Violence against children via the Internet is a growing scourge that will continue to affect more young people around the world unless action is taken, and better measures put in place.
With this in mind, specialist security distributor, African Risk Mitigation (ARM), is participating in the Film and Publications Board’s conference in October. The conference will be looking at cyber safety and child protection, and ARM aims to raise awareness around Netclean’s technology solutions that fight child sexual abuse material.
Unfortunately, says ARM GM Lauren Wain, corporate South Africa is seemingly indifferent to the fact that images of violence against children do come on to their networks, and while they are spending millions on AV products, they just aren’t willing to protect children while protecting themselves.
Cyber-crime is a well-understood threat, one that corporates around the world are fully aware of. They throw millions or rands at cyber-security solutions aimed at protecting their networks and their most valuable information.
“However, there are far worse criminals out there than your shady hackers looking to steal proprietary information or login credentials. There are individuals who look at, source and distribute images of children being sexually and otherwise abused over the internet. In fact, the UN estimates that approximately three quarters of a million people around the world are viewing images of this nature at any one time,” she says.
“We understand that protecting children is increasingly difficult due to the environment that allows for a far wider access to modern communication technologies. Kids are very tech savvy, they latch on to new technologies, and pedophiles and other offenders are always on the lookout for new ways to gain access to kids. There are literally millions upon millions of images of children being abused on the Web today. Many offenders, when caught, are found to have personal stashes of millions of unique images of abuse on their PCs. Social networks, such as Facebook, video streaming, super-fast broadband, and a proliferation of apps, are all contributing unwittingly to the problem.”
She explains that South Africans are very “young” in terms of their perceptions of child pornography, and don’t view the problem as a “crime scene”, as it were. “They don’t consider the fact that these images stem from real life incidents, they don’t consider the chain of degradation involved in the production and distribution of these images.”
Moreover, she says media reports a couple of years ago around the breaking of a local child sex abuse ring with ties to the US, Europe, the UK, Canada and Australasia, prove that South Africa is involved in this practice as much as any other country.
“Google, and other global ISPs are investing millions of dollars into efforts to stop the scourge of child abuse images on the net. South Africans need to step up too. It is only through co-operation with local corporates that we have a hope to make a dent in this worst of scourges. ARMs attendance at the conference aims to help spread awareness and build these partnerships.”