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Finding a common approach to describing what is in the four corners of an image is our goal. In order to achieve that, we work with key groups of experts from hotlines, law enforcement agencies, industry partners, and other NGOs.
After a successful First Focus Group meeting in June 2022, key experts have been meeting online to discuss key aspects of creating a common approach to categorizing CSAM, divided into three sub-groups: Ontology development, Technology, and Law & policy.
25 key experts from INTERPOL, INHOPE member hotlines, Law Enforcement Agencies and relevant NGOs collaborated on the first version of the ontology during the Ontology Sub-group meetings. This list of key characteristics in a Child Sexual Abuse image or a video needs to cover the different legislations and categorizations of CSAM worldwide. Therefore, the involvement of international hotlines, Law Enforcement Agencies and internet companies is crucial at the development stage.
During the Ontology sub-group meeting, these experts have highlighted the key benefits of creating a common ontology for the classification of CSAM, but also the key challenges. Each sector requires different sets of metadata coming with a certain image/video and each organisation uses this data for different purposes. Acknowledging that we are all coming from different sides, yet clearly expressing the willingness to work together is key in this project.
We further saw this in the Technology sub-group meeting, where the Chair Cathal Delaney from Thorn presented the technological possibilities of using the ontology. Once complete, INHOPE member hotlines will be enabled to use the ontology within INHOPE’s secure system ICCAM to annotate and classify CSAM. This will in turn create a clear matrix that will enable the translation of CSAM classification schemes between different jurisdictions, methodologies, and organisation types.
The Law & Policy sub-group further explored the potential uses of the ontology and possible challenges from the perspective of the European Commission, as a governmental body; META & Yubo from the perspective of industry; and EUROPOL, the UK Home Office and The National Crimes Agency (UK) from a law enforcement perspective.
From the industry perspective, the group saw a potential for a well-functioning ontology giving reliable data from cross-sector data that may help reduce the human toll of reviewing CSAM data. Another highlighted industry perspective was that the ontology would be incredibly valuable for newer/smaller actors that are trying to make sense of the ecosystem combatting CSAM.
From a law enforcement and government perspective, the group emphasized the importance of a common language between clearing houses such as NCMEC and the future European Centre.
From a hotline perspective, the involved hotlines EOKM (NL), Internet Watch Foundation (UK), and NASK (PL) emphasized the need for trust and a high-quality of data in this project and going forward when sharing data between sectors.
The second Focus Group in this project will be taking place on 22 and 23 September in Washington D.C. (attendance by invitation only). Sign up for the Global Standard newsletter here to stay up to date on project developments and find more information about the project here.
25 key experts from INTERPOL, INHOPE member hotlines, Law Enforcement Agencies, and relevant NGOs collaborated on the first version of the ontology during the Sub-group meetings.'