Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mexican Article on Pedophiles and Social Networks

Lydia Cacho, a Mexican journalist renowned for her coverage of human trafficking issues, discusses pedophiles and social networks.  The original column is up at http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/columnas/88554.html and the Google translation is here.  She makes some excellent points; the social networks themselves have not done anything wrong, but they are often used by predators.  Shutting down the offending accounts is a start, and Facebook has certainly made an effort.  However, as she points out, the users are often back within 24 hours sharing the same materials, and the problem requires a coordinated effort between law enforcement in many countries.

It might be helpful if social networks made it easier for users to explicitly report child exploitation.  For example, if an image or video was specifically flagged as child pornography, it might be useful to take a hash or some kind of digital fingerprint.  The CP traders we've seen are often very repetitive and I'd guess that many of them are probably posting the same images and videos again and again.  That data plus whatever hashes the government shares would help automatically detect at least some known CP.

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