Bing now has pop-up warnings for child abuse searches

Microsoft's Bing search engine has a pop-up to warn of images of child abuse, following David Cameron's crackdown on Internet porn.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

Microsoft's Bing search engine will now show a pop-up warning if you try to find images of child abuse online, the BBC reports. This comes hot on the heels of David Cameron's plans to crack down on Internet porn.

Bing's warning will let the searcher know that what they're looking for is illegal, and provide details of a counselling service. Yahoo is considering a similar move, but Google -- by far and away the most popular search engine -- is sticking to its policy of reporting such material.

The new warning is only for searches made in the UK, so it's definitely related to David Cameron's recent announcement. Though it doesn't go as far as Cameron suggested, as it won't warn of the consequences of viewing such images, like losing your job, your family, and your children.

Microsoft set it up with the help of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop). It'll be triggered whenever someone enters a word from Ceop's 'blacklist'.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: "This is in addition to Microsoft's existing and longstanding policy of removing any verified links to illegal content of this sort from Bing as quickly as possible.

"Microsoft has been, and remains, a strong proponent of proactive action in reasonable and scalable ways by the technology industry in the fight against technology-facilitated child exploitation. We have teams dedicated globally to abuse reporting on our services and the development of new innovations to combat child exploitation more broadly."

Ceop deputy chief executive Andy Baker said Bing's move wouldn't solve the problem, but it was a start. It's a "positive step in the right direction," he said, but it's a "small, initial part of the solution".

Ceop also acknowledged its blacklist couldn't possibly contain every search term that could lead someone to see images of child abuse.

David Cameron has been criticised for not understanding the Internet, as apparently these types of images are more commonly shared over secure peer-to-peer networks than found via search engines. What do you think of his policy? And is Bing's warning a good first step, or will it not make any difference? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.