Serious About All Security
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Feb 01, 2018
Let’s talk candidly about security for
a moment, okay? I read a recent
news story I wanted to share and
make aware of the ramifications.
After nearly disappearing in the 1990s,
the spread of child sexual abuse material
exploded with the rise of the internet, while
child sex trafficking increased with exposure
to a greater market online. Today, the problem
is complex and still growing.
Well-known actor and co-founder of
Thorn, Ashton Kutcher, has become a defender
of children by implementing technology.
He addressed that many see technology
as the cause of such horrors, but that it is also
a tool in preventing them. “Technology can
be used to enable slavery, but it can also be
used to disable slavery,” Kutcher says a video.
So, who is Thorn? It is Kutcher’s foundation
to help improve the lives of children; to
stop the growth and threat of exploitation of
children, and in the process using the very
technology that may enslave children, to set
“We refuse to live in a world where the
technology exists to help kids but simply isn’t
being used,” Thorn states on their website,
WeAreThorn.org. “We build power products,
lead new programs, and develop awareness
campaigns to attack the issue from all
sides. We want tech companies, police and
NGOs to leverage everything we do.”
Spotlight, Thorn’s first product, is designed
based on insights from a survivor survey
the organization conducted. It accelerates
victim identification and helps agencies
make the best use of the critical time they
have to find child sex trafficking victims.
In 2016, Spotlight helped law enforcement
identify an average of five children per
day. It also helped reduce critical search time
by 60 percent and found a total of 1,980 victimized
Here is where you and I can help: Thorn
has a sound practices guide. Many small and
mid-size companies do not have the resources
or knowledge to implement child safety
procedures and tools, making their platforms
vulnerable to abusive content and behavior.
Thorn offers guidance and concrete steps
to for companies of all sizes to help protect
children on their platforms.
Thorn also knows about online deterrence.
With the sheer volume of illicit child
abuse material online, law enforcement isn’t
equipped to find and identify all the people
searching for this content. The result is that
people search and share with a seemingly low
risk of getting caught. Thorn works to intercept
this behavior and change it—reducing
the demand for abuse content overall.
Finally, there is industry hash sharing.
Most image sharing platforms independently
screen for child sexual abuse images, but
don’t share intelligence, resulting in the slow
and inefficient removal of abusive content.
The Thorn hash-sharing program was developed
to help companies share intelligence
quickly and speed the identification and removal
of bad content.
I’ve been candid and straight-forward.
We can help stop this vile and inhumane
practice. We’re involved in an industry that
has open eyes and open ears.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Security Today.
Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.