Google has been battling child exploitation on the Internet since at least 2006. This past summer, the company announced some additional measures it was taking.
For one, Google set up a new $2 million fund to encourage the development of third-party tools to combat the problem. It also announced a cross-industry database where companies and organizations can share info to prevent the further spread of known exploitative images. This all amounted to a new $5 million from the company.
A month later, the company came under some criticism as Microsoft announced that it would start including pop-ups aiming to deter those seeking out such content. Google elected not to do this, saying its current methods were better.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt wrote an article for the Daily Mail on Sunday talking about the company’s efforts again.
“Last week 348 people were arrested in Canada – and 386 young kids rescued – in one of the largest child sex investigations ever seen. It defies belief that anyone would sexually abuse children, especially teachers and doctors entrusted with their care,” he wrote. “But this awful case highlights the depths to which humanity can sink. And while society will never wholly eliminate such depravity, we should do everything in our power to protect children from harm.”
“That’s why internet companies like Google and Microsoft have been working with law enforcement for years to stop paedophiles sharing illegal pictures on the web,” he continued. “We actively remove child sexual abuse imagery from our services and immediately report abuse to the authorities. This evidence is regularly used to prosecute and convict criminals. But as David Cameron said in a speech this summer, there’s always more that can be done. We’ve listened, and in the last three months put more than 200 people to work developing new, state-of-the-art technology to tackle the problem.”
Schmidt went on to explain that Google has “fine tuned” its search engine to prevent links to abusive material from appearing in search results, but admits that not algorithm is perfect (something Google often reminds us of for a variety of reasons).
Still the work Google has alrady done, he says, has resulted in over 100,000 queries that have been “cleaned up”.
Google plans to roll out the changes in over 150 languages.
Image: Google Solve For X