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Google tackles child pornography

359w ago - Google engineers have adapted a software programme to help track child sex predators and search for patterns in images of abuse on the web.

Google created the technology for the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

It was originally developed to block copyrighted videos on the company's YouTube division.

The programme uses pattern recognition to enable analysts to sort and identify files containing child sex abuse.

Google says its aim in teaming up with the centre's Technology Coalition Against Child Pornography is to develop solutions that would make it harder for people to use the web to exploit children or traffic in child pornography.

"You always hope that your work will eventually be used to do some good in the world, and this was an amazing chance to make that hope real," said Google research scientist Shumeet Baluja.

Overwhelming task

Mr Baluja, who was also the technical leader of the project, said that as more and more predators use the web to ensnare children, "analysts were getting overwhelmed by all of the data they had to sift through".

Since 2002 the NCMEC has pored over 13 million child sex abuse images and videos in an effort to help police identify and rescue children from harm.

Child porn websites 'worsening'

384w ago - More than seven websites showing child pornography are reported to the police every day, an online charity has said.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) also said new research showed the images, which included rape, sadism and bestiality, had become more severe.

Now web giants including Tiscali, Yahoo and MSN are helping to publicise the IWF's hotline, which allows internet users to report these sites.

About 1.5m UK adults had accessed child pornography online, the IWF said.

It also said more than a third of all child sexual abuse sites contained images of the most severe kinds of abuse.

Nearly one in three children appearing on the sites were under six years old, while one in 20 were under the age of two, the IWF said.
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