Happenings Canadian Centre for Child Protection uploading and self reporting CP on SauceNao

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Hibiki

varishangout.com
Regular
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection @CdnChildProtect seems to be uploading images of real child sexual abuse to the anime reverse image search site SauceNAO , a tool widely used in image boards to find the original source/artist of either an artwork or a screenshot from an anime episode, a tool that I use pretty much every day.
SauceNAO owner tried to contact the Child Protection center by e-mail to try to get them to stop, but he didn't get a response so he had no choice but to tweet it, since the continuous reports they are getting might end up getting them kicked from their Web Host.

Tweet||Archive
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Due to Canadian law 2d loli is considered to be the same as real images of child abuse, at first I thought it was about hentai images being reported by them, but according to saucenao owner it seems to be about images of real children

All of these reports seems to be coming from poorly programmed bots without much (if any) human intervention at all.
I sent a DM to the owner of SauceNAO asking for more details about the situation.

According to him around last week @CdnChildProtect started following search links around the Web, SauceNAO gets built In into a lot of sites such as ImageBoards like 4chan and archive sites for said ImageBoards, mostly to make it easy to find the source of anime artworks/screenshots

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The issue with this is it can be used to search any image, that includes unlawful images of child abuse that were uploaded to the site and then saved by the archive site, and if someone clicks that SauceNao button it will automatically upload said images to SauceNAO, either by a person or a bot. The image gets uploaded to SauceNAO server but it gets automatically deleted after a few minutes, but these few minutes are enough for the @CdnChildProtect bot to report the images to SauceNao host, causing them a big issue.
The first day they got a lot of reports forwarded by their host, so they had no choice but to disable some parts of the SauceNAO service to stop the reports, specifically the user query display image (it shows you which image you uploaded). After they disabled it they kept getting images uploaded by the bot clicking links, but since they didn't show the images anymore the reports stopped.
SauceNAO owner kept trying to get in contact with @CdnChildProtect via e-mail but he still got no response, the query display image disabled since it's a very important part of their website and they can't simply keep it disabled forever. They tried enabling it again a few days ago but as soon as they did they started getting reports again.

Due to the significant threat this poses to their website and company Xamayon (the owner of SauceNAO) had no choice but to make this tweet with the hope they will be reached by @CdnChildProtect to solve this issue.
If you want to help please try to share this article around so we can gather enough attention from them to notice.

Update: they got a response from @CdnChildProtect


Update 2: this was SauceNAO's owner response
Also I made a short video explaining the situation




Update 3: A blog posted by SauceNAO owner.



Original||Archive

Recent Events...


This post will hopefully make the situation a bit clearer for everyone. Most of this info has been posted in one place or another already, but I will attempt to consolidate the important bits as I recall them. I have effectively zero visibility into the operation of cybertip.ca or Project Arachnid (their crawler), so this is based on what I can tell from my end. I have not used this blog in many years, but it's the easiest way I can publish this info now.

To start with, I do not believe they are acting maliciously, and they do not seem to be intentionally using the site to search for images. They are just following links. Dangerous links which spread CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material), links which they should be smart enough not to follow, but ultimately, still, just following links. From what I understand, these links primarily come from image boards and such which helpfully add them next to all posted images. This is great for users, as the links allow for quick and easy source lookups of interesting images as you come across them:


The current situation started in the afternoon on the 31st of March when our host received the first CSAM notification and promptly sent it over to us for review. At the time, I was traveling, and not online as often as usual so the report went unnoticed. Around the same time, the host of iqdb.org - another anime reverse image search engine - also started receiving similar notices. Likewise, they forwarded them to the site's operator, but unfortunately the emails wound up in spam and were not immediately noticed. More reports continued coming in over the course of the afternoon and night. I finally noticed them in my email when I came back online later that night.


The view of my inbox was seriously distressing, full of notifications from cybertip and our colocation host. I was more than a bit freaked out, wondering what could possibly be going so wrong for me to have an inbox full of CSAM alerts. I was also very concerned that our host would suddenly pull the plug. It had been several hours after all, and the wording of the notices is highly alarming. I needed to act fast. Looking at the reports, I was somewhat relieved to see they were reports of /userdata images. Those images are temporary files associated with, and created for the searches performed in response to the links the crawler accessed. They're also all long gone by now, having been automatically deleted only minutes after creation.

I was far from sure that our colocation host would recognize that distinction on their own though! The clock was ticking, I quickly purged all query image caches, etc, just to be sure, and responded to the many tickets as fast as possible. Mostly the same explanation to each, but luckily SauceNAO's host seems to have understood the situation. I did not receive a response on the tickets, but the site stayed online. Simultaneously, I attempted to contact cybertip directly in response to the notices explaining what their bot was doing wrong, and how it was directly spreading the material. No response.

After the initial tickets were dealt with, I sent a heads up to the group of anime site operators I interact with frequently, including the operator of iqdb. It was getting fairly late though, so most had already gone AFK for the night. The notices kept coming, so I took the emergency action of disabling the search query image, as that is what all the reports were reporting.
The reports immediately stopped, though cybertip continued to search for bad images, causing them to be uploaded to our servers. Once the image they were uploading was no longer being displayed on the page, there was no longer anything to report...

The next morning, after some pretty terrible sleep, I awoke to the news that iqdb.org was down. Taken down by their host, in response to the abuse notifications sent by cybertip. Abuse notifications they should actually have been sending to themselves.
Luckily, SauceNAO was still online. If I had not noticed the night before, we would probably also have been taken down, with potentially damaging effects to our servers, data, and reputation. Later that day, iqdb was brought back online when its operator was able to respond to the abuse reports, but it could have been so much worse.

Several days later, once I was back home, I started to see many users wondering about the search query image being missing. A few even asked me directly about it, so it was obviously starting to be a problem.
The search query image makes it clear that the image was acquired successfully, is properly formatted, aligned, etc. Clicking on the search query image also allows editing the image to remove borders or search for just a portion of an image to improve result accuracy. It's a very important feature, and everyone was missing it badly. Reluctantly, I re-enabled the search query images, hoping for the best...
It took a few hours, but the notices started flowing again. More reports for the images being searched for, the same images being created at the direction of the crawler which then reports them. In frustration, having heard nothing from cybertip I attempted to contact them again. Shortly after, I posted a pointed message to Twitter, publicly calling them out on their crawler's bad behavior.


By the next afternoon, the tweet was getting a lot of attention. I don't know if it was solely in response to the attention from that tweet, but they finally responded to my initial email. Around the same time, they replied on twitter with a complete denial.

Via email, I attempted to explain what was wrong and suggested several options for fixing it, but they seem to think their crawler's behavior is completely okay. Consequences be damned, no apparent care for how the modern internet operates.
One good thing did come out of that email communication though, they agreed to notify us directly in the future rather than through our host. This dramatically reduces the chance our host will suddenly decide to drop us as a customer, or take our servers offline.

Shortly after, I replied to their reply on Twitter.

Mostly silence since, and their crawler has continued trying to search for what they call CSAM on our site. In response, we disabled searches from AWS, on which their badly behaved crawler is hosted.

While blocking them from searching for abuse material on SauceNAO improves the situation for us, it does not change the fact that their bot is actually spreading the material they claim to be trying to remove from the internet. In my view, it's even worse now since they know what is happening and have promised no action to address the problem.
There are many other services, including big names like Google, Bing, and Yandex, which allow uploading or acting on an image using just an image link embedded in a url. Each and every one of these is in effect being attacked by the Project Arachnid bot with illegal requests directing their servers to access and in some cases host illegal images. The giants may have the resources to shrug this off, but smaller players like us are being severely impacted by Project Arachnid's misuse of our services.

I am still attempting to work with them, hopefully something positive will come of all this.

Update 4: idqb is now down too because of them
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Update 5: Now ascii2d is down too, it's still not working for me
Archive
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Scornful Gaze

varishangout.com
Regular
Patron of the Forums
Can you believe that governments the world over believe that bot moderation is a panacea to pervasive child porn problems? Your taxpayer dollars at work!
 

Cayhr

varishangout.com
Artist
Regular
So if I'm understanding this correctly, the timeframe where the Cdn bot reports the actual cheese pizza can then actually get SauceNAO to be affiliated with cheese pizza, and thus legal trouble?

If so, the lack of response sounds like one of two situations:
  1. Negligent/naive usage to try and track cheese pizza uploads, and Cdn is just unaware that bot is doing what it's doing.
  2. Malicious intent to incriminate SauceNAO, and the current situation is just a little testing/scouting/probing. The no response is just avoiding confrontation.
So far it sounds like the former, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter. Anime is evil, after all. Hell, maybe the Cdn is just trying to hoard all the cheese pizza to themselves.
 

Hibiki

varishangout.com
Regular
So if I'm understanding this correctly, the timeframe where the Cdn bot reports the actual cheese pizza can then actually get SauceNAO to be affiliated with cheese pizza, and thus legal trouble?

If so, the lack of response sounds like one of two situations:
  1. Negligent/naive usage to try and track cheese pizza uploads, and Cdn is just unaware that bot is doing what it's doing.
  2. Malicious intent to incriminate SauceNAO, and the current situation is just a little testing/scouting/probing. The no response is just avoiding confrontation.
So far it sounds like the former, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter. Anime is evil, after all. Hell, maybe the Cdn is just trying to hoard all the cheese pizza to themselves.
Seems to be the bot fucking up, this is why you don't trust machines.
 

Cayhr

varishangout.com
Artist
Regular
Seems to be the bot fucking up, this is why you don't trust machines.
Maybe. Perhaps I am too cynical, but I have so little trust in any government/corporate/organizational entities nowadays that I almost always have the flow chart leading down to malicious intent when all other cases are exhausted. If it is the bot just messing up, then hopefully it gets resolved quickly. But, like I said before, if they were actually trying to plant CP into SauceNAO to incriminate it, I would not be surprised at all.
 

Augustus

varishangout.com
There's no way what that “charity” is doing is legal, even in Shitada. Hopefully the people behind this gets arrested.
 

RikkaNoodles

varishangout.com
Patron of the Forums
So, serious question. I don't know a lot about law, but is it possible to sue this organization if they refuse to fix it? Based on the total lack of communication and their "response" pretty much accusing Xam of bullshitting, its clear they don't care enough to fix the problem, so someone there needs to be forced to. But I'm retarded about the law so I don't know if it'd make it to court or not
 

Augustus

varishangout.com
So, serious question. I don't know a lot about law, but is it possible to sue this organization if they refuse to fix it? Based on the total lack of communication and their "response" pretty much accusing Xam of bullshitting, its clear they don't care enough to fix the problem, so someone there needs to be forced to. But I'm retarded about the law so I don't know if it'd make it to court or not
Ik you'd be able to sue a charity like that in the US but I'm not sure about Canada. Additionally it's a lot of time and money to sue someone that SauceNAO probably doesn't have.
 

Mandrake

varishangout.com
I guess they tried to block the IP ranges used by the bot to no avail?
Also, the answer the agency has given doesn't solve the problem: their bot fucked up, but they don't seem to have answered that part...
 

immahnoob

varishangout.com
Regular
Patron of the Forums
Incompetence looks a lot like malintent.
They're simply retarded, they're relying on a shitty bot to do their jobs.
 

Grönsak

varishangout.com
This is almost as disgusting as when the Australian government hosted a cp site on DN to catch pedos.
 

Halo

varishangout.com
Regular
This is almost as disgusting as when the Australian government hosted a cp site on DN to catch pedos.
thats pretty common place. Pretty sure most world governments host a honeypot to catch people trying to get (actually I think the focus is on the people who make it not consume it, don't quote me) CP lol.
God knows how many sites the FBI has siezed and use it to get info of common uploaders & producers.
 

Grönsak

varishangout.com
thats pretty common place. Pretty sure most world governments host a honeypot to catch people trying to get (actually I think the focus is on the people who make it not consume it, don't quote me) CP lol.
God knows how many sites the FBI has siezed and use it to get info of common uploaders & producers.
Well what made them stand out was that they hosted it for months and uploaded new content meaning they actively participate in spreading cp. The Idé here is the same but not as cruel. And it proves that the main goal is not to protect children.
 

Porkslope

varishangout.com
Just wanted to weigh in since I'm a leaf so I can comment on Canadian bureaucratic laziness.
This is either,
a) Standard practice for an office like this which'll have a quota of abusive content to report, with no regard for the image domain's standing.
b) A rogue "child protection analyst" is doing this to beef up their own numbers or because they're lazy and want to spend the rest of the work day goofing off.

If I were in charge of Saucenao, I'd contact their media contact number directly and; failing that, get in touch with the federal government's offices in Winnipeg. After that, go to the media in Winnipeg.
 

Grönsak

varishangout.com
Just wanted to weigh in since I'm a leaf so I can comment on Canadian bureaucratic laziness.
This is either,
a) Standard practice for an office like this which'll have a quota of abusive content to report, with no regard for the image domain's standing.
b) A rogue "child protection analyst" is doing this to beef up their own numbers or because they're lazy and want to spend the rest of the work day goofing off.

If I were in charge of Saucenao, I'd contact their media contact number directly and; failing that, get in touch with the federal government's offices in Winnipeg. After that, go to the media in Winnipeg.
This further proves my point. It have nothing to do with protecting children its all about getting nice statistics. :senko-disgust:
 

Mandrake

varishangout.com
This further proves my point. It have nothing to do with protecting children its all about getting nice statistics. :senko-disgust:
That's how any government agency works. Have you ever heard of an agency telling you "Nope, no problem this year, we can close down" ?
They will even invent stuff to justify their own existence and grow instead. Usually by broadening their mission to pettier and pettier crimes.
 
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