Cyacomb has launched new detection and filtering software – Cyacomb Safety.
Cyacomb Safety is anticipated to be a “game-changer” in the drive to combat online child sexual abuse in end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms, whilst maintaining user privacy.
The patented technology, which was partly developed through investment from the UK Government’s Safety Tech Challenge Fund, provides a first line of defence for end-to-end encrypted messaging providers to prevent known Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) from being distributed.
Cyacomb Safety finds and anonymously matches shared user content against known CSAM material, in real-time.
The software works on a “find and match” basis against existing, known, block-listed content that has already been recorded on an independently accredited database.
If the user content is recognised as known, harmful content, then it will not be sent.
Crucially, content is anonymised on the device, then ground-breaking Privacy Assured Matching checks to identify known illegal content.
All information leaving the users device is ‘effectively anonymised’ in line with data protection law, ensuring an individual’s privacy is fully protected in communications between their device and the database. The result of the matching process is only known on the user device, so no external party can identify when a match has taken place.
Transmission of the illegal content can then be prevented on the end-to-end encrypted platform.
Cyacomb CEO Ian Stevenson explains;
‘As firm believers in privacy, it was important for us to develop a solution to the growing problem of online child sexual abuse, whilst respecting the right to privacy of users on social media and online messaging platforms.
‘Our Contraband Filter technology is built on principles of privacy-by-design and we have received written advice from the ICO’s Innovation Hub on our proof of concept work during the Safety Tech Challenge Fund. We believe there are no fundamental data protection barriers to deployment.
‘I’m immensely proud of the team here at Cyacomb, especially their overriding determination to overcome the hurdle that it is technologically impossible to do anything to reduce the problem of online child sexual exploitation within an end-to-end encrypted messaging environment.
‘Our aim is to stop harmful content from circulating, and we believe we have an effective solution for that.’
‘Whilst this could go a long way in solving a key issue for providers and government’s alike, we recognise that this solves only one part of the wider online child sexual abuse problem.
‘We continue to urge collaboration between parties including social media companies, Governments, law enforcement agencies, and technology companies, working alongside child protection charities to solve this.’’
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