The New York Times is out with an investigation that we wanted to spotlight as a piece of standout journalism. It’s a deep dive into the disturbing explosion of pictures online of children being sexually abused.
Reporters Michael H. Kelly and Gabriel J.X. Dance write:
An investigation by The New York Times found an insatiable criminal underworld that had exploited the flawed and insufficient efforts to contain it. As with hate speech and terrorist propaganda, many tech companies failed to adequately police sexual abuse imagery on their platforms, or failed to cooperate sufficiently with the authorities when they found it.
Law enforcement agencies devoted to the problem were left understaffed and underfunded, even as they were asked to handle far larger caseloads.
The report points out that instead of trying to crack down on this horrific epidemic, many people just choose to look the other way:
Some state lawmakers, judges and members of Congress have refused to discuss the problem in detail, or have avoided attending meetings and hearings when it was on the agenda, according to interviews with law enforcement officials and victims.
In some cases, a lack of resources also means investigations go nowhere:
The Justice Department, given a major role by Congress, neglected even to write mandatory monitoring reports, nor did it appoint a senior executive-level official to lead a crackdown. And the group tasked with serving as a federal clearinghouse for the imagery — the go-between for the tech companies and the authorities — was ill equipped for the expanding demands.
If you have some time the full report is worth a read.