Billionaire Xavier Niel’s Telecom Giant Free Hosted 48% Of Child Sex

Free, the French telecom giant that is majority owned by billionaire Xavier Niel, is not doing enough to tackle child sexual abuse imagery on its servers, according to The Canadian Centre for Child Protection. The nonprofit group alleges that nearly…

Billionaire Xavier Niel’s Telecom Giant Free Hosted 48% Of Child Sex

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Free, the French telecom giant that is majority owned by billionaire Xavier Niel, is not doing enough to tackle child sexual abuse imagery on its servers, according to The Canadian Centre for Child Protection. The nonprofit group alleges that nearly half of the Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) discovered during a two-year investigation it conducted was “physically hosted” and downloaded using Free’s telecom services. The research report, released Wednesday, looked at the availability of child sexual abuse material and the role of electronic service providers in spreading it, and found that Free was used by those “hosting and sharing” around 1.1 million images or video files of alleged CSAM or harmful-abusive content between 2018 and 2020. In the report, titled Project Arachnid, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection says that those intent on distributing CSAM “have taken advantage of Free’s hosting service to anonymously store media online, and then disseminate the direct download link on forums across the internet.”There is no indication at this time that Free or majority owner Xavier Niel who holds over 70% of parent group Iliad were aware of the issue. Xavier Niel and Iliad have not offered a response to the allegations, or answered Forbes’ questions after having been alerted to the report this morning. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection has taken on the battle to remove CSAM from the internet by specifically targeting the web service infrastructure onto which it is uploaded, using a web platform designed to detect known images and immediately issue removal notices to electronic service providers (ESPs). Project Arachnid does not claim to have uncovered the total universe of CSAM on the internet. The search uses ‘web crawlers’ or bots, similar to small search engines, to access content located at URLs on the clear and dark web. When images are found they are compared to a database of previously verified media. If the system detects a match–a recognized CSAM image–a takedown notice is automatically sent requesting its removal. Over the past two years, the system has found more than 5.4 million CSAM images. However, it’s slow progress and the group is facing a backlog of more than 32.5 million suspect media that have yet to be assessed. The report points to Free, which is publicly traded through parent group Iliad on the Euronext Paris, as the “single” internet provider responsible for “a very significant volume” of child abuse imagery, and one that is not doing enough to address the wider issue. The report adds that, during its investigation, 48% of all child abuse imagery media found during the two years of its investigation (images and videos) are  both “linked” and physically hosted on Free’s file hosting service.

All data is taken from the source: http://forbes.com
Article Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddawkins/2021/06/09/billionaire-xavier-niels-telecom-giant-free-hosted-48-of-child-sex-abuse-imagery-found-during-two-year-investigation-says-nonprofit-group/

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