Counteracting online child abuse while upholding Internet freedom
Since the inception of the Internet, its misuse to disseminate child abuse images has been a perennial problem. Today, the problem has largely been eliminated on mainstream Internet platforms, but this has only driven abusers to encrypted networks and services, such as the Tor network, for the distribution of such images. Apart from the ongoing revictimization of the children depicted in those images, the misuse of the Tor network to facilitate abuse has also produced other adverse outcomes, including associating the Tor network with criminal activity, and raising the incentives for law enforcement to develop de-anonymization attacks against the network. This project aims to counteract these harms, by developing and documenting applications for the Tor network that can reduce and prevent online child abuse.
We propose to develop and maintain a set of child sexual abuse prevention support and outreach services hosted on the Tor network, under the supervision of mental health professionals. By doing so, we will demonstrate our rejection of the narrative that the strong encryption technologies that enable privacy and anonymity online are incompatible with child protection. While all technologies can be used for good or evil, child sexual abuse prevention is the perfect case study to demonstrate how essential the Tor network is for experts who are adopting a “primary prevention” approach to child protection. Our project will be a practical illustration of that.
Your donation will help us to establish new support resources on the Tor network and clear web, through which child sexual abuse prevention professionals can interact with those at-risk of offending, steer them away from abusive behaviors, and direct them towards additional offline sources of support and treatment. Read more in our concept note and donate now.