Google Tackles Online Child Porn With New Image Identification System

Along with a $2 million fund for developers to create software to combat child porn, the search firm is trying to create a new database that allows online firms to swap information about offensive images, then eradicate them from the web.

Google is behind a new push to tackle online child pornography. The firm is investing a seven-figure sum in a brand-new database of images that will allow search engines and other online firms to flag up indecent photos, swap information, and then wipe the images from the web.

The firm has also earmarked a $2 million investment for independent developers to come up with new software to fight online underage porn. The Guardian is also reporting a grant of $1 million to Virginia's National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as similar organizations in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Latin America. The Internet Watch Foundation, which monitors the web and compiles a list of offensive material, will receive $1.5 million to increase staffing levels.

The software will, however, raise censorship issues, with some campaigners wanting to know who googles the Googlers, so to speak. Although an issue such as child porn is very clear-cut, there are other, more nebulous areas, where a similar tactic will not work. And perhaps governments in some parts of the world could use the same software to censor things they consider offensive which more permissive societies do not.

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