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December 21, 2022 | News

Securium works with United Nations to protect children online

Securium works with United Nations to protect children online

SETsquared Surrey company Securium is proud to be a member of the AI for Safer Children Initiative and has recently attended the first community meeting of the Global AI Hub designed within the Initiative. The Global Hub was launched in September 2022, supported by Securium and a range of technology partners, and is used by more than 150 law enforcement agents from 51 UN Member States.

Securium, a ‘tech for good’ company was created to address the societal, economic and technical challenges of online harm. The company provides online safety technologies to protect businesses and vulnerable individuals online, with a focus on children.

The AI for Safer Children Initiative was originally set up by the United Nations interregional crime and justice research unit (UNICRI) in 2020. The unit has a specialist centre for AI and Robotics and is working to use technological solutions, and specifically AI, to tackle child sexual exploitation and abuse online.

According to UNICEF, one in five girls and one in thirteen boys globally have been sexually exploited or abused by the age of 18. Online interactions feature in some form in almost all cases of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Dr Anna Vartapetiance, co-founder and director of Securium says that the situation worsened during COVID. It has been reported that child sexual abuse doubled during this time with 8.8 million attempts to access Child Sexual Abuse Materials (CSAM) in one month of lockdown in UK. 44% of this material is self-generated in homes and it is estimated that child sexual abuse costs the NHS over £3.2 billion per year.

The UN strives to support law enforcement agencies to tap into the potential of AI to protect children and has designed the AI for Safer Children Global Hub. The hub is supported by Securium, one of a range of technology partners involved in the initiative.

Irakli Beridze, Head of the Centre for AI and Robotics at United Nations UNICRI describes the AI for Safer Children Global Hub as a unique centralised platform for law enforcement agencies accessible via a secure log-in, containing knowledge and resources on AI and specific AI tools for combatting online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The global hub seeks to foster a community of practical use for AI to prevent, detect and prosecute online child sexual exploitation and abuse. More specifically, the global hub, supported by Securium and other technology providers, includes an AI tools catalogue, learning centre and a networking centre. This provides law enforcement users with information on the range of AI tools that currently exist and how they can identify potential tools that meet their specific needs. Agents can learn more about leveraging AI to rescue children faster, studying investigation techniques to improve their workflow and methods to safeguard their mental wellbeing. The hub enables greater communication and networking, providing a law enforcement community approach to using AI for combatting online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

In addition to joining the AI for Safer Children Initiative, there have been many highlights for Anna and important recognition for the work of Securium in 2022, including the achievement of a Women in Innovation award and a Surrey 40 under 40 accreditation. There is much in store for 2023. Anna says,

“We were recently part of Innovate UK Edges, the Global Business Innovation Programme for AI in Canada and we are now building relationships both with the private and public sectors for future partnerships and expansion. We are raising £1m investment (under EIS) to enable this, 35% of which is already secured. Two other SETsquared Surrey companies are also a part of this group, Combine AI and Direk.”

Image: Meeting of the technology providers for the Global Hub of the £AI4 Safer Children Initiative. Twitter @AISaferChildren

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