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The future of the Universal Classification Schema

In a landmark initiative to combat child sexual abuse material (CSAM) worldwide, the first year of the Global Standard project resulted in the the launch of the Universal Classification Schema. This innovative framework represents a significant step forward in standardising the classification of CSAM around the world, fostering collaboration, laying the foundation for more effective inter-jurisdictional data sharing, and enhancing child safety across borders..

What’s next for the Universal Classification Schema?

The future of the Schema is outlined in steps below that will chronologically be completed throughout the project's cycle.

  • Launch and Development
    Launched in March of 2023, the Universal Classification Schema is a result of global cooperation and incorporates a set of vetted labels and definitions that align with legal definitions of CSAM across jurisdictions. This standardised approach ensures consistency and comparability when assessing CSAM.

  • Integration with ICCAM
    By mid-2024, the Schema labels will be integrated into INHOPE’s ICCAM platform which will enable hotline analysts to annotate material using the Schema.

  • Training and Implementation
    A comprehensive training manual is currently in development, designed to guide users in applying Schema labels to CSAM effectively. Starting in mid-2024, this manual will be piloted during INHOPE's content assessment training, equipping analysts with the knowledge and tools needed to classify content in a uniform manner. This manual and the lessons learned from the first round of network training will be made available to approved stakeholders looking to use the Schema to assess and classify content.

  • Creation of a Comprehensive Dataset
    By the end of 2024, the culmination of these training and annotation efforts will result in a complete dataset comprising annotations that represent any possible combination of Schema labels. This dataset will serve as a foundational resource for hotlines, enabling them to categorize images based on their respective national legislation and establish a mapping of how country-specific laws align with the Universal Classification Schema within the INHOPE network.

  • Automated System for Legal Assessment
    Building upon this mapping, an automated system will be developed to assess the legality of content across the network automatically. When analysts label content according to the Schema, this system will provide real-time insights into the content's legality in all countries INHOPE operates in, streamlining the content removal process at scale and enhancing efficiency.

The Universal Classification Schema fosters unity, standardisation, and innovation, underscoring INHOPE and its partners’ collective commitment to protecting children and prosecuting offenders across borders. As we continue to advance this ground-breaking initiative, the Schema stands as a testament to what can be achieved through collaboration, dedication, and a shared vision for a better and safer online world for all.

Interested in playing a role in its future?

Request your copy of the Schema now.

The future of the Universal Classification Schema


A ground-breaking initiative in child protection online: request your copy of the Schema now.