Row over privacy laws could undermine efforts to detect online child abuse in EU 

  • Global internet firms may be banned from automatically detecting child abuse images on their systems, due to a row over privacy laws within the European Union
  • These tech companies voluntarily assist police across the UK and Europe but face being forced to stop the work
  • Child safety experts say if the row is unresolved the law will inadvertently make it easier for abusers
  • The threat to the investigations has been triggered by attempts in the European Parliament to protect private online communications from monitoring by internet companies
  • The new rules, could prevent those same companies using software to automatically scan for child sexual abuse material going through their systems

Twitch bans the insult ‘Simp’

  • Twitch has banned streamers and commenters from calling one another “simps” 
  • The term, which is extremely popular in the Twitch community nominally refers to men who seem desperate for a woman’s attention 
  • The insult will be banned under Twitch’s upcoming revamp of its harassment policy
  • “Incel” and “virgin” will also be banned as insults, Twitch COO Sara Clemens said during a live-streamed town hall this afternoon
  • The new policy, first spotted by E-ports consultant Rod Breslau, will go into effect on January 22nd, and also includes stricter rules around sexual harassment and seems to give Twitch more leeway to ban streamers and commenters who make offensive comments
  • Changes come after Twitch was inundated with reports of sexual harassment within its community and complaints that the company had ignored the issue for years

Most child sexual abuse gangs made up of white men, Home Office report says

  • The majority of child sexual abuse gangs in the UK are made up of white men under the age of 30, an official Home Office paper has said, dispelling the myth of ‘Asian grooming gangs’ popularised by the far right
  • The report covers England, Scotland and Wales and summarises a range of studies on the issue of group-based child sexual exploitation (CSE)
  • High-profile cases including in Rotherham, Rochdale and Telford have involved groups of men of mainly Pakistani ethnicity, fuelling a perception that it is an “Asian problem”.
  • “Asian grooming gangs” have become a cause celebre for the far right, with a number of high-profile figures mounting campaigns across the country
  • The report said: “Research has found that group-based child sexual exploitation offenders are most commonly white. Some studies suggest an overrepresentation of black and Asian offenders relative to the demographics of national populations. However, it is not possible to conclude that this is representative of all group-based CSE offending”

School attendance rates have plummeted

  • School attendance plummeted after half-term in England, with rates as low as 77% in one region, official data reveals
  • The Department for Education statistics show how the spread of the coronavirus pandemic around the country has hit education in every region this term
  • The West Midlands, Yorkshire, and the North East took the biggest hit, before starting to recover in late November
  • Now, schools in London and the South East are on a downward trajectory