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Google plans to clamp down on child sexual abuse content online

Google has revealed it will be doing more to fight the videos and images of child abuse that can be found online.

The search engine giant announced a new plan to combat such abusive content online and will use funding and technology to track down any abusers and block images.

“We’re in the business of making information widely available, but there’s certain ‘information’ that should never be created or found”, wrote Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google Giving, in an official blog post. “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.”

In collaboration with companies, anti-abuse charities and law enforcement organisations, Google will be creating a database of images to help tackle the amount of sexual abuse content present online.

Since 2008, the company has used “hashing “technology to classify any abusive images that allows computers to discover any child abuse content, but the new database will provide a more inclusive fingerprinting system for the detection of images, allowing them to discover abusers.

“Google has been working on fighting child exploitation since as early as 2006 when we joined the Technology Coalition, teaming up with other tech industry companies to develop technical solutions. Since then, we’ve been providing software and hardware to help organizations all around the world to fight child abuse images on the web and help locate missing children.”

Google has created a $2 million (£1.3 million) Child Protection Technology Fund to support developers, aiding them to create better tools to seek out and destroy any such images online.

“There is much more that can be done, and Google is taking our commitment another step further through a $5 million effort to eradicate child abuse imagery online. Part of this commitment will go to global child protection partners like the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation.”

Although Google will not be able to destroy all child sexual abuse content online, the new initiative combined with PhotoDNA technology used by Interpol, Microsoft and Facebook will help towards achieving that goal.