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PrevBot (Politihøgskolen et al.)

Online police patrols in the form of digital robots to detect and prevent possible abuse of children. Is that the way to go in an attempt to stop what in our digital world has grown into a public health problem?

PrevBOT is a collaboration between the Norwegian Police Academy and the University of Agder. It is a concept for a tool for patrolling open social media, with the aim of preventing sexual abuse against children. The AI-based bot must be able to identify behavior that indicates a risk of sexual abuse, and it must be able to point out social arenas that are worth paying extra attention to. It must be able to identify grooming conversations via language analysis, and it must be able to predict the age and gender of those involved.

Foto Inger Marie Sunde.jpg- The project is groundbreaking work, where we lack good examples to rely on. It involves law enforcement and is sensitive in many ways. Being allowed to explore the project in the sandbox is, in practice, probably a do-or-die for the project, says Inger Marie Sunde, professor at the research department at the Norwegian Police Academy.

The overall purpose is to prevent sexual abuse of children. But is it possible to achieve with PrevBOT within current laws and ethical guidelines? Is it technologically possible to make the bot patrol with sufficient precision? And will it require a debate about how we should and want to use new technology? This sandbox project will try to answer the first two questions. The third might enter the agenda as the exit report is ready to be published.