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Google to help fight child porn with industry-wide image-blocking tool

Google to help fight child porn with industry-wide image-blocking tool

Google's new open database will allow 3rd parties to help block access to child porn.

Google is working on a plan to help block access to child pornography across the entire world wide web.

The technology will enable websites, law enforcement agencies and charities to build a collective database of abusive imagery that should be hidden or removed.

Although these groups have been working to block this sort of content individually for quite some time, Google's new initiative will allow them to combine their efforts. The plan is simply to create an open database and allow any such group to easily contribute. With it, child porn images which have already been “flagged” by child protection organisations such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), can be wiped from the web in one fell swoop.

The plan follows recent political pressure on Google and other search engine providers to make even greater efforts to block access to abusive content. In particular, Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "sickened" by the proliferation of child pornography online and said that firms should use their "extraordinary technical abilities" to censor the images.

Google, which has been blocking such content since 2008 via its own pattern-recognition technology, is setting up a £1.27 million ($2 million) fund that will be used to help independent software developers to produce new tools to combat child pornography.

The new database is expected to be operational within a year.

Source: The Telegraph

14 Comments

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Lance 17th June 2013, 10:04 Quote
Could we use the same tool to wipe "she who must not be named" off the internet at the same time?
CrazyJoe 17th June 2013, 10:04 Quote
I doubt pedophiles use Google to get their kicks but any news to try and stamp out this sort of thing is welcome.
MSHunter 17th June 2013, 10:04 Quote
I do hope they use this power for good. It is a very slippery slope they have embarked on, only time will tell if they remain true or if it will be abused in the future.
SlowMotionSuicide 17th June 2013, 10:30 Quote
Hoo boy. As much as I wish every paedophile would die an agonizing, drawn-out and humiliating death, this is definitely something Google should not do.

How long do you think it takes before copyright enforcement organizations starts to demand access to the same technology, quickly followed by other similar special interest groups? Definitely a can of worms better left unopened.

This could well mean the start of the death to Internet as we know it.
Lance 17th June 2013, 10:37 Quote
I think that like all brave new frontiers though this was always going to happen. Eventually they will work out how to patrol the internet and we'll have no way of stopping it.
faugusztin 17th June 2013, 10:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowMotionSuicide
How long do you think it takes before copyright enforcement organizations starts to demand access to the same technology, quickly followed by other similar special interest groups? Definitely a can of worms better left unopened.

If they develop that technology, why not. There is a huge difference between images and other media.

Images are easy to compare, as it is two static objects, which can be resized to same size and then compared pixel by pixel - if the difference is within error of margin then it is the same picture.

In case of music, it is not so simple. First, there is sampling of other musicians, cover versions, remixes etc etc. Yes, you can find a song using part of the song, but cover versions and sampling could lead to "false positives".

In case of video, there is AFAIK no similar technology.

And then there is an issue with the idea of using this for copyright enforcing. While in case of child porn images it is simple - all images of child porn break the law, that can't be said in case of copyrighted video and music, unless copyright owners start providing whitelists of websites allowed to have that content - which can be even harder to maintain than the DMCA requests they issue now.

I am more concerned about issues like this one : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Watch_Foundation#Wikipedia .
Flibblebot 17th June 2013, 11:00 Quote
While I welcome anything that helps curb child pornography, I imagine that part of the problem is that child porn websites are more likely to be part of the "dark Internet" and probably don't appear on any Google search page.

David Cameron's words are nothing but hot air - does he really think that Internet companies are just sitting on their hands waiting to be told what to do? Organisations like the NSPCC, IWF and Google have been working together for years before Cameron came along and decided to stick his oar in to make himself look good. This initiative from Google just takes an already existing relationship and takes it one step further - it's not as if they're doing something from scratch.

/rant :p
CrazyJoe 17th June 2013, 11:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
While I welcome anything that helps curb child pornography, I imagine that part of the problem is that child porn websites are more likely to be part of the "dark Internet" and probably don't appear on any Google search page.

Exactly. it's like the yellow pages barring drug dealers from advertising in their books, it makes no difference.
schmidtbag 17th June 2013, 14:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyJoe
I doubt pedophiles use Google to get their kicks but any news to try and stamp out this sort of thing is welcome.

While it is possible most/all child porn websites are invisible to Google, I doubt you need to go to one of those websites to get your fix. In other words, child porn still exists in places that don't focus on it, so maybe that's what Google is trying to stop. But suppose you were looking for a website just for child porn - how are you ever supposed to know about it without going to a search engine first? It's not one of those things where you go to a friend and say "I'm in the mood to see child rape, know any websites that has some?"
ssj12 17th June 2013, 19:33 Quote
Like it or not, I doubt this will help. Still, good to see the private market is working to solve these things, not government.
Gradius 17th June 2013, 19:34 Quote
Correct, I looked hard using Google and couldn't find anything! They are just paranoid.
schmidtbag 17th June 2013, 19:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradius
Correct, I looked hard using Google and couldn't find anything! They are just paranoid.

Thanks for helping to prove that so we don't have to hahahaha.
MSHunter 18th June 2013, 09:15 Quote
I wounder if it will be end up being like Virgin capping P2P and since Blizzard uses P2P to send out updates where all @&#%! if we want to play starcraft.
forum_user 18th June 2013, 21:00 Quote
None of us would dare risk checking this, but I am assuming nothing would show up if the search terms were entered into Google. Google is run by thousands of normal, family people. The idea they would turn a blind eye to sick crap is ridiculous - of course they remove links if they are made aware.
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