New Web Crawler Being Used to Scrub Child Pornography

New Web Crawler Being Used to Scrub Child Pornography

Lianna McDonald
Lianna McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, introduces Project Arachnid during a news conference in Winnipeg on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. (CANADIAN CENTRE FOR CHILD PROTECTION / HANDOUT)

WINNIPEG — A new online tool is being used to detect and remove child pornography and sexual abuse material from the Internet.

Project Arachnid is a tool being used by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to detect images and video based on confirmed digital fingerprints of illegal content.

The tool can scan 150 websites per second and processed more than 230 million web pages in just six weeks, detecting 40,000 unique images of child sexual abuse.

Once the material is found, hosting providers are notified to remove the content and police are alerted.

“These numbers serve as a reality check about the serious problem of child sexual abuse,” said Lianna McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Centre, a Winnipeg-based charity.

“We can no longer deny what is right in front of us. We believe that knowledge is the best antidote to societal denial that these types of things don’t happen to children.”

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