MS & FB’s help in fighting child abuse imagery

By Anne Collier

What digital technology enabled, digital technology is thankfully helping to disable. The ability to share photos online revived the child-pornography “scourge that had nearly been eliminated in the late 1980s,” the New York Times reports, but technology developed by Microsoft and just starting to be implemented by Facebook – PhotoDNA – may “help to beat it back again.” The Times says the technology can help with identifying these images (even if “cropped or otherwise altered”) quickly among huge (Facebook-size) quantities of data. Facebook, now with more than 600 million worldwide users worldwide, is the first service to try out PhotoDNA, which Microsoft donated to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in December 2009, using it to find several thousand photos “among the 200 million images uploaded by its users each day,” the Times adds. Meanwhile, see this on the continuing decline in child sexual abuse, as reported by the Crimes Against Children Research Center last fall.

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