Since the Internet became mainstream there has always been another side to it -- a much darker side than the one most people see. One of the many things that thrive on the other side of the Internet is child abuse material, and in particular, child porn.
Google and Microsoft are both working to make it more difficult for people to find child abuse material. To do this, Google is finishing up a set of filters that should prevent people from using its search engine to hunt for child porn. While this may not eliminate the real issue, Google and Microsoft are facing an increase in pressure from government leaders to make it difficult for people to access child porn.
100,000 Search Terms
In total, both Google search and Microsoft's Bing will no longer allow child abuse photos or videos to come up when someone enters one of the 100,000 search terms deemed illegal. This list of terms has been agreed upon by both Web giants and will make it almost impossible to use either search engine to find this sort of material.
"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," said Google's Eric Schmidt. "We've fine-tuned Google search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in our results."
Over the course of six months, this new filter system will roll out to 150 different languages but will only apply to English-speaking countries at first.
Google has stepped up in the past in attempts to end child exploitation by using technology but now that the software has advanced, both Bing and Google can finally filter out child abuse results without getting rid of other material that is not illegal.
Even though Google is getting a lot of the attention for this initiative, Google made sure to point out that Microsoft deserves the credit. In order for the search giants to accurately filter results, Microsoft developed a piece of software that tags child abuse photos for faster detection across the Web.
"Microsoft deserves a lot of credit for developing and sharing its picture detection technology," Schmidt wrote. David Cameron, Britain's Prime Minister has congratulated both companies for introducing the new filter system. Cameron has pointed out the issue of child abuse photos appearing online for quite a while and urged the companies to take action earlier this year.
"Google and Microsoft have come a long way," said Cameron in a recent interview. "A recent deterrence campaign from Google led to a 20 percent drop off in people trying to find illegal content, so we know this sort of action will make a difference."
This new piece of software will be made available to other companies in the near future and evidence that comes from it can also be used in court cases against child abuse organizations.
Image credit: iStock/Artist's concept.