The CCPE is asking web companies to join together and make use of the free “Shield by Arachnid Project” application.
Damian Dovarganes / AP files
Every 12 hours, a Canadian robot called “Arachnid” detects 10,824 new images of child pornography on the internet.The Canadian Center for Child Protection (CCPE), the organization behind Arachnid, is urging technology companies to do more to reduce accessibility to images of child pornography online.The robot was named Arachnid because it weaves its way through cyber space to detect images and videos of child pornography through digital fingerprints. When the content is detected, the robot sends a warning to the host requesting immediate removal.But not all hosts comply, CCPE spokesperson René Morin told La Presse canadienne.“In most cases, the hosts will comply within two to three days, and the images will be removed,” Morin said. “Being told by an entity in close connection to police services that you have illegal images on your server does not make you want to leave them there. There are, however, a number of hosts who will react slowly or not at all.”The CCPE is asking web companies to join together and make use of the free “Shield by Arachnid Project” application.“If you’re a big web host like Videotron or Telus and some of your customers are using your servers to post child pornography, you may not know it,” Morin said. “So, we made the application available to them so they can scan their server for such images.”According to Morin, hosts who are reluctant to use the technology contribute to the perpetuation of the issue of child pornography online, “resulting in the revictimization of children who have been sexually abused.”In Canada, Internet providers are required by law to report any child pornography incidents to law enforcement.The CCPE’s technology has garnered attention from several organizations around the world. Child sexual exploitation reporting centres in the United States, Finland, Sweden, Colombia, the United Kingdom and Croatia are now using Arachnid.Behind Arachnid’s technology are CCPE analysts who review each detected image; these employees see thousands of cases child pornography.“This is not light work; we are aware of the emotional toll associated to this work,” Morin said. “But we want to ensure the quality of the data entered in the Arachnid database, so it must be verified by humans.”Arachnid detects more than 100,000 unique images every month. According to Morin, if the robot continues to detect a higher number of images, it’s because the program is evolving and adapting to better its detection capabilities, but also because there is an increasing amount of websites containing child pornography.Since its launch two and a half years ago, Arachnid has detected more than 9 million images potentially associated to pedophilia and has sent more than 4 million requests for content removal from hosts across the globe.Related