“Tech giants always put profit before responsibility”
Police Chief Bailey to target social media companies in final speech
Police Chief Simon Bailey, head of child protection at the National Council of Chiefs of Police, will use his last day in office to warn that the fight against child sexual abuse can only be won with support social media giants.
The outgoing leader of Norfolk Constabulary will deliver a speech on Wednesday June 30 at the PIER21 conference, hosted by Anglia Ruskin University’s Eastern Region Police Institute.
During his speech, he will say that Facebook’s decision to introduce global end-to-end encryption threatens to “turn off the lights” on the issue of online child sexual abuse, allowing offenders to upload, share and view indecent images without being detected.
Police Chief Bailey, who is retiring from the police on June 30 after 35 years of service, will say:
âThe government has produced a white paper on online security and a comprehensive government response to the consultation, which would give Ofcom the power to fine companies for hosting this material. But if no one can see what is downloaded, it will not stop the infringement.
âSocial media companies have the ability to make downloading, viewing and sharing indecent images much more difficult, but they choose not to invest in technology to eradicate it. In fact, by irresponsibly applying end-to-end encryption, they make it easier. The technology is there to prevent people from downloading these images, but they still make a profit rather than protecting the children. “
Police Chief Bailey will describe the current scale of crime as an “epidemic”. There are now 20 million unique images of child sexual abuse securely stored in the Police Child Abuse Image Database (CAID), and that number is growing at a rate of d ‘about 250,000 every month. The National Crime Agency estimates that between 500,000 and 850,000 people in the UK pose a threat to children.
Thinking back to his time as the NPCC National Child Protection Officer, he would say:
âNine years ago, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center was responsible for coordinating 192 arrests in one year, police working in partnership with the National Crime Agency now treat 850 offenders per month. Our partnership has enabled us to protect tens of thousands of young people, but the number of offenses continues to grow, depravity deepens and victims get younger.
âThe scale is just overwhelming. The police and NCA are doing everything in their power, but the blame must now fall on the social media giants, who continue to absolve themselves of all responsibility. “
The PIER21 conference at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), taking place on June 29-30, will bring together leading researchers to present the most recent work focused on investigating and preventing child sexual abuse online .
The online conference will highlight what is being done to combat the threat, the latest technologies available to law enforcement targeting attackers and the emergence of new threats. In addition to Police Chief Bailey, guest speakers will include Susie Hargreaves of the Internet Watch Foundation and Rob Jones, Director of Threat Leadership at the National Crime Agency.
The ARU PIER conducts research on child sexual abuse and in December 2020 received funding of Â£ 860,000 from the Dawes Trust to investigate, help shape policy and develop solutions to some of the issues they are facing. are currently facing.
This four-year research program will see PIER working closely with the Department of Justice, the Home Office and the National Council of Chiefs of Police (NPCC), and will be led by Dr Samantha Lundrigan, the director of PIER.