Companies should scan networks for child abuse material

A child sexual exploitation expert at Interpol argues that all companies from large to small should routinely scan their computer networks for child abuse material, just as they do for malware and spam. Some, such as Google, Facebook and Ericsson, do it already as an example of good corporate practice.

A Unicef article published in the Guardian states that networks, large companies and small start-ups all have a responsibility to help clamp down on and report child sexual exploitation on the internet. In an interview, Mick Moran, assistant director of Interpol’s vulnerable communities unit explained the rationale behind this approach. “The internet is a network of networks,” Moran says. “We could go a long way to reducing online exploitation of children if everyone who owned a network ensured that there were proper child sexual exploitation prevention mechanisms in place. Systems administrators will scan their networks for spam and malware so why not child abuse material?”  Moran goes on to detail what corporate best practice is in this area and says that some big companies such as Google, Facebook and Ericsson do this already and have made employees aware of the practice and the consequences for them if they are caught with this material on their computers or devices. He urges smaller networks to be alert to the fact that people with a sexual interest in children will use the platform and concludes that “The rush to market by start-ups often leaves security as an afterthought. I would argue that they should build safety and security into their products from the start.”

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