Global project combating online child abuse marks five years

During the pandemic, eSafety has reached new heights when it comes to the removal of online images and videos of child exploitation.  

In the 2020/21 financial year, we conducted almost 14,500 regulatory investigations into online child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) – a record in the 20-year history of the Online Content Scheme. 

This result was enabled by an unprecedented number of reports from the Australian public.

However, it’s important to remember that the vital work we do in Australia is only one part of a global effort to combat online child abuse.  

Collaboration is key to this effort.

Since 2019 we have proudly partnered with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s Project Arachnid, an innovative tech solution that scales the detection and removal of known CSEM.   

We are one of 11 international organisations helping to classify images identified by Arachnid as potential CSEM.

This distributed classification model works to supercharge automated removal by building a robust and growing database of ‘hashes’ or digital fingerprints of verified CSEM. 

Today marks five years since Arachnid began crawling the web for this abhorrent content, with the goal of helping alleviate the psychological toll on survivors.  

In that time, Arachnid has removed 10 million images and videos of child sexual exploitation across more than 1,000 electronic service providers, spanning nearly 100 countries.

It has also spawned Shield by Project Arachnid, a service for the digital industry aimed at reducing the presence of CSEM on platforms and networks.  

To support Arachnid, our investigators have assessed more than 34,200 images, resulting in the platform issuing 116,507 removal notices to electronic service providers across the globe. 

The spread of of child sexual abuse material is a borderless epidemic.  

Tackling the harm it does demands international solutions such as Project Arachnid, which leverages the expertise and commitment of a global community of professionals.  

eSafety is pleased to be part of that community, and we congratulate our Canadian friends on this important milestone.