Could SMS filtering remove the threats surrounding 'sexting'?

Opinion by draywood

A story that has been prominent on the BBC website today has been regarding the sensation of ‘sexts'.According to the younger members of the SC...

A story that has been prominent on the BBC website today has been regarding the sensation of ‘sexts'.According to the younger members of the SC team, this is when text messages are sent from one person to another, schoolchildren to be precise, where the message contains a sexually explicit photo or video of the sender.

The BBC report claimed that this is causing a problem with bullying, after private photos have been circulated and one in four 11 to 18-year-olds having received a ‘sext' by phone or email, according to charity Beatbullying.

Helen Penn, from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, told BBC News that police were becoming increasingly worried about ‘people losing control of these photos'. She said: "We are getting more reports of teenagers being bullied, called names and strung up in front of their whole school."

This situation, although undoubtedly disturbing for those who are the victims of bullying, does not lead itself directly to information security but there are ramifications for filtering from vendors.

This morning I received an announcement from iCritical who had launched a new tool as part of its core email security offering, which can identify, monitor and block pornographic images that are being distributed by email over client IT networks.

The iCritical Image Analyser enables an organisation to enforce an acceptable email use policy which includes restrictions on the use of company email resources to transmit and receive pornographic image content.

Chris Gee, director at iCritical, said: "It is a customisable solution, allowing users to define what they deem as acceptable and non-acceptable image content and it is available in either an enforcement mode or monitoring mode. This enables users to choose whether they wish to totally block delivery of suspect image content or copy suspect messages while allowing delivery to the intended recipient.

"Senior management teams in many organisations would be shocked to find out how frequently their networks are being used to carry indecent email images, yet ignorance is not an adequate defence against the potential legal, financial and operational consequences. The risks are just too great to ignore this common workplace issue."

If this sort of technology is available for email filtering of images, could SMS filtering be next? If so, it seems that the sexting problem could be eradicated for those who are not of an age to be sending and receiving such material.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Upcoming Events