MP announces raft of protection measures

Amber Rudd. Photo by Derek Canty.
Amber Rudd. Photo by Derek Canty.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd this week announced the Government’s new £600,000 investment in a technology project that will remove indecent images of children from the internet at an unprecedented rate.

Alongside this, the Hastings and Rye MP also announced the impending consultation on cracking down on the prevalence and use of offensive and dangerous weapons.

Ms Rudd announced more than half a million pounds worth of investment in ‘Project Arachnid’, a cutting-edge web crawler that can process thousands of image hashes per second.

One image of a child being subjected to abuse can be replicated thousands of times across the internet. Arachnid helps prevent such re-victimisation by detecting copies of the material, and notifying technology companies so they can respond quickly.

Ms Rudd said: “Spreading indecent images of children online is an absolutely abhorrent crime, and social media platforms cannot be looked upon as safe spaces for sharing hateful material that exploits the most vulnerable in our society.

“Through the WePROTECT Global Alliance, we are leading the international response to child sexual exploitation online. We are working with the Canadian Cybertipline, who have partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US on implementing a world-leading piece of technology, Project Arachnid.

“This is a global technology solution to a global technology problem. Protect Arachnid is a real leap forward in terms of our capacity to deal with this sort of vile material.

“We want the internet companies signed up to using this technology, and using it to proactively search for, and destroy, illegal images in their systems. Our question to them is ‘if not, why not?’”

Ms Rudd went on to detail how the consultation on offensive weapons will be published in the autumn, and it will give the police greater powers to pursue offenders and keep communities safe.

The measures will include stopping the sale of knives online to someone under the age of 18, making it illegal to keep certain types of weapons – such as flick knives and zombie knives – at home, making it illegal to sell the most harmful corrosive substances to someone under the age of 18 and preventing people having a corrosive substance in a public place, without good reason.

As part of the Government’s efforts to clamp down on acid attacks, Ms Rudd announced her intention to tighten restrictions around access to sulphuric acid.