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News article17 January 2022Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs

Five years of Project Arachnid

17 January 2022 marks five years since the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) launched Project Arachnid. This innovative tool detects known images of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the clear and dark web and issues removal notices to electronic service providers.

Since its launch in 2017, Project Arachnid has detected more than 42.7 million possible images of CSAM, leading to the removal of six million images and videos of child sexual exploitation and abuse from 1,000 electronic service providers spanning 100 countries worldwide.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) has publicly released a three-minute video, Unwanted Followers. The video tells the real stories and experiences of countless survivors whose child sexual abuse was recorded and distributed online. It highlights the need to break the cycle of victimisation for survivors, to which the work of Project Arachnid is an important contributor.

Survivors should not be left alone with the knowledge of the continued circulation of evidence of their suffering. Therefore, the removal of images and videos depicting their abuse is key. The Commission is planning to strengthen support for survivors of child sexual abuse, as part of a legislative proposal that will clearly define the responsibilities of online service providers, and ensure that the safety of children is given the appropriate priority. The proposal will make sure abuse does not remain undetected and that survivors are given the support they need.

One of the solutions taken into account is the establishment of an EU Centre to prevent and combat child sexual abuse, which would play a role in supporting survivors in their efforts to remove and prevent further circulation materials featuring them. It would also improve EU cooperation with other global players in the field. As shown by Project Arachnid, global cooperation is of utmost importance to successfully, combat this hideous crime.

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Publication date
17 January 2022
Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs