From soup kitchens to strategic partnerships: the power of Cloudera Cares + Thorn


The employees of Cloudera Inc. founded Cloudera Cares three years ago, and it continues to be an employee-driven and -led effort. With its latest initiative, Cloudera Cares is collaborating with Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children to use the power of artificial intelligence and big data in the fight against child sexual exploitation.

“We’ve gone from soup kitchens to strategic partnerships,” said Alison Yu, social media manager at Cloudera. “We donate software and professional service hours … and it’s been very exciting to see our nonprofit partnerships grow in that way.”

Yu spoke to John Furrier (@furrier), co-host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, during the South by Southwest event in Austin, TX. They discussed how AI and hackathons work to eliminate sexual exploitation on the dark web. (*Disclosure below.)

Hacking the dark web

Yu explained that in the 1980s and 1990s, child exploitation was perceived to be on the decline, until the advent of the internet, and especially the dark web, which made it much easier for predators to contact and, potentially, exploit children.

“Technology, while it’s so great, [has] actually introduced new problems,” said Yu. The latest technology out there, including big data, cloud and machine learning, is finally gaining traction on helping with these types of issues.

In October 2016,  Cloudera Cares + Thorn hosted a hackathon at to Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the largest women in tech conference in North America. The result of their work there was the creation of innovative solutions to track trafficking on the dark web.

By applying data analytics, it is possible to sift through vast amounts of data and notice patterns of behavior, Yu explained. For example, if there is tool that can upload several angles of a child’s face to a website, it is then easier to cross-reference photos from Facebook or Instagram, identifying and locating them via geo-tagging.

Cloudera and Thorn will lead a panel discussion this weekend at SXSW, and Cloudera is also sponsoring a hackathon at its Austin office.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the South by SouthWest (SXSW). (*Disclosure: Intel sponsors some SXSW segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE. Neither Intel nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE