PRESS RELEASE: 17.1.2022
Project Arachnid has triggered takedown of millions of images and videos for survivors around the world
Helsinki, Finland – Over the last five years, six million images and videos of child sexual exploitation across more than 1,000 electronic service providers, spanning nearly 100 countries worldwide have been removed from the internet through Project Arachnid. Project Arachnid is an innovative, global tool that detects known images of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the clear and dark web and issues removal notices to electronic service providers. Since 2020, Protect Children/Suojellaan Lapsia ry has assisted in those efforts as one of 11 international organizations classifying images within Project Arachnid and issuing removal notices. Operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P), Project Arachnid not only combats the proliferation of CSAM, but provides relief to survivors by helping break the cycle of victimization.
"We never knew that there was any hope for getting the images of our abuse taken down from the internet. We always thought it was another thing that we could not control. Now that we know that there are actually ways to do it, we want it all shut down. We don’t want any more children to have to deal with what we deal with if that can be fixed," explains a CSAM survivor, supported by C3P.
Since its launch in 2017, Project Arachnid has detected more than 42.7 million suspect images and sent 10.8+ million removal notices to content providers around the world. This is in part due to a growing, global team of analysts who are working to scale up the capacity and impact of Project Arachnid, including Protect Children/Suojellaan Lapsia ry.
"Every child has the right to heal without the fear of the recordings of their abuse circulating online forever. Our work with CSAM victims and peer-support groups for parents and guardians of child victims of online sexual violence have truly confirmed to us the utmost importance of using the most efficient and effective tools to end the cycle of abuse" says Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen, Executive Director, Senior Specialist and psychotherapist, Suojellaan Lapsia ry /Protect Children
Protect Children’s analysts have assessed 711,795 images from January 14, 2020 to January 7, 2022. Image assessments conducted by Protect Children/ Suojellaan Lapsia ry directly contributed to the delivery of more than 553,727 removal notices being sent to electronic service providers in Finland and abroad.
“CSAM is a borderless epidemic that requires a global response,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director for C3P. “Through our collaborative international efforts, we are collectively working to expedite the removal of CSAM, and harmful-abusive images that have traumatically impacted survivors for years, if not decades.”
The data held by Project Arachnid also offers C3P an unprecedented look into the global availability of CSAM online, helping to better identify systemic failures and where the gaps in child protection lie in order to hold industry and government accountable, promote transparency, and assist policymakers in developing effective regulatory frameworks that protect children and support survivors.
To mark the Project Arachnid’s five year milestone, C3P has released a video, Unwanted Followers, to help tell the real stories and experiences of survivors whose child sexual abuse was recorded and distributed online. To watch the film, visit protectchildren.ca.
For more information about Protect Children/Suojellaan Lapsia ry child protection efforts, visit protectchildren.fi
For more information about Project Arachnid, visit projectarachnid.ca.
About Protect Children/Suojellaan Lapsia ry: Protect Children is a non-governmental, not for profit organization dedicated to protecting children from sexual harassment, grooming, and sexual violence, in all environments, tackling the issue from all angles. Protect Children educates children, families, educators, law enforcement and other relevant stakeholders, conducts research on pressing issues and establishes innovative intervention strategies to prevent online sexual offences through an offender-focused approach. Protect Children supports victims of sexual
abuse and their families through contributing to remove CSAM in the Project Arachnid alliance, and through leading peer support groups for parents of children who have been victims of sexual violence.
About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety of all children. The organization’s goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children through programs, services, and resources for Canadian families, educators, child-serving organizations, law enforcement, and other parties. C3P also operates Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national tipline to report child sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet.
For more information:
Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen, Executive Director, Senior Specialist, psychotherapist.
p. 040 747 8829, nina.vaaranen-valkonen(at)suojellaanlapsia.fi