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Javid call to tech companies

In a speech, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid called on tech companies to be much more forward leaning in helping law enforcement deal with online crimes such as child sexual exploitation. In the speech at the headquarters of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), he said that on a visit to the National Crime Agency (NCA) Child Exploitation Online Protection Command, ‘the full horror of the scale of child sexual abuse was really brought home to me. The National Crime Agency estimates that around 80,000 people in the UK that present some kind of sexual threat to children online. And the NCA believe that’s a conservative estimate.’

He said: “The growth of the internet has given potential offenders who previously may have had no access to children the opportunity to meet and groom and abuse victims online on gaming sites and on social media and to get access to more abuse material than ever before.”

He said he had been impressed by the progress the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Apple have made on counter-terrorism. “Now I want to see the same level of commitment for child sexual exploitation.”

He called for ‘a more effective partnership between technology companies, law enforcement, the charity sector and government’ to respond to such crimes. He asked for action in five main areas from companies:

“First, I expect technology companies to block child sexual abuse material as soon as companies detect it being uploaded. Second, I want them to stop child grooming taking place on their platforms. Third, I expect companies to work with us to shut down live-streamed child abuse. As a starting point, we will be making £250,000 available to support new ideas on how to detect and disrupt the live-streaming of abuse. Fourth, I want companies to be much more forward leaning in helping law enforcement agencies to deal with these types of crimes. Fifth and finally, I want to see a greater level of openness and transparency and a willingness to share best practice and technology between companies.”

Comment

For the APCC (Association of Police and Crime Commissioners) Victims Lead, Northumbria PCC Dame Vera Baird QC said: “I welcome the Home Secretary’s call for technology companies to step up and do much more to tackle on-line child sexual abuse. The scale and severity of on-line child sexual abuse is evolving and increasing; the tech industry has a duty to work with law enforcement to do whatever they can to assist the police, help combat this appalling crime and keep children safe from sexual predators.”

The NSPCC has launched a petition calling calling on Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright and Home Secretary Sajid Javid to put an end to the Wild West Web. Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive said: “We need tough regulation of social networks to make sure there are fundamental protections for children in place whatever sites they’re using.”

After a survey of children, the charity says that an average of one child per primary school class surveyed has been sent or shown a naked or semi-naked image online from an adult.


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