Facebook, Google and Microsoft use content scanners to search their platforms for photos and videos that show child sexual abuse. They report the finds to child protection organizations and authorities. But can algorithms reliably find the punishable media at all and is it proportionate to scrutinize the databases of innocent users in a constitutional state?
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Security authorities also use algorithms and detection software to comb through confiscated data. The scanners should, on the one hand, reliably detect images, on the other hand, ignore legal content such as harmless vacation photos or adult pornography. Some systems compare with known abuse images, others are supposed to use machine learning to find previously unknown, forbidden content. The desirable spread of reliable encryption makes it difficult to find.
In the c’t uplink, c’t editors Holger Bleich and Sylvester Tremmel as well as Heise legal advisor Joerg Heidrich explain the background to the content scanners. What technology does the detection software use to find the abuse images without distributing the problematic content itself? What are the legal bases, from data protection to criminal law, for their use and where are legal problems? And what regulations is the EU planning in the future? Together with moderator Keywan Tonekaboni, you will discuss whether this approach is the right way to combat the spread of child sexual abuse.
Also there: Holger Bleich, Sylvester Tremmel, Joerg Heidrich and Keywan Tonekaboni
The c’t 2/2022 is available at the kiosk, in the browser and in the c’t app for iOS and Android.
In our YouTube channel c’t 3003 Jan-Keno Janssen explains why you should steer clear of Telegram (“The Destruction of Telegram”).
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