INHOPE | What is a Hotline Analyst?
Educational Articles

What is a Hotline Analyst?

A hotline analyst is a person responsible for receiving, analysing and classifying incoming reports of harmful, illegal content such as suspected Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).

Fifty member hotlines worldwide are working on the rapid identification and removal of CSAM as part of the INHOPE network. All of these hotlines are staffed with trained hotline analysts who are responsible for reviewing incoming reports. Every time CSAM is shared or viewed online it revictimises the affected child, which is why the fast removal of this content is crucial. All INHOPE member hotlines work closely with local and international law enforcement to not only remove the material but to investigate, identify and prosecute the offender(s).

What does Hotline Analyst Work look like?

  1. A trained hotline analyst receives a report of suspected CSAM. The received content URL could contain any number of content, from one picture to an entire collection of image and video content.
  2. The analyst assesses the material and classifies it either according to the national framework or INTERPOL's international criteria. INTERPOLs criteria maintain a ‘Baseline’ list of the digital signatures of some of the worst cases of CSAM. ‘Baseline’ is the international standard that aims to isolate the worst of child abuse materials that would be considered illegal in any country.
  3. If the material is identified as CSAM the content URL is inserted in ICCAM, where each image or video within the URL can be classified separately.
  4. Depending on where the material is hosted, the report is either directly forwarded to the local law enforcement agency or redirected to the responsible member hotline in the hosting country.

Technological Support for Hotline Analysts

INHOPE guidelines recommend that hotline analysts do not review material for more than four hours daily. Nonetheless, viewing harmful and disturbing material for several hours each day is a straining and difficult task. To support analysts in their work there are technological and AI solutions designed to ease their workload.

Content Manipulation: To prevent analysts from having to view CSAM in all of its graphic details, the images or videos can be manipulated - changing or tinting the colours, watching videos in reverse, flipping images upside down, or reducing the clarity of the content. This helps to minimise the impact of reviewing this content.

Image Hashing: Hashing is a powerful tool used by hotlines, Law Enforcement, Industry and other child protection organisations in the removal of CSAM. Image hashing is the process of using an algorithm to assign a unique hash value to an image. Duplicate copies of the image all have the same hash value, which enables known items of CSAM to be detected and removed without requiring them to be assessed again by an analyst.

Wellness & Resilience

Notwithstanding the technological support available for hotline analysts, reviewing disturbing material daily is a straining task that can be detrimental to mental health. This is why frequent activities for wellness and resilience are crucial. This article offers a detailed overview of wellness and resilience in the digital safety field, including daily wellness tips, suggestions for the right work setup and the importance of a wellness-focused work culture.

Hotline analysts are at the frontline of globally tackling CSAM online. To support them in their work and facilitate the rapid removal of that content, every member of the public must be aware of how and where to report suspected CSAM. If you come across material that you suspect to be illegal, please report it immediately to your national hotline. You can find an overview of all member hotlines here.

What is a Hotline Analyst?

If you come across material that you suspect to be illegal, please report it immediately to your national hotline. You can find an overview of all member hotlines here.