Google has announced some new efforts in its ongoing fight to eradicate child exploitation on the Internet. This includes a new a $2 million fund to encourage the development of third-party tools, and a cross-industry database where companies and organizations can share information that can prevent the further spread of known exploitative images. In all, the company is throwing a new $5 million toward the cause, though it has been battling the problem since 2006.
The $2 million fund is called the Child Protection Technology Fund.
Google is giving part of the money to global child protection organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation. Google will provide support to other unspecified organizations of a similar nature here in the U.S., as well as in Canada, Europe, Australia and Latin America.
“Since 2008, we’ve used ‘hashing’ technology to tag known child sexual abuse images, allowing us to identify duplicate images which may exist elsewhere,” explains Google Giving director Jacquelline Fuller. “Each offending image in effect gets a unique ID that our computers can recognize without humans having to view them again. Recently, we’ve started working to incorporate encrypted ‘fingerprints’ of child sexual abuse images into a cross-industry database. This will enable companies, law enforcement and charities to better collaborate on detecting and removing these images, and to take action against the criminals.”
“We’re in the business of making information widely available, but there’s certain ‘information’ that should never be created or found,” says Fuller. “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.”
According to Google, there were 17.3 million images and videos of suspected child abuse received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cybertipline in 2011. This was four times more than what it received in 2007.