Facebook and Microsoft Team Up Against Child Pornography

FacebookLogoHiding beneath the comfortable anonymity offered by the internet are the dredges of society who take pleasure in the most perverse acts possible. These people are the reason why photos of child pornography are still circulating all over the internet, interspersed among happier, more wholesome photos. Thankfully, there are people who are dedicated to fighting against this unspeakable crime. Microsoft has developed a program called PhotoDNA. PhotoDNA can find images of child pornography, facilitating their removal. Microsoft has already donated the technology to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and has used the program on Bing and Windows Live SkyDrive, and now they’re going to use it on Facebook. This will mark the very first time that the program will be used in a social networking site and the NCMEC hopes that the move will bring about significant progress to their cause.

About PhotoDNA

PhotoDNA, as mentioned, is a program that identifies images of child porn from among a large database of photos. The developers boast that the program has scanned approximately two billion images, and not once has it been wrong. At first glance, the program sounds like a sort of face recognition software. But in reality, it’s not, so there’s really not much to worry about privacy-wise for Facebook users. The programs works by taking an image and breaking it down into what could be called a ‘photo fingerprint’ or, as the developers call it, a “hashtag”. Then, like the fingerprint system, it takes the photo’s hashtag and scans it against a database containing 10,000 of the most heinous photos of child pornography. The system uses numbers instead of graphics; the photos can still be identified even if the uploader has altered its size, image, color, and even its orientation.

How it Helps

Since this is how the program works, it won’t be able to identify new pictures of child pornography nor will it tag your typical child photos as pornography. It will only catch those already known by the NCMEC. Ernie Allen, NCMEC president, says that their goal is to “ensure that these images of children being sexually assaulted aren’t continually redistributed and these children aren’t victimized again and again.” With the program integrated into Facebook, the NCMEC will surely catch more perpetrators of Child Pornography. Facebook, in turn, will be better able to ensure that the photos uploaded into the social networking site abide by their policies. Overall, with Microsoft and Facebook working together against child pornography, great results are sure to be expected.

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