WhatsApp has a child porn problem

WhatsApp has a child porn problem WhatsApp has become a platform for users to “openly” share pictures and videos ofchild pornography.

WhatsApp chat groups are being used to spread illegal child pornography, cloaked by the app’s end-to-end encryption.

Without the necessary number of human moderators, the disturbing content is slipping by WhatsApp’s automated systems.

WhatsApp has a child porn problem


WhatsApp has a child porn problem Child porn is reportedly being spread across WhatsApp chat groups. Sharing of pictures and videos of child pornography is being “openly” done on the platform.

WhatsApp is used for many things but of late one of the most nefarious uses of the app has been to use it to spread child pornography.

In India, we have seen in the past WhatsApp groups being busted for sharing objectionable photos of children, but now it seems that the problem is global in nature.

An NGO in Israel has found that the end-to-end encryption offered by WhatsApp apparently allows many on the chat app to form private groups where people share child pornography.

According to a report from two Israeli NGOs — Screen Savers and Netivei Reshe, some third-party apps which provide links to join WhatsApp groups also have sections for content which is flagged as adult. This was being used to share child pornography on the messaging platform.

WhatsApp made its platform end-to-end encrypted yet

WhatsApp made its platform end-to-end encrypted in 2016. The company says that feature adds a blanket of security over every call, message including group chats, photo, video, file, voice message, including group chats. The feature is to provide security against any potential cyber threats, hacking or snooping.


WhatsApp has a child porn problem, however, that same protection also means that WhatsApp and law enforcement are unable to see the contents of messages suspected to contain illegal or abusive activity.

In other words, the same detection tools that Facebook uses to monitor its site and Instagram can’t be used for WhatsApp.

Police and government officials have long criticized hardware and apps that utilize strong encryption as a hindrance to their investigations, while privacy activists tout the technology as one of the only ways to truly communicate privately in an era of widespread government surveillance. 

WhatsApp has a child porn problem
Image source by AntiToxin:

How the WhatsApp smart scanning techniques detect the illegal content?

The illegal content – “videos and pictures of children being subjected to sexual abuse” – It is a disaster, this sort of material was once mostly found on the darknet, but now it’s on WhatsApp, yet researchers, who work at Israeli charities trying to improve online safety.

As per the report, WhatsApp has smart scanning techniques to keep an eye on users or groups that participate in the sharing of illegal content and it bans thousands of accounts in a day.

However, findings have revealed WhatsApp groups with names like “child porn only no adv” or “cp- an abbreviation for child porn” and explicit profile pictures that makes the nature of the group evident.

A startup called AntiToxin Technologies that researches the topic has backed up the report, providing the screenshot above and saying it’s identified more than 1,300 videos and photographs of minors involved in sexual acts on WhatsApp groups. 


WhatsApp has a child porn problem it also claims to have banned as many as 1,30,000 accounts in 10-days, recently, for violating its policies against child exploitation.

Notably

It’s important to note that in India, it is illegal to share or even watch child pornography. In case someone found sharing or hosting child pornography, the person can be punished with jail term of up to 7 years and can be fined thousands of rupees.

Recently, the government came out with new rules – likely to be approved by cabinet soon and notified – that mandates that if someone comes across child pornography in a WhatsApp group or in a message, the person will have to inform authorities about it and will have to immediately delete such objectionable and illegal content.

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