Google tackles child pornography with new database

Google is tackling child pornography on the Internet with a new database that collects information on abusive pictures.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Google is tackling child pornography on the Internet by setting up a new database that tracks images of abuse across the Internet, as well as promising $2m to reward anyone continuing the fight against disturbing and illegal images. 

Various agencies already flag images of sexual abuse against children, and Google plans to pool that information into one big central database. The Telegraph reports the database could start within the year.

Websites, law enforcement agencies, charities and child-protection organisations will be able to add flagged, or 'hashed', pictures to the database, including disturbing images that have already been identified before now.

There's been a lot of pressure on Google lately to do something about child pornography and other abusive content from governments. The Big G already has a pattern-recognition system that aims to filter out disturbing imagery, but inappropriate content is hard to remove or block completely. The new database will add information from organisations like the Internet Watch Foundation to try and remove illegal and disturbing imagery entirely.

Google is also reportedly pouring $2m into a fund that will finance software developers working on new ways to track down and remove child pornography.

A cynic might suggest Google is bowing to political pressure on this issue to alleviate pressure over tax avoidance, but we're not going to argue with such a positive move by the search giant. 

Do you think Google and the big Internet companies should do something about child pornography, or should they remain neutral? Do you think the database is a good idea? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.