David Cameron has announced the creation of a specialist unit that will target users who view child abuse images online.
The National Crime Agency and GCHQ will head the task force, whose objective it is to expose those who use “dark web” Internet networks to exploit children.
The dark web refers to thousands of websites that are oftentimes only accessible via anonymizing services such as Tor and I2P that obfuscate people’s IP addresses. For that reason, many view the dark web as an “ungoverned” part of the “deep web,” which accounts for 90 percent of Internet traffic.
Governments have limited ability to exercise control over the dark web, or any part of the web for that matter. The UK government is therefore looking to tech companies, including Microsoft and Google, to step in and help.
Among other things, it is expected that Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Google will use an upcoming summit to announce technology that will allow them to permanently delete child abuse images they find on their sites.
This will be possible via the ongoing help of the Internet Watch Foundation, a private organization that gives each image of child sexual abuse a digital fingerprint called a hash value. These signatures, in turn, help tech companies remove any illicit images from their websites.
Additionally, Google and Mozilla will work to block individuals from viewing child sexual abuse images using their browsers.
“The so-called ‘dark-net’ is increasingly used by paedophiles to view sickening images,” comments David Cameron. “I want them to hear loud and clear: we are shining a light on the web’s darkest corners; if you are thinking of offending, there will be nowhere for you to hide.”
The specialist unit will help to enforce a new law that seeks to prosecute those who send or receive sexual comments or images from children online. This will make all sexual communication with a child illegal regardless of whether or not a predator’s advances are successful.