Ashton Kutcher’s Nonprofit To Use Blockchain To Eliminate Online Child Sexual Abuse Material

Nonprofit organization Thorn has announced a new initiative to eliminate child sexual abuse material from the Internet using advanced technologies, such as blockchain.

Thorn, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, is dedicated to building technology to defend children from sexual abuse. The organization partners with nonprofits, law enforcement, and tech companies to understand the role technology plays in child sex trafficking, the creation and proliferation of child sexual abuse material and the normalization of child sexual exploitation. Its first software tool, Spotlight, is currently used by 9,000 law enforcement agents across all 50 US states and Canada.

As part of the new initiative, Thorn will build out product teams and create the only research and development team that will be 100% dedicated to new technologies to combat online child sexual abuse. Thorn will aim to stay ahead of perpetrators and focus on advanced technologies that either pose a threat in this space or can be leveraged to stop this abuse. Initial research areas include live-streaming, blockchain and cryptocurrency.

“The volume of child sexual abuse material on the Internet and the size of the population participating – has skyrocketed,” said Thorn CEO Julie Cordua. “Since 2004, there has been a 10,000% increase in sexual abuse files reported by technology companies. Unfortunately, child abuse content likely exists on the majority of platforms that accept user-generated content. To date there have been limited solutions offered to small and mid-sized companies to address this specific problem, making their platforms vulnerable to abusive content and behavior. Our product Safer provides a solution to help companies ensure their platforms are not enabling the viral spread of this abuse content.”

The initiative is being funded by the Audacious Project, which identifies and invests in global changemakers with the biggest, boldest, and most actionable ideas with the potential to affect millions of lives. Thorn is one of eight organizations to share in over $280 million of funding.

“The Internet has created an opportunity for mass distribution of images and videos of child sexual abuse, and the majority are very young children, often under 12,” said Kutcher. “This extraordinary amount of funding towards the elimination of child sexual abuse material from the Internet illustrates that investors and donors recognize this is a rapidly growing and dangerous issue that must be addressed.”

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