Research, Technology & engineering

Activism 2.0: Coding against sex trafficking

By Public Affairs

(UC Berkeley video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally)

In the wrong hands, advancements in technology and the digital world can be lethal weapons. In the right hands, they can be used to solve pressing problems. Activism 2.0, our ongoing video series, explores the intersection of social activism and technology and how students and alumni at UC Berkeley are using digital tools to tackle social issues. In this video, the third in the series, recent Berkeley doctoral graduate Rebecca Sorla Portnoff uses her computer security know-how to help catch sex traffickers. She creates computer codes that help identify similarities in traffickers’ online ads and find the Bitcoin accounts they use to buy the ads. Since graduation in 2017, Rebecca has been working for THORN: Digital Defenders of Children , an organization that builds technology to fight the sexual abuse of children.