The internet is a gift; an extensive data sharing network that has enabled us to do so much good. It has revolutionized the way we communicate with one another, schedule events and vacations, manage our finances, and even receive an education.
Unfortunately, the internet also has the potential to do evil. Criminals can hide behind the blanket of anonymity that the web provides, and there is no better example of this behavior than the child porn industry. In many cases, these images find a permanent home on popular search engines such as Google - a practice that the California-based company is working hard to eradicate.
According to The Telegraph, Google’s engineers are developing a new technology to crackdown on the transfer of child pornography through online channels. Google’s system will enable other search engines and websites to ‘flag’ these photos as indecent, where they can then be deleted automatically.
Past efforts to earmark such images have been ineffective, with the main difficulty stemming from a lack of an industry standard. Using this knowledge, the new software aims to create a unified platform upon which the elimination of child pornography can begin. The software was originally designed in 2008, and the company now believes that the project had progressed to the point where it will be operational within the year.
Scott Rubin, a spokesperson for Google, added, “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.”
Not surprisingly, Google’s efforts have earned them considerable praise from advocates of child safety. This is not only due to the ground-breaking technology that they are set to release, but also because of a $2 million fund that the company has created. This money will be used to help independent software developers produce their own programs for use in the war against child sex abuse.
John Carr, a government advisor, expressed his gratitude by saying, “Google have stepped up. No one can argue about that. In all my time working in this space no company has ever devoted anything like this level of resources to working with civil society organisations to attack online child abuse images.”