Google And Microsoft Agree To Block Child Abuse Images

The two firms have been working together to identify and block images of abuse.

Google And Microsoft Agree To Block Child Abuse Images
[Image: Flickr user ian.schofield]

Following a campaign by the British government, Google’s and Microsoft’s search engines will block images that show children being abused. Google, which has created a new technology to identify pedophilia videos, recently modified its search algorithm to block over 100,000 phrases related to the abuse of children and has plans to roll out the filter in 150 languages. Warnings will appear on the screens of those who search for any one of 13,000 additional search terms.

“While society will never wholly eliminate such depravity, we should do everything in our power to protect children from harm,” explained Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, adding that the firm was sending some of its engineers on secondment to the Internet Watch Foundation in Britain and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the U.S., as well as funding internships at both organizations.

There is, however some doubt as to whether cracking down on Google searches for child porn will crack down on child abusers, as most such images are shared on hidden networks. Jim Gamble, the former head of the U.K.’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, told the BBC that money needed to be spent at local police level. “They don’t go on to Google to search for images. They go on to the dark corners of the Internet on peer-to-peer websites,” he said.

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.