Disabled volunteers train as online ‘porn raters’

Object is to build vast database to develop programme that automatically blocks pornographic content

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2016, 3:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2016, 3:32pm

A cyber security group in China has been training disabled people as professional “porn raters” to identify obscene images online, the state broadcaster reports.

The Alliance for Internet Security Volunteers based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province has been building a database of obscene images to develop a programme that automatically blocks pornographic content, the state broadcaster CCTV reported.

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In need of manpower to put the images into different categories, the group started to work with the official China Disabled Persons’ Federation in 2013 to recruit the handicapped as porn-rating volunteers.

Zhao Kai, 34, who has a speech disorder, told reporters by typing on a computer that he rated about 5,000 pictures a day.

“The most difficult thing is to tell the difference between obscene and ‘sexy’ content,” Zhao was quoted as saying. “If it crosses this line, it is obscene; if not, it is sexy.”

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Zhao said the volunteers, most of whom had other full-time jobs, each spent five hours a day rating the pictures.

He said sitting in front of the computer was physically uncomfortable, but he was motivated to carry on.

“As a father, I have the responsibility to protect my daughter,” Zhao said. “I need to create a clean cyber environment for her.”

With more than 250 million pictures rated by 300 volunteers, the programme developed by the Alliance can now detect porn with a 20 per cent accuracy.

The group is affiliated with Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post.