Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has announced the company will start to globally block links to child pornography material within the next six months.
In an op-ed in British newspaper Daily Mail, Schmidt said Google has assembled a team of more than 200 experts working on new technology to address this problem. As a result, Google will prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in search results. The company will also show warnings at the top of more than 13,000 search results, explaining that child sexual abuse is illegal and offering advice on where to get help.
Furthermore, a technology that identifies child sexual abuse videos on YouTube is undergoing testing right now.
These measures are currently live in English-speaking countries, but they will be expanded to the rest of the world, covering 158 other languages, within the next six months.
“While no algorithm is perfect – and Google cannot prevent paedophiles adding new images to the web – these changes have cleaned up the results for over 100,000 queries that might be related to the sexual abuse of kids,” wrote Schmidt.
Schmidt still maintains that, when it comes to detection of child sexual abuse imagery, there is no easy technical solution that can help. Instead, a real person has to review the images, and those that are found to be illegal will be given a special digital fingerprint so Google’s computers can identify them when they appear on its systems.
The move comes after a heated campaign for stopping child porn in Britain.
“Google and Microsoft have come a long way,” UK Prime Minister David Cameron told Daily Mail. “A recent deterrence campaign from Google led to a 20 per cent drop off in people trying to find illegal content, so we know this sort of action will make a difference,” he said.
Although he believes this is a move in “the right direction,” Cameron wants an even bigger commitment from these companies.
“If the search engines are unable to deliver on their commitment to prevent child abuse material being returned from search terms used by paedophiles, I will bring forward legislation that will ensure it happens,” he said.
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By: Stan Schroeder