Ashton Kutcher’s Nonprofit, Thorn, Aims to Eliminate Online Child Sexual Exploitation

Ashton Kutcher’s Nonprofit, Thorn, Aims to Eliminate Online Child Sexual Exploitation

Thorn, a nonprofit organization focused on building technology to defend children from sexual abuse, is planning to use advanced technologies, including blockchain, to eliminate child sexual abuse material from the internet.

Co-founded by Hollywood actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore in 2009, Thorn is one of eight organizations to share in over $280 million of funding through TED’s The Audacious Project, which funds critical projects with the potential to create global change.

"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 Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Thorn. "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."

On Thursday, Thorn announced its initiative to remove child sexual abuse content from the internet. Towards this goal, it has announced a number of measures including building and scaling its software, driving data collaborations, support and invest in critical global partnerships, focus on cutting-edge technologies and more.

Thorn said it will build out product teams and create the only research and development team that will be entirely 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, which are already emerging in this field,” it added.

Last year, Thorn launched Safer which offers a low-cost, scalable tool required for swift review, removal, and reporting of child sexual abuse material, and aims to end its viral distribution.

Thorn works closely with child protection organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), WePROTECT Global Alliance, Canadian Center for Child Protection, INHOPE, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and others who have worked tirelessly against child sexual abuse for decades.

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