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Research & Innovation

Big protection for little people!

Privalino, a spin-off from Technische Universität Darmstadt, is at CeBIT 2017 in Hannover to show how cutting-edge technology can give children better protection against the dangers of online grooming.

19 Mar. 2017
University Darmstadt Privalino

Recent cases have shown only too clearly how little support, or even protection, people can expect in the public online world. Even the courts usually discharge portal operators of their duty to act when cases of discrimination are proven. And if that lack of support sounds worrying when you're talking about cases involving adults, then consider how much more in need of protection children are. Indeed, children are subjected to very carefully orchestrated attacks in the virtual world. Groomers deliberately target children in online chats and try to win their trust by any and all means. If they succeed in that, it doesn’t take long before they can access private information and photos and, in the worst-case scenario, even arrange meetings in person. Whether instant messenger, social media or - as has been happening more and more recently - online games, none of the well-known platforms seem to be immune. So far, several thousand such offences have been coming to light each year, but experts fear that millions of cases are going unreported. Things have to change. Privalino, a spin-off from TU Darmstadt, has a solution and is exhibiting at CeBIT 2017 in Hannover to show how cutting-edge technology can give our children better protection.

Previous attempts to use software to keep children safe from online grooming have failed primarily because the groomers have adapted their writing style to that of their targets. Privalino is a child protection software that can be integrated into a whole range of platforms as software-as-a-service. Privalino uses intelligent algorithms to analyze the writing style of a child's chat partner, extracting thousands of linguistic features. Based on these features, Privalino is able to identify and accurately classify typical cyber grooming patterns. Simultaneously taking into account numerous linguistic features makes grooming attempts virtually impossible. Once Privalino has identified a threat from a potential groomer, it doesn't just warn the child affected, but also notifies the parents or the chat admins, who can take action and block the chat partner in question. Privalino can thus play a big part in making online chats safer for children.