Project Artimis is Microsoft’s project to tackle online grooming

The increase in online connectivity can unfortunately raise the risk of online child exploitation. As a leading technology company, Microsoft is taking further responsibility to tackle online grooming with Project Artemis.

Microsoft HQ
Microsoft has partnered with leading institutions to develop a new technique to combat online groomers. Photo: Coolcaesar via Wikimedia Commons

Important introduction

According to a press release, those behind the project have developed a technique that can help combat online groomers. These criminals will be detected, addressed and reported once the technology is implemented.

The tech giant has collaborated with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik, and Thorn to develop this software. All of these companies build or work with popular platforms that are often used by children and teenagers. However, groomers often target these areas to exploit. Therefore, these brands all have a duty to make sure that their audience is safe.

The foundations of the technique began in November 2018 at a 360 cross-industry Hackathon hosted by Microsoft. This event was co-sponsored by the WePROTECT Global Alliance and the Child Dignity Alliance to find ways to protect young people from cybercriminals.

Microsoft Hackathon
The development of this new procedure began in November 2018 at a tech industry Hackathon to combat child exploitation. Photo: Microsoft

What does it do?

Over the last 14 months, the technology has been furthered by a cross-industry v-team led by Dr. Hany Farid, an academic who previously helped with the development of PhotoDNA.

This is a technology that Microsoft developed with Dartmouth College to aid in finding and removing known images of child exploitation. This is now used by over 150 groups around the world to assist in detecting, disrupting and reporting millions of child exploitation images.

Artemis builds on this innovation to be implemented with historical text-based chat conversations. It evaluates conversations before assigning them a probability rating.

This rating can then be used to determine whether the conversation should be sent to human moderators to analyze further. Here, the moderators would then be able to determine any threats to authorities.

PhotoDNA
PhotoDNA creates a digital signature of a photo that is then compared against signatures of other images to find copies of the same photo. Photo: Microsoft

Potential for improvements

Microsoft has been implementing techniques such as this in its Xbox gaming service for many years. However, since yesterday, the licensing and adoption of Artemis are now handled by Thorn. If firms want to apply this technology, they can contact Thorn at [email protected]

Microsoft recognizes that this project isn’t the ultimate solution to combat exploitation. However, it hopes that it can be an important step towards countering it. With the tool being available for others to implement and experiment with, we will hopefully see further advancements with the technology sooner than later.

Microsoft’s software and hardware can be found in several forms across global organizations and household. Therefore, it is important that it implements initiatives to ensure a safe and secure environment for its users.

Recently, it revealed that over 44 million of its users still use leaked passwords. This highlights the important role that the company has within the world.

What are your thoughts on Project Artemis? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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