Each month, Cyan rounds-up interesting news items from the world of digital forensics, online harms and counter terror that you might have missed. In the news this month:
More than 2,000 criminal suspects who “made life hell” for women and children in London have been arrested by a new police unit set up just nine months ago. Ninety officers on the predatory offender unit traced wanted individuals from every borough in the capital. 115 of these detainments were for abusing children.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) has recommended that police tackling child sex abuse need more support as offending rises. Police staff who view harrowing child sexual abuse imagery need more well-being support amid a rise in online sexual exploitation of children.
Save the Children Finland has published a report on online grooming in English. The report “Grooming in the Eyes of Child” details the experiences of 11 to 17 year olds across February and March 2021. Highlighted in the report, amongst other things, are that 62% of children had been contacted online by a person they knew or suspected to be an adult or five years older than them; and 17% received messages with sexual content from adults each week, 29% at least once a month.
Professor Mike Salter of the University of South Wales, Sydney, published a paper comparing the content of pre-internet child sexual abuse material to contemporary SCAM. Using Canadian Centre for Child Protection data, the study analysed according to the characteristics of the victims and perpetrators, severity of abuse, and the setting of abuse. The findings showed the average age of girls abused in the material had decreased and the severity of material had increased. The report also suggested the popularisation of the internet is linked to a trend towards more serious offending against children in abuse material and the consistent role of the home as the major site of abuse material product poses significant challenges to prevention, early intervention and prosecution. The report can be downloaded here.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports the point of view that Apple has opened the backdoor to increased surveillance and censorship around the world. Apple recently announced a new program for scanning images sent on iMessage. The publication states that Apple’s new program for scanning images sent on iMessage steps back from the company’s prior support for the privacy and security of encrypted messages. The program, initially limited to the United States, narrows the understanding of end-to-end encryption to allow for client-side scanning. The publication adds, that whilst Apple aims at the scourge of child exploitation and abuse, the company has created an infrastructure that is all too easy to redirect to greater surveillance and censorship, and the program will undermine Apple’s defence that it can’t comply with the broader demands.
Recorded before Apple’s recent announcement, this safeguarding podcast with Howard Taylor, Executive Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, discusses encryption and privacy versus safety, the EU’s ePrivacy Temporary Derogation, the requirement for age appropriate design and tech chicken and egg.
A new threat assessment on IS and al-Qaeda has been published by the European Counter Terrorism Centre’s European Union Internet Referral Unit. It is the third edition of Europol’s annual report on Online Jihadist Propaganda. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the major trends, trajectories and developments in online propaganda of the most prominent jihadist organisations in 2020