

 

The portal has a reporting button that sends information directly to IWF expert analysts in the UK. These analysts assess these reports and remove content of child sexual abuse hosted anywhere in the world.

 

If you come across a picture / video of a child depicting sexual abuse, please do not pass it on but don’t ignore it either. Report the image by visiting https://report.iwf.org.uk/tz_en and filling out the short form. It will only take you a few seconds and you will have helped analysts assess and take down any content that shows child sexual abuse.

 

If a photo or video contains content infringing the law, the analyst works with a network of partners to ensure that it is deleted online wherever it is hosted in the world. This ensures that Internet users are safe and protects child victims of sexual abuse from the torment of having images of their abuse spread.

 

In 2016 on the Cayman Islands, a suspect’s phone was taken after a Good Samaritan reported child sexual abuse content on the portal. The police and IWF assessed the report and the accused’s phone. The suspect was eventually charged with several counts of child sexual abuse and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and the content was removed online.

 

According to IWF, single report can help us remove one image, or even 1,000 images that violate the law. At times, a single image helps us identify and rescue a child that is being sexually abused. Each report is very important and can help a child victim in Tanzania or in any other country in the world.

 

The IWF has a list of hashed images to flag and remove child sexual abuse and child pornography content online, anywhere in the world. If a previously flagged photo is uploaded in any part of the world, the information quickly reaches IWF allowing them to take it down once again before it is widely spread. Considering our fast paced Internet growth, this is one way we can all help children online so let’s stop sharing images that hurt them more.

 

For comments and /or inquires please reach me at kiiya.jk@sematanzania.org or on Twitter @Kiiya.JK

 

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