Davos, Switzerland, 23 January 2020. The Director of UNICRI, Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, and the Head of the UNICRI Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Irakli Beridze, addressed the issue of the exploitation of children online during the Bracket Foundation Panel hosted by the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Panel on how Artificial Intelligence can combat the online sexual abuse of children, examined the scale of the problem and the steps that are needed to prevent and stop these crimes from being committed.
The discussion, which was opened by Ms. Bartsiotas, was moderated by Cyrus Hodes, Co-Founder FoundersX Ventures and panellists included Ms. Yalda Aoukar, Co-Founder, Bracket Foundation, and Mr. Beridze.
Crucial questions regarding the potential of advances in technology – and in particular artificial intelligence – to reduce abuses such as the online spreading of child sexual abuse and exploitation material were discussed, as well what kind of new tools law enforcement could rely on to prevent and counter these crimes through the identification of victims and perpetrators.
Since 2018, UNICRI, together with INTERPOL, have been exploring the role of artificial intelligence for law enforcement, convening annual global meetings on the topic.
The Panel highlighted present challenges, the lessons learned from the past and invited technology leaders and other stakeholders (i.e. faith leaders, governmental leaders, business leaders) to initiate new measures, such as AI based applications to address these crimes.
Ms. Bartsiotas stressed the urgency to tackle these new forms of large-scale digital abuse such as online grooming and high-definition live-streaming of videos, highlighting the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, as well as the target 16.2 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which task countries with protecting children from abuse, exploitation, trafficking and violence.
“In light of current concerning trends in online abuse, it is clear that a lot remains to be done to realize this ambitious goal. Growing up online has never been so dangerous for children. We do, however, find ourselves with a new ally in our corner. New technology, and in particular artificial intelligence and machine learning, provides us with an unprecedented opportunity. By leveraging these technologies, we can empower law enforcement to turn the tide on this trend and more effectively prevent, detect and prosecute these crimes, making our digital world safer for children.”