Google helps create ‘Web crawler’ for fighting child sexual abuse

An organization that works with police worldwide to remove images of child sexual abuse from the Internet has credited Google with helping it develop a “Web crawler” that finds child pornography.

“This is hugely important for the victims of child sex abuse, as this technology should block thousands of their illegal images from being viewed on the Internet,” the Internet Watch Foundation’s 2015 annual report said.

The crawler, combined with a system that tags abuse photos with codes, will also “ease the burden on analysts, as they won’t have to see so many disturbing images,” the report said.

The organization said the crawler came out of their “Googler in Residence” program, in which Google dedicated an engineer to work with the foundation. “This was just one part of the engineering support Google gave us in 2015,” the report said.

The project, which a foundation spokeswoman described as a pilot, facilitates removal of all circulating copies of particular abuse images. “By harnessing our engineering expertise through the Googler in Residence programme, (the foundation’s) skilled analysts have made amazing progress in identifying and then removing this illegal content from the web,” Katie O’Donovan, a public policy manager for Google in the U.K., said in the report. “We look forward to the next phase of the Googler in Residence project in 2016.”


Photo: A man walks past a building on the Google campus in Mountain View. (AP/Jeff Chiu)


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