We refuse to live in a world where abused children remain in their situation because the technology needed to find them and stop their abuse exists, but simply isn’t being used. We are inspired, not deterred, by difficulty and we will continue to innovate, by bringing the best talent and resources to bear, to find children faster and stop online abuse.
Investing in knowledge allows us to understand the who, what, where, when and why of the complicated and often hidden world of online child abuse. Advancing our knowledge supports our technical products and informs our vision.
Collaborating with survivors to inform the technologies we build, to understand the nuances of trafficking and to learn more about the role technology plays in these crimes keeps our programs relevant, informed and impactful.
Our programs work to deter people searching for child abuse content on the open web, and encourage them to seek help. We are also actively involved in international conversations to further our understanding of demand and best practices globally.
Volunteer, Child Victim Identification
Our volunteers are incredible. We connected with Melissa in 2016 to help us better understand the broad range of people who abuse children and seek out child sexual abuse material. Understanding the abuser, helps us create better online interventions as we aim to stop the consumption and spread of child abuse material.
Diversity of skill sets and backgrounds makes our community of Digital Defenders strong. Tech Companies, NGO’s, Volunteers, Government and Law Enforcement are all needed to build and deploy the right tools to keep kids safe.
Microsoft and Intel are working with Thorn on a tool to improve child facial recognition. Led by volunteer Federico Gomez Suarez, we’re leveraging our community and existing technology to create a service to help find missing and exploited children faster.
This year, Thorn joined volunteers from Amazon Web Services, Cloudera, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and many other companies for two days of hacking and exploring to push cutting edge solutions further.
Volunteer, Software Development - Microsoft
"It's a great honor for me and Microsoft to be able to contribute to Thorn's mission through volunteer work. I remember the moment when we realized that the software we built was successfully helping children. It was powerful. Working for Microsoft allows me these opportunities, this is the way I can help."
To make an impact for children exploited online we need to do three big things. We need to shrink online abuse environments, decrease the anonymity of abusers, and identify children faster. To do this we build new tools and partnerships that help make sense of massive amounts of disparate information to deliver faster insights to our partners on the front lines of stopping online abuse.
It’s been an incredible 12 months. Our technical team has more than doubled in size and they are focused on building products that will make an immediate and sizable impact on law enforcement’s ability to identify children and abusers, as well as industry’s ability to identify and remove child abuse content faster.
Now in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and used by over 4,000 law enforcement agents, Spotlight has helped investigators identify more than 6,000 trafficking victims in the past year
We will continue to build tools to help law enforcement identify children who are being sexually abused, equipping those working on the front lines with the power to find kids faster.
Thorn Innovation Lab Advisory Board, Product Manager on the Google Safety Team
Advisors keep us on our toes, and push us to imagine greater technical opportunities. In Travis’ case, he brings a wealth of knowledge in the online safety space having worked at Facebook and Google in child safety engineering.
Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) support has allowed us to take advantage of compute, storage and analytics capabilities. Without their considerable support, we could not build our products and do what we do.
We have tiny victories everyday that keep us focused, inspired, and above all else - thankful for the community that makes this work possible. Click around to see some of the milestones that brought us joy and kept us focused in 2016.
Our programs are growing, our team is growing, and our community is growing. We've doubled our team, and released a new tool to law enforcement that is being used in 8 countries. We're building on our momentum - expanding our deterrence program, investing in our products and exploring new solutions for industry to help identify bad content sooner. We hope you'll join us as a digital defender, or apply to one of our open positions.
New companies are joining the fight and lending their talent to end child sexual exploitation online. MemSql is the newest company to stand up and offer their technology to support the identification of children and the shrinking of online abuse environments. If your company would like to join us, we’d love to hear from you.
We’re investing in building new technologies, like the Child Finder Service. This tool leverages existing facial recognition practices, and focuses on the specific difficulties of child abuse. Once live, this tool will better identify victims of online child sexual abuse, and significantly decrease the number of images that need to be reviewed before finding a match.
This year we’re headed to Washington, D.C. to educate policy makers on the nuances of this issue, and to advocate for investment in the innovation and technology to prevent it. Co-founder Ashton Kutcher kicked off the year speaking to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about the international aspect of the crime and the successes of this community. Watch his testimony.