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Crime Stoppers underfire after signing security deal with adult site PornHub

Ben Harvey
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Crime Stoppers is under fire over a commercial contract it recently signed with the world’s biggest porn site PornHub.
Crime Stoppers is under fire over a commercial contract it recently signed with the world’s biggest porn site PornHub. Credit: DMegias /stock.adobe.com

Crime Stoppers is under fire over a commercial contract it recently signed with the world’s biggest porn site.

South Australia Police has suspended its relationship with Crime Stoppers after it emerged the anonymous reporting platform had done a security deal with AYLO, the company behind leading adult sites Pornhub, Brazzers and Reality Kings.

Crime Stoppers International was this year approached by AYLO to conduct a “trust and safety review” of the online giant’s sites.

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Crime Stoppers CEO Dr Vince Hughes.
Crime Stoppers CEO Dr Vince Hughes. Credit: Jamie Thannoo

It is understood that AYLO’s private equity owner, Ethical Capital Partners, had grown increasingly concerned its platforms were unwittingly hosting child abuse content and footage resulting from sexual slavery.

CSI delegates from around the world, including Australia, were nervous about the public fallout from the deal, but the decision was made to proceed after proponents argued it would ensure better protection of people being abused.

It is understood most delegates came to the conclusion it was better to engage with the porn giant, with the view to changing its internal systems to reduce the chance of child exploitation.

That reasoning did not wash with SA Police, which on Tuesday night confirmed it had put its relationship with Crime Stoppers on ice.

“South Australia Police is aware of the recent partnership between Crime Stoppers International and Ethical Capital Partners and has sought further information from Crime Stoppers South Australia (CSSA),” an SA Police spokesperson said.

“As an interim step, SAPOL has suspended involvement in current activities with CSSA pending the receipt of further advice.”

The spokesperson stressed that the 1800 333 000 number and the online site remained open for people to report the crimes.

Crime Stoppers Australia was blindsided by the decision from Adelaide and is bracing for more fallout.

Crime Stoppers International director Vince Hughes, who is chief executive of Crime Stoppers WA, said the contract was “focused on conducting a trust and safety review, aimed at strengthening policies against non-consensual content and enhancing age verification processes on digital platforms to protect children and women”.

“This effort is crucial in creating safer online environments, especially for women and other vulnerable groups who face significant risks of exploitation and victimisation,” Mr Hughes said.

“This is part of a broader issue where women, among others, navigate online work environments across various digital spaces — social media, dating platforms, and adult sites—where exploitation and victimisation are sadly prevalent.

“Our role, endorsed by the Internet Watch Foundation, is to help mitigate these risks and close the gaps that allow such illegal activities to proliferate.”

Canadian media reported in February that Ottawa-headquartered Ethical Capital Partners had engaged Crime Stoppers International to “provide internet tipsters with an anonymous place to report suspect material, to review Aylo’s phalanx of online trust and safety measures, and to share the company’s technology with its police partners”.

The Ottawa Citizen quoted CSI chief executive Shane Britten, an Australian, as saying his organisation and AYLO were seeing “eye-to-eye” on the need for action.

“It’s all about how we can make the internet safer for people . . . we’re looking for anything that can be a force multiplier for police,” Mr Britten was quoted as saying.

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