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Child sexual abuse material and end-to-end encryption on social media platforms: an overview

Child sexual abuse Child abuse Social media Encryption Australia

This paper reviews open-source materials, including electronic service provider (ESP) transparency reports, to provide an overview of the contemporary problem of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) offending on ESP platforms, examine measures currently used by ESPs to detect and prevent CSAM offending, and explore the potential impact of end-to-end encryption on CSAM distribution and detection.

The study finds that the platforms with the highest user bases are actively detecting and removing CSAM. However, some are less transparent than others about the methods they use to prevent, detect and remove CSAM, omitting key information that is crucial for future best practice in reducing CSAM offending. Further, the adoption of end-to-end encryption by platforms that detect and remove large amounts of CSAM from their platforms will likely provide a haven for CSAM offenders. Implications for ESPs and international law reform are discussed.

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Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice, no.653