Google Waging War on Child Porn

Jun 17, 2013 12:45 PM PST

SUNNYVALE. Calif. — Google is waging war on global child porn by creating a special information database and donating more than $7 million to child-protection groups and to establish a new technology fund.

The Internet giant announced that it is developing a “cross industry database” of encrypted “fingerprints” of child sexual abuse images to enable companies, law enforcement and charities to better collaborate on detecting and removing the images, and to take action against the criminals.

Law enforcement, companies and non-profit watchdogs such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the U.K.’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) will be able to share information that includes references to illegal images.

Google is donating $5 million to the organizations and another $2 million for a Child Protection Technology Fund. The company alsao said it is providing additional support to similar "heroic" organizations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and Latin America.

Commenting on Google’s initiative, the adult industry’s own Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) executive director Tim Henning told XBIZ, “ASACP supports all initiatives that stem the tide of child exploitation online. It is encouraging news that key Internet players such as Google are stepping up to the plate with technology and funding in order to fight these horrific crimes and protect children from abuse. ASACP, through it's child pornography reporting hotline, has contributed to the building of this database since it was first developed in 2008."

According to the official Google blog, in 2011, NCMEC received 17.3 million images and videos of suspected child abuse — four times more than what their Exploited Children's Division (ECD) saw in 2007. And the number is still growing with more than half of the images and videos originating outside of the U.S.

The search giant said to fight the global problem there needs to be borderless communication between organizations. “NCMEC’s CyberTipline is accessible to 60 countries, helping local law enforcement agencies effectively execute their investigations.”

Henning agreed and said, "To effectively battle child exploitation on the Internet requires international co-operation that brings together a wide range of stakeholders who can contribute new ideas and technologies. This initiative by Google will certainly help in this regard."

Posting on the Google blog, director of Google Giving Jacquelline Fuller said, “Google has been working on fighting child exploitation since as early as 2006 when we joined the Technology Coalition, teaming up with other tech industry companies to develop technical solutions. Since then, we’ve been providing software and hardware to helping organizations all around the world to fight child abuse images on the web and help locate missing children."

The company explained that since 2008, it has used “hashing” technology to tag known child sexual abuse images, allowing it to identify duplicate images that may exist elsewhere. Each image gets a unique I.D. that Google’s computers can recognize without humans having to view them again. Google has also been incorporating encrypted “fingerprints” of child sexual abuse images into a cross-industry database that will enable companies, law enforcement and charities to remove the images and prosecute criminals.

“We’re in the business of making information widely available, but there’s certain ‘information’ that should never be created or found. We can do a lot to ensure it’s not available online — and that when people try to share this disgusting content they are caught and prosecuted,” Google said.

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