Google, Microsoft Join Forces to Block Indecent Child Images

Posted by at 12:45 pm on November 18, 2013

Google and Microsoft have been working together to block requests for indecent images and video of children from their search engines, Google chairman Eric Schmidt has announced. Blocks on specific requests as well as new tools have been created in response to a request for help from British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Schmidt told the Daily Mail that a team of more than 200 people have been working on the problem in the last three months. One of the joint efforts between Google and Microsoft was the creation of an image fingerprinting system, one that can give an image a unique identifier to illegal images which can be spotted when the images and video resurfaces again on web services, with the tools expected to be provided to other Internet companies and organizations related to child safety in the new year.

Google Search has been updated with more filters to block queries for such content, with the results of over 100,000 queries already “cleaned up.” Warnings from Google and charities have appeared at the top of results for more than 13,000 queries, advising that child sexual abuse is illegal, as well as providing advice on where to get help.

There are also plans for Google to provide engineers to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), with a view to improving the technical abilities of these organizations. Google is also offering to fund internships for other engineers to attend and help at the organizations.

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