After recently receiving heavy criticism for not doing enough, Google announces it will create a new system to get rid of online child abuse images.
Pressure was on the company to do something about the problem after it emerged that men convicted of murdering Tia Sharp, aged 12, and April Jones, aged 5, had been viewing the indecent images online before hand.
The new system will use new technology to allow search engines to track images of children being raped and abused, so they can be immediately wiped in bulk from the internet and will be shared with all rival companies.
Article summary below, see full article at The Telegraph.
The new database, which is expected to be operational within a year, will allow child porn images which have already been “flagged” by child protection organisations such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to be wiped from the web in one fell swoop.
Google is also setting up a £1.27 million ($2 million) fund available to independent software developers to produce new tools to combat child pornography, it announced.
It comes after web search companies, including Google, have come under intense political pressure to crack down on child porn.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said last week he was “sickened” by material available online and told companies to stop making excuses.
Pressure on the web giants further intensified after it emerged Mark Bridger, who murdered five year-old April Jones, and Stuart Hazell, who murdered Tia Sharp, 12, were both found to have accessed indecent images of children on the web.
David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, said:
Since 2008, we have used ‘hashing’ technology to tag known child sexual abuse images, allowing us to identify duplicate images which may exist elsewhere.
Each offending image in effect gets a unique fingerprint that our computers can recognize without humans having to view them again.
Recently, we have started working to incorporate these fingerprints into a cross-industry database. This will enable companies, law enforcement, and charities to better collaborate on detecting and removing child abuse images.
Susie Hargreaves, chief executive officer of the IWF, which is part-funded by Google, said:
This announcement is inspiring for those who are at the forefront of tackling child sexual abuse content.
These funds, made available internationally, will no doubt allow international experts to target images and videos of children being sexually abused with the best technology based on the most technically progressive ideas.