A major report into online child sexual abuse has backed National Crime Agency (NCA) demands for the tech industry to do more to protect children.
The agency gave extensive evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s internet investigation which was held during 14 days in January 2018 and May 2019.
Today, the inquiry has published its report which makes four recommendations.
They are: 1) the government should require industry to pre-screen images before they can be uploaded; 2) that images should be removed as a matter of course; 3) the government should legislate to make tech firm’s implement stringent age verification, and 4) the government should publish its draft child sexual abuse code of practice for industry.
Rob Jones, NCA Director of Threat Leadership, said: “The NCA welcomes the report and believes we cannot continue to tolerate technically enabled, industrial-scale abuse of children.
“The report demands more action by industry and government, and a greater focus on prevention. And it highlights that it would help law enforcement if offenders were prevented from accessing child sexual abuse material at the outset.
“It’s clear that the increase in the number of indecent images of children offences is driven by images of child sexual abuse being too easily accessible.
“The introduction of age verification, pre-screening of known indecent images prior to upload and action to remove images, will all prevent offending.
“No industry witness told IICSA that it was technologically impossible to pre-screen their platforms and services.
“This removal of preventable offending will enable the NCA and policing to focus on the very worst offenders.
“As the report rightly highlights, the internet has undeniable benefits to society. But it has also enabled a section of society to commit increasingly horrific crimes against children through grooming, live-streaming and distribution of indecent images.
“The NCA and UK policing continue to fight the online CSA threat, arresting more than 500 child sex offenders, and safeguard around 700 children each month.”
12 March 2020