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Tiscali Introduces Anti-Grooming Child Protection Tool
By: MarkJ - 04 February, 2008 (2:13 PM)

Tiscali has today announced a new partnership with online safety experts, Crisp, to offer its customers a unique technology that identifies dangerous online relationships:

Crisp’s software is the only technology of its kind in the world and surpasses existing child protection programmes that operate website-locking, blocking and word filters. The technology analyses the content of online conversations to indentify inappropriate relationships that are initiated by predators wanting to groom, and potentially abuse, children.

Available from March 2008 as a download from http://www.tiscali.co.uk/protection, through a subscription of £3.50 a month or £42 a year, the software makes parents aware of inappropriate relationships in their child’s instant messaging conversations.

Independently tested by Cambridge University researchers to be 98.4% effective in identifying inappropriate relationships, the technology detects grooming by recognising the ways abusers behave.

It analyses how they manipulate online relationships, what they say and how they say it. It also looks at sexual content, punctuation, aggression levels and sentence length, typing speed and vocabulary. Crisp compares all these elements with dynamic, minutely-detailed profiles of real-life groomers and genuine children of a variety of ages. The technology is also continually learning becoming more robust the more conversations it analyses. This allows it to continually refresh its live database of online chat vocabulary and language styles.

When Crisp detects a potential grooming conversation, it will alert parents by email or text message. However, only the parts of conversations Crisp identifies as potentially dangerous can be seen by parents, which protect young people’s privacy.

It's a clever technology but does this risk prying too far into a child’s private life? Many may recall from their own more youthful days that conversations held between friends were rarely those you’d desire your parents to snoop in on :) .

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