Online search giants Google and Microsoft have bowed to Government pressure to implement changes making it harder for child abuse content to be shared online.
Google and Microsoft have vowed to dam as many as 100,000 search terms commonly linked to child sexual abuse, will show warnings at top of search results for one other 13,000 related search terms.
The agreement between the pair comes after mounting pressure from politicians and amounts to a U-switch on earlier claims that such filtering was technically impossible, and it isn’t the role of personal industry to police the online.
News of the cooperation between the pair follows an earlier ultimatum from UK Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron to implement such changes or the govt. will impose legislation.
A Daily Mail article by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt published today (18 November) reads: “We’ve listened – and here’s how we’ll end this depravity.”
Schmidt says Google has put 200 people to work at the initiative and that additionally it is implementing changes to its video-sharing network YouTube to stop child abuse content being displayed there.
He then goes directly to say: “There’s no quick technical fix with regards to detecting child sexual abuse imagery.
“This is because computers can’t reliably distinguish between innocent pictures of youngsters at bathtime and genuine abuse. So we always have to have an individual review the pictures.
“Once this is done – and we all know the images are illegal – each image is given a completely unique digital fingerprint.
The PM hailed the agreement as “significant progress” from the sooner “couldn’t be done, shouldn’t be done” stances of many web firms, lots of whom claim such measures are detrimental to free speech.
However, the federal government did add that it’s going to legislate against such companies whether it is not satisfied with the initiative’s progress.
Google and Microsoft (which controls the Bing and Yahoo se’s) control over 90 per cent of the united kingdom search market, in accordance with data from Experian.