INHOPE | Implementing our Strategic Direction
Hotline & Network Updates

Implementing our Strategic Direction

Children's explicit right to protection from violence, abuse, and neglect, along with the mandate for states to prohibit child exploitation, underscores INHOPE & hotlines' commitment.

INHOPE hotlines address criminally illegal content on the internet. Internet-based illegal activities fall into two types: those handled by Law Enforcement Agencies and those prosecuted by various civilian bodies. As of December 2023, INHOPE now supports fifty-four member hotlines, operating on all continents with 240+ analysts. Governed by a diverse seven-member Board of elected hotline representatives who mirror this global network. The growth of the network has come with the need to redefine our united identity as a network as we think about the strengthening our public position on key emerging topics in the child protection space.

Steering this direction is a 2022 to 2025 strategic plan which we continue to implement that outlines precise goals and objectives, anticipating outcomes. This plan also enables the organisation to remain agile and adaptable in response to a swiftly evolving environment. The implementation of the strategic direction of INHOPE is measured against key targets set under the pillars: network expansion, strategic communication, capacity building, sustainability, technology & innovation and operational excellence.

Navigating Change: A Journey in Advocacy and Adaptation

In 2023, we focussed on two key aspects in support of the People and Technology direction. Firstly, we advocated against the European Union's proposal on scanning, and secondly, we adapted to changes in child sexual abuse material (CSAM) creation using Artificial Intelligence.

While the strategic course of the INHOPE Network is steady and we strive for consistency to ensure constant measurable growth, we know that change is constant, especially in addressing the complex issue of online child sexual abuse.

As a network we need to mature as we address the evolving nature of online CSA. The digital environment has severe consequences to protecting children online and is a crucial part of INHOPE's future actions. CSAM distribution is shifting, and we anticipate rapid changes in the global political, legal, and policy landscape, particularly in how governments and technology companies prioritise online safety. We welcome the European strategy and initiatives in other parts of the world to combat child sexual abuse, including legislation and regulation and the development of a European Centre.

In pursuit of our vision of a digital world free of CSAM, INHOPE is committed to working with stakeholders at both strategic and operational levels, leveraging our knowledge, infrastructure, multinational presence, and technical expertise to play a central role in anti-CSAM efforts. We strive for a strengthened and harmonised legislative and regulatory environment across the world – not forgetting our member’s national environment.

Key outcome of the 2023 Hotline Training Meetings:

  • The April Training Meeting: In anticipation of evolving global legislation and technological changes shaping online interactions, the April meeting in Malta aimed to equip the network for future challenges and enhance the CSAM reporting process's speed, efficacy, and accessibility. Sessions covered emerging technological threats, analyst welfare, network cooperation, hotline accessibility, reporting process enhancement, and advocacy for effective national CSAM legislation. Countries shared legislative terms and initiatives, emphasizing the need for unified action in legislative changes. Accessibility and advocacy remain key priorities for INHOPE, underscoring the importance of collaborative efforts within this global network.

  • The December Training Meeting: At December’s online meeting, participants shared their encounters with generative AI content, evaluating risks, engaging in mitigation discussions, and connecting with both law enforcement and industry stakeholders. This marks the initial phase of an ongoing conversation, recognising the escalating threat posed by growing levels of generative AI material. The network is committed to coming together to address this challenge collectively.

Our long-term vision is to maximise INHOPE's impact globally by increasing recognition and mandate for hotlines externally. While internally we continue sustained investment in our technical tool ICCAM (to continue to provide hotlines with a secure platform for the exchange of CSAM reports) and dealing with emerging threats (generative AI CSAM and non-consensual intimate image (NCII) abuse.

Future Alignment: A Strategic Refocus

The primary challenge facing INHOPE in the next five years encompasses strategic, technical, and demographic dimensions. The influence of decentralisation on INHOPE's notice and takedown model raises questions, especially considering that CSAM is spread across a network beyond the control of a single content or hosting service. To address the fact that nearly half the global population is not yet online, we explore the strategies we should employ.

“I foresee an INHOPE that achieves self-sustainability, experiences continuous growth, adapts to environmental changes, and establishes robust governance.” - Mashilo Boloka, INHOPE Board Member

As a forefront player in the global battle against online CSAM since 1999, our member hotlines are collectively processing millions of reports of online CSAM.

To support the removal of CSAM we must establish an enhanced framework for effective INHOPE governance, implement systems ensuring long-term stability and consistency across all association levels. A key aspect was to fortify INHOPE's governance model by updating the articles of association and defining organisational priorities that represent the network.

In order to continue INHOPE's People and Technology focus in the upcoming strategic period, we need to heighten engagement with member hotlines. The network exists to serve the members and establish a strategy that responds proactively to trends, ensuring a sustainable growth plan to reinforce a sense of purpose among member hotlines.

Key Priorities for the Future:

  1. Global Standard: the development of hotline operational and behavioural requirements as well as the means to ensure hotlines can meet those requirements, standards for companies who collaborate or partner with the network and finally network wide standards to support the survivors of CSA and CSAM.
  2. Guarantee interoperability of hotlines: the ongoing improvement of the ICCAM system to ensure hotline needs are met, increased functionality of ICCAM and engagement between hotlines and stakeholders.
  3. Capacity building and Peer-to-Peer Exchanges: supporting the development and growth of the community, improving expertise and access to expertise across the network, and facilitating regional growth by aligning support with the maturity level of the hotline.

Learn about the network and the work we do in our Annual Report 2023.

Implementing our Strategic Direction

Learn about the network and the work we do in our Annual Report 2023