A new app designed to reduce online viewing of child sexual abuse material has received £1.8m of funding from the European Union.
This app called Salus a , Protech project, is expected to work in real time where it will utilize artificial intelligence to identify potential child sexual abuse material and stop users from seeing it
In addition, it will also use other more conventional techniques to block content.
The app which can be installed in phones will identify and block harmful images and videos from being displayed.
The aim of this app is to help combat growing demand for child abuse images.
Further, it will prevent the re-victimization of child sexual abuse survivors who continue to suffer in the knowledge that others may still be able to view images and videos of them online.
After being installed, the app will run silently and will not require user interaction unless sexual images of children are detected and blocked.
Before its launch it will be tested on volunteers who have sought help because they are drawn to illegal images and want to ensure they cannot act on their desire.
The Internet Watch Foundation, an organisation that works to find, flag and remove child abuse material, will help to train the AI technology developed by the UK company SafeToNet.
The safety app will monitor both network traffic and images viewed on the user’s screen in real-time.
It could prove to be a vital tool for the sustainable, long-term prevention of child sexual abuse content, alongside current digital activities that tackle and remove the imagery, such as criminal investigations and the removal and hashing of images.
The project which is expected to be launched in March is a collaboration involving organizations and experts from the EU and the UK in ranging fields including criminology, public health, developmental, clinical and forensic psychology, software engineering, child protection and internet safety.