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Tech Monday, June 17th 2013 at 9:15 am

Google Aims to Scrub Child Porn From the Internet With an Algorithm

The world's biggest Internet company knows something about writing algorithms, and they're turning their talents to eliminating child pornography from the Web.

The Google HQ

Over the weekend, Google announced a series of new efforts to eliminate child porn on the Internet. The company is throwing money at the problem, which no one will complain about, because the company has so much cash that throwing it at problems can actually result in some good being done. But the really interesting work Google is doing is on identifying images of children being physically or sexually abused with an automatic filtering process that prevents them from showing up in search results and could help law enforcement officials track the people responsible for posting them in the first place.

Google has a long history of helping remove or filter images identified as child porn by folks with the worst jobs in the world. Every image that’s been identified, though, has had a bit of code attached to it that allows the service to identify it and delete other copies of it without the need for another person to see the offending image ever again. Now, the company believes it has enough images in its database to take a more proactive approach to identifying images of such child abuse — and one that may make it possible to do so without a helping hand from humans.

Google plans to make their existing database available to other search providers, who could use it to prune their search listings and ensure that images which have been flagged with an electronic fingerprint indicating they are child porn don’t show up in their search listings. It could also help law enforcement agencies take action against the awful monsters who post and share such images online.

In addition, to their own database Google is looking for other ideas, setting up a $2 million fund to incentivize the development of more effective tools for screening child porn and keeping it off the Internet. As someone who uses the Internet like, way too much everyday, it’s nice to know that the big dogs on the block are doing their part to clean up the neighborhood.

(via VentureBeat, image via Trey Ratcliff)

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