The definition of thorn as found in Webster’s Dictionary is, “anything that keeps troubling, vexing, or irritating one, like a constantly pricking thorn: usually in the phrase thorn in one’s side.” Ashton Kutcher has created a Thorn that will pierce the heart of a very particular enemy. That Thorn is an organization that focuses on technology as its major weapon in fighting “child sexual exploitation”.
Here is how Thorn describes themselves: “We are digital defenders of children (formerly the Demi & Ashton Foundation). We aim to disrupt and deflate the predatory behavior of those who abuse and traffic children, solicit sex with children, or create and share child pornography. Thorn partners with nonprofits and academic institutions to gather new insights into the role technology plays in child sex trafficking, the creation and proliferation of child pornography, and the normalization of child sexual exploitation. We create and support tech initiatives that disrupt predatory behavior and work to make the internet a more hostile environment for those who seek to exploit children, recruiting the brightest minds in technology to solve specific problems.”
Since Thorns creation, some of the biggest technology companies have joined Kutcher on the battlefield of the web. In the past most of Thorns technology needs were outsourced. However, recently, Thorn went public with details about its expansion and the creation of their own tech lab. With the opening of this new lab Thorn now employs its own experts in technology. Now they will be able to increase their ability to accelerate their multi-platform efforts to fight this epidemic.
The following is Thorn’s official announcement taken from their website: “The core mission of our work at Thorn revolves around using innovative technology to end the sexual exploitation of children. That’s why today we’re very proud to announce the launch of the Innovation Lab — a new think tank in San Francisco that will gather a team of engineers and data scientists to develop partnerships and create proactive tools to stop the sexual abuse of children. The journey of the Innovation Lab started in October 2014, when we announced the Innovation Lab Fellowships to offer one-year fellowships for talented, passionate individuals with technical expertise. The launch of the Innovation Lab think tank is a natural next step in our commitment to make the internet a more hostile environment for child predators.”
Why Is The Lab at Thorn Important?
The “dark web” is a part of the internet where entities operate in an almost untraceable manner. Unfortunately, this anonymity allows persons and organizations, like those who prey upon children, to function without discovering their identities or locations. Having an entity solely dedicated to fighting those who sexually harm children on their own turf is mind-blowing! If Thorn can stand true to its mission without impedance of vested interest by any of its supporters then this can be a game changer. Let’s look at this from a couple of different perspectives. If you are a gamer then think about sitting down to an opponent and all of his skills, strategies, and backdoors are laid out in front of you. If you are a researcher then think of this as looking under the microscope and instead of a mere specimen you see the coding of the specimen’s origins and potential antigens written out for you. As the situation now stands there are not enough funds or personnel to fight the massive, profitable electronic epidemic that facilitates the sexual exploitation of our children. In addition, those limited funds and personnel can be further restricted when their sole source of funding relies on Government and special interest. Thorn appears to operate with multiple partnerships. Therefore, it is my hope that Kutcher and his people will keep a close eye on their project, sources, and resources to ensure Thorn’s vision remains true to its origin as they continue to hone the cutting edge in this particular form of crime fighting.
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