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30 NOV 2017

Goldman Sachs Engineers Take Part in Hackathon to Develop Technology to Combat Child Abuse

Engineers from Goldman Sachs joined more than 100 leaders in technology, data science, advertising and creative services to participate in the Thorn Institute hackathon on November 11 and 12 in New York. Co-founded by actor Ashton Kutcher, Thorn is a nonprofit that builds technology to defend children from sexual abuse and end human trafficking. 

The firm participated in the hackathon as part of a broader project led by Jo Hannaford, head of the Technology Division for EMEA, through which Goldman Sachs, Thorn and Digital Reasoning, a cognitive computer company, are seeking to build tools that can identify victims, deter abusive behavior and make online platforms safer for children. “The mission of Thorn is inspirational,” said Jo. “They save an ever increasing number of children from child abuse every year.”


Lisa Opoku (second from right), chief operating officer for
Engineering, attended the event.

The firm’s engineers leveraged innovative technologies to work on a number of challenges, and contributed skills across machine learning, vulnerability analysis, crawling, scraping, back-end infrastructure, front-end development and digital advertising. The result of the two-day hack was the creation of a working prototype of a system that companies can use to quickly review flagged child sexual abuse material. Thorn will continue to adapt and develop the prototype.

“It’s absolutely incredible to be able to apply the skills I use every day at work to develop software that helps defend children from sexual abuse,” said Khulan, an analyst in the Technology Division. “The hackathon was a testament to how much a group of brilliant people can accomplish when unified behind an important and meaningful cause.”