Investigating Malware Epidemiology and Child Exploitation Using Algorithmic Ethnography

Watters, Paul
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A number of recent studies have investigated the role that advertising plays in funding and sustaining piracy sites. In this study, the composition of advertising on piracy websites hosting Child Exploitation Material (CEM) in Brazil was analysed, measuring both mainstream and "high-risk" ads1 using samples generated from the most-complained about sites, as well as the most popular sites, using algorithmic ethnography. The results indicated that high-risk ads pose significant problems for Brazilian users, especially children, who may be harmed by exposure to ads promoting the sex industry, gambling, scams and malware. Links between Brazil-focused piracy websites and CEM are documented. Policy options for dealing with this issue are discussed. CEM poses a threat not only to the children depicted in it but also to children who might be exposed to it. Indeed, any viewer who is exposed to CEM may experience adverse psychological and behavioral consequences.
The Dark Side of Information Technology, Algorithmic ethnography, child exploitation, online advertising, piracy, cybersecurity
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