Microsoft opens up online child exploitation protection tool to other companies

The tool will help companies detect and report suspicious activity

Microsoft has announced that it is sharing a digital tool that will help companies protect children from online predators.

In a press release, the company explained that it has developed a grooming detection technique, codenamed Project Artemis, that helps users detect, address and report online predators. Microsoft has already applied this tech to several of its own platforms, including Skype and Xbox, but now it’s opening up the tool to other companies.

Specifically, Artemis is applied to text-based chat conversations. After a company sets a determiner for suspicious exchanges, the technique will evaluate and “rate” conversations and assign an overall probability rating. Should the results prove concerning, human moderators can then report imminent threats to law enforcement, or suspected child sexual exploitation to groups like NCMEC.

Microsoft is offering this technology for free through non-profit child sexual abuse protection organization Thorn. Online service companies that offer chat functions can reach out to Thorn at antigrooming@thorn.org to license Artemis.

Artemis was first conceived in November 2018 during a hackathon that was co-sponsored by the WePROTECT Global Alliance in conjunction with the Child Dignity Alliance. In the 14 months since, Microsoft has worked with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn to further develop Artemis. Agencies like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), ECPAT International, INHOPE and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) also provided feedback.

Microsoft isn’t the only major company to crack down harder on child abuse this week. At the ongoing CES 2020, Apple also revealed that it has started to scan its users‘ iCloud photos for evidence of child abuse.

Source: Microsoft