Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Feds Earmark Cash to Protect Children from Online Sexual Exploitation

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Feds Earmark Cash to Protect Children from Online Sexual Exploitation

Article excerpt

Feds earmark cash for online child protection

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OTTAWA - It may have a scary name, but it's intended to help -- not frighten -- already traumatized children.

Project Arachnid is an automated system that crawls like a spider through online links to detect child sexual abuse images and videos, helping ensure prompt removal.

The Liberal government announced millions of dollars Wednesday for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to further develop and maintain the digital tool and undertake other initiatives to fight a growing scourge.

The centre, a registered charity, will receive $4.1 million over five years, and $857,000 a year thereafter.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse often suffer great distress over the fact video or pictures of the crimes are circulating in cyberspace -- adding to the pain they already experience, the centre says.

Arachnid has processed more than 1.1 billion web pages to date and has sent over 238,000 notices to internet providers requesting the removal of material.

Lianna McDonald, executive director of the child protection centre, said providers comply with about 97 per cent of requests, and the tool allows for tracking of cases where material is not being removed.

It also means police can spend valuable time investigating people committing offences against children rather than scouring the internet manually, said McDonald.

The made-in-Canada technology is being used globally and making a meaningful difference in lives of those who have suffered child sexual abuse, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told a news conference. …

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