Can you think of a better use of artificial intelligence than the elimination of child exploitation?
The rate of online child sexual abusive material (CSAM) is reaching alarming proportions. As technology has evolved, the frightening reality is that online child sexual abuse has evolved along with it.
According to the RCMP, the number of child sexual abuse cases in Canada grew from 14,951 in 2015 to over 27,361 in 2016. Current research indicates that as many as 22% of teenage girls have shared semi-nude photos of themselves online. The magnitude of this problem is enormous.
In honor of Safer Internet Day, we are proud to announce that we are developing the world’s first artificial intelligence software to detect and prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material online – CEASE.ai.
In collaboration with the RCMP, we are training a computer vision algorithm to uncover new, uncatalogued CSAM with the goal of stopping them from ever being posted online.
This cutting-edge artificial intelligence system will be the first in the world to accurately identify child sexual abuse images and stop them from being posted online.
We will be partnering with PhD graduate students from leading Canadian universities to develop this computer vision. Student researchers from the University of Manitoba, Simon Fraser University, and Laval University will be working with us as part of a five-year program coordinated by Mitacs, a government-funded agency working to bridge the gap between research and business.
This $3 million collaboration between Two Hat Security and Mitacs will support the development of the cutting-edge security software, with up to 200 people working on the project over the next five years.
“Of all the issues we are solving to keep the Internet safe, this is probably the most important,” said Two Hat CEO Chris Priebe, noting that stopping CSAM is a challenge every child exploitation unit faces. “Everyone would like to solve it, but nobody wants to touch it,” he said.
“It would be impossible to do this without the support of Mitacs,” said Priebe. “We are working in the darkest corner of the Internet that nobody wants to touch. By connecting with student interns, we are tapping into courageous researchers at the top of their respective fields who are not afraid to tackle the impossible.”
“Existing software tools search the Internet for known images previously reported to authorities as CSAM. Our product, CEASE.ai, will sit on the Internet and accurately scan for images that exploit children as they are uploaded, with the ultimate goal of stopping them from being posted – which is why global law enforcement and security agencies are watching closely,” said Two Hat Head of Product Development Brad Leitch.
“This is a rampant global problem,” said Arnold Guerin, Sergeant of the RCMP. “The ability to successfully detect and categorize newly distributed child sexual materials will be a game-changer in our fight against the online victimization of children.”
We can think of no better use of artificial intelligence than to protect the innocence of youth.
- Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 16 years.
- Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.
- Open to all disciplines and all industry sectors, projects can span a wide range of areas, including manufacturing, business processes, IT, social sciences, design, and more.
For information about Mitacs and its programs, visit http://mitacs.ca/newsroom.
Media information and to set up interviews:
Gail Bergman or Elizabeth Glassen
Gail Bergman PR
Tel: (905) 886-1340 or (905) 886-4091