The Advisory Board for the newly launched AI for Safer Children Initiative implemented in partnership by UNICRI, through its Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and the Ministry of Interior of the United Arab Emirates, met virtually for the first time this afternoon.
The purpose of the meeting, which was chaired by Lt. Col. Dana Humaid of the Ministry of Interior and UNICRI’s Irakli Beridze, was to formally introduce Advisory Board members to the AI for Safer Children Initiative, discuss ideas for piloting a global hub on AI for combatting online child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), support investigations and align on next steps. During the meeting, the need to build law enforcement capacity to leverage new AI-based tools in local, contextualized ways came to the fore, as well as the need to ensure that any such tools are ethical by design and their use is consistent with human rights.
The growth in recent years in the quantity and quality of CSAM, together with the emergence of new technology-enabled forms of abuse, such as livestreaming, has evidenced the increasing vulnerability of the children in the digital era. It has also placed considerable strain on law enforcement agencies, which struggle with significant and growing backlog of cases and mounting psychological strain on individual investigators manually processing CSAM. The AI for Safer Children Initiative seeks to leverage the advent of AI, and, in particular, machine learning to overcome these challenges and contribute to the implementation of Target 2 of the Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
In opening the meeting, Lt. Col Humaid observed that “with the increased numbers of cases around the world, and the matching variation of channels and platforms predators use to produce or possess images and videos of children, we as law enforcement agencies need to do all we can to fulfil our role and responsibilities towards ending this crime.” Mr. Beridze commented that “Online child abuse is certainly not an easy problem and using AI to combat it is also not such a simple solution. Both are extremely complex and dynamic challenges and we will only be able to carve out a path forward and make progress by doing so in an international and multistakeholder collaborative approach”.
The Advisory Board is composed of global leaders in child protection, law enforcement and AI, including representatives from: Aarambh India; the Bracket Foundation; the Canadian Center for Child Protection; World Childhood Foundation; ECPAT; the European Commission Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs; Europol; the Fund to End Violence Against Children; Griffeye; the Gucci Children’s Foundation; International Justice Mission; INTERPOL; the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; Red Papaz; SafeToNet; Thorn; UNICEF; University of Massachusetts Amherst; the Virtual Global Taskforce; and the WePROTECT Alliance.