Microsoft announced a grooming detection technique, code name “Project Artemis,” by which online predators attempting to lure children for sexual purposes can be detected, addressed and reported.
Developed in collaboration with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn, this technique builds off Microsoft patented technology and will be made freely available via Thorn to qualified online service companies that offer a chat function. Thorn is a technology nonprofit that builds technology to defend children from sexual abuse.
Building off the Microsoft patent, the technique is applied to historical text-based chat conversations. It evaluates and “rates” conversation characteristics and assigns an overall probability rating. This rating can then be used as a determiner, set by individual companies implementing the technique, as to when a flagged conversation should be sent to human moderators for review. Human moderators would then be capable of identifying imminent threats for referral to law enforcement, as well as incidents of suspected child sexual exploitation to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Beginning on January 10, 2020, licensing and adoption of the technique will be handled by Thorn. Companies and services wanting to test and adopt the technique can contact Thorn directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Microsoft has been leveraging the technique in programs on our Xbox platform for several years and is exploring its use in chat services, including Skype.