Protecting Children in Online Social Networks
The EPSRC / ESRC funded Isis project aims to develop an ethics-centred monitoring framework and tools for supporting law enforcement agencies in policing social networks for the purpose of online child protection.
Recent years have seen a rapid rise in the number and use of online social networks. These social networks pose two significant risks in terms of child exploitation:
Paedophiles predating on children: Children actively participate in chat rooms and web-based communities. Paedophiles can use such forums to predate on children, or even to plan paedophilia-related activities.
Paedophiles distributing and sharing child abuse media: Paedophiles use mechanisms, such as file-sharing systems, in order to distribute and share child abuse media. Recent studies have shown that hundreds of searches for illegal images occur each second.
Isis aims to address three major research challenges in this context:
· How to identify active paedophiles across online communities?
· How to identify the core distributors of child abuse media?
· How to ensure that such developments maintain ethical practices?
The Isis Project has now ended and the continued development and support of the Isis Language Analysis Toolkit is now performed by Isis Forensics, who have an exclusive license for the software developed by Lancaster University within the project. Other work performed by Swansea University or Middlesex University in the Isis project is not included in this licensing arrangement.