Google on a search-and-destroy mission against online child porn

GoogleplexwelcomesignThis is a great piece of news to start the week with:

[Google] is creating a database of images depicting child exploitation – to be shared with tech companies, law enforcement, and charities – in order to scrub the images from the Internet. …

Google’s plan is to build a database of child porn images that can be shared with other tech companies, law enforcement, and charities around the world. The database will let these groups swap information, collaborate, and remove the images from the Web.

Part of the technology behind this database comes from a technique Google already uses called “hashing,” which tags images showing sexual abuse of children with a unique identification code. Computers can recognize the code and then locate, block, and report all duplicate images on the Web. Google plans to have the database up and running within a year.

Google’s Jacquelline Fuller wrote on the company’s blog Saturday:

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.

Undoubtedly some of the criminal-minded will find ways to hide their online “work” from Google, but the search engine’s efforts toward making child pornography harder to post and to find is a giant step in the right direction. We are delighted to see Google using its massive resources to fight this unspeakable abuse of children.

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