New report on child sexual abuse crime shows that it is common that children in both the US and Europe live-stream sexual content – either voluntarily or as a result of grooming / extortion
The NetClean Report 2019 is released today. Based on a survey conducted with 450 police officers from 41 countries the report looks into child sexual abuse crime, this year with a specific focus on live-streaming.
Gothenburg, Sweden 5.12.2019 Live-streamed child sexual abuse crime is on the increase. The most common scenario is that children in the US or Europe, either voluntarily or as a result of grooming or extortion, live-stream films using applications like Skype, Snapchat, Facebook, Kik or Omegle. Distant livestreaming, cam shows where an adult is facilitating the sexual abuse, is less common.
According to the results of the survey, almost 40 percent of the surveyed police officers state that livestreamed child sexual abuse is common or very common. 56 percent indicated that this type of crime is on the increase. Most common are live-streamed films that children in the US and Europe have voluntarily produced, followed by induced live-streamed sexual abuse produced as a result of grooming or sexual extortion.
Distant live-streaming, which is ordered webcam shows where a grown-up facilitates the abuse, is less common. In this context the Philippines is most frequently mentioned, however the survey shows that this type of abuse also takes place in Western and Eastern Europe, Russia and the US.
The surveyed police officers mention in total sixty-four different apps and platforms that are used for livestreamed child sexual abuse. Most common is Skype, followed by Snapchat, Facebook, Kik and Omegle.
“There is a perception that live-streamed child sexual abuse is webcam shows from faraway places like the Philippines, but the results of this report show that this type of sexual abuse happens in many other parts of the world,” said Anna Borgström, CEO at NetClean. “In fact, the results show that voluntarily produced and induced live-streamed child sexual abuse is more common. I hope that this will help expand the discussion about live-streamed child sexual abuse.”
Encryption, darknet and cloud storage are the biggest challenges
One in ten of the surveyed police officers state that live-streaming and apps that don’t store data present some of the biggest challenges when investigating child sexual abuse crime. Aside from live-streaming the technology that most hinders child sexual abuse investigations is encryption (49 %), followed by TOR/darknet (18.7 %) and cloud storage (17.8 %)
In contrast, more than half of the surveyed police officers also state that developments in technology aid the discovery and investigation of child sexual abuse crimes. AI, primarily, is highlighted as technology that aids investigations today. Development of AI is also seen as having great potential for aiding investigations in the future.
“Increasing encryption of data and more use of the darknet makes it more difficult for Internet Service and platform providers and law enforcement to find and stop child sexual abuse material,” said Borgström. “However, in order to view material it needs to be decrypted, therefore it is vital to take further steps to protect laptops and other devices.”
The NetClean Report 2019 also looks into the following issues:
- The report shows that offenders that view live-streamed child sexual abuse often come from the US and Europe. The survey also shows that these offenders often collect other types of child sexual abuse material.
- The opinion was split amongst the police officers as to whether offenders that groom or sexually extort children through live-streaming services are the same individuals who also engage in distant live-streamed child sexual abuse through web-cam shows.
- Child sexual abuse material is primarily stored on laptops, mobile phones and USB-sticks. Cloud storage is also used to a large extent. The use of mobile phones is increasing most.
- Dropbox and Google services are the cloud-based storage services that are used most frequently according to the surveyed police officers.
- Snapchat, Facebook, and Kik are the social media platforms mentioned most frequently by the surveyed police officers.
- The report also features a survey undertaken with one hundred companies that all have more than 5,000 employees. Nine in ten companies have a policy in place that outlines that it is illegal to consume sexual abuse using the company’s IT environment / equipment. Eight in ten businesses have an action plan to deploy if sexual abuse material is found in the company’s IT environment.
Eight in ten companies stated that they have technology in place to protect their IT environment against child sexual abuse material – six out of ten point to filter solutions. One in ten state that they have detected child sexual abuse material in the company’s IT environment.
About the NetClean report:
The NetClean Report is a yearly report, published since 2015. It looks into issues surrounding child sexual abuse crime. The reports are based on surveys conducted with police officers across the world who work on investigations pertaining to child sexual abuse crime. In the 2019 Report 450 police officers from 41 different countries participated in the survey. The NetClean Report 2019 also consists of a survey undertaken with 100 companies in the US with more than 5,000 employees. The final section of the report consists of a summary that details technologies available to companies to protect their IT environment from child sexual abuse material.