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Google seeks to scrub Web of child porn

Doug Gross, CNN
Google is pledging a total of $7 million, and has launched new tools, to help fight child sex abuse on the Web.
Google is pledging a total of $7 million, and has launched new tools, to help fight child sex abuse on the Web.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Google spending a total of $7 million to ramp up fight against child porn
  • Search giant's "fingerprinting" helps find images, prosecute those who post them
  • Child Protection Technology Fund will look for new tools

(CNN) -- Google says it will spend $5 million on an effort to wipe pictures of child sexual abuse from the Web and another $2 million to research more effective ways to find, report and eradicate the images.

"The Internet has been a tremendous force for good -- increasing access to information, improving people's ability to communicate and driving economic growth," Jacqueline Fuller, the director of Google Giving, said in a blog post. "But like the physical world, there are dark corners on the web where criminal behavior exists."

Part of the $5 million will go to established child-protection groups that have been partnering with Google to fight the problem. They include the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation.

The Web giant also is creating the Child Protection Technology Fund to develop more efficient ways to fight child porn.

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Recently, Google has begun using "fingerprinting" of child sex-abuse images, Fuller said. It will help law enforcement, Web companies and advocates find and remove the images, as well as prosecute the people who posted them, Google says.

"We're in the business of making information widely available, but there's certain 'information' that should never be created or found," Fuller wrote. "We can do a lot to ensure it's not available online -- and that when people try to share this disgusting content they are caught and prosecuted."

Since 2008, Google has been using technology to tag images, helping the company find them anywhere else they may appear on the Web. Among other things, Google can make sure images or Web pages do not appear in search results.

In 2006, the company joined Microsoft, Aol, Time, Time Warner (CNN's parent company) and others in a Technology Coalition, targeting child abuse on the Web, and has donated hardware and software to groups around the world fighting child sex abuse.

The company, which jealously protects details on how its search algorithms and other processes work, did not immediately respond to a message seeking more details about how its new initiative will work and what additional efforts may be on the way.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the group's tip line received 17.3 million images and videos of suspected child abuse in 2011. That was four times what the group received in 2007.

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