Microsoft develops a tool that scans chats to prevent child abuse

In a bid to make internet safe for children, Redmond-based tech giant Microsoft has developed a tool that helps detect and report online predators that exploit children. The project is codenamed Project Artemis and the development of the project began back in November 2018 at a Microsoft “360 Cross-Industry Hackathon”.

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Since 2018, the company has collaborated with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik, and Thorn for developing the tool which evaluates and rates text conversations. The companies incorporating the tool can set a rating value limit, crossing which would flag the message and require human moderation.

This tool will significantly reduce the workload of human moderators. Qualified service companies can integrate this tool for free through Thorn, a nonprofit organization focused on building tools to protect children from sexual abuse.

Commenting on this, Courtney Gregoire, Microsoft’s Chief Digital Safety Officer said: “Project Artemis is a significant step forward, but it is by no means a panacea. Child sexual exploitation and abuse online and the detection of online child grooming are weighty problems. But we are not deterred by the complexity and intricacy of such issues. On the contrary, we are making the tool available at this point in time to invite further contributions and engagement from other technology companies and organizations with the goal of continuous improvement and refinement.”

The company claims that it has been using the tool to scan chats that might provoke sexual abuse on the Xbox platform and now Microsoft is also planning to implement the same on Skype.