Making the Internet a safer place for children – an up-date on our efforts in support of the CEO coalition initiated by Vice President Kroes
It was in December last year that Microsoft became a part of Vice President Kroes’ initiative to make the Internet a safer place for children. Together with 27 other companies in the ICT sector, from hardware manufacturers to providers of content we committed to work on 5 areas, namely report abuse, privacy settings, content classification, parental controls and take down of sexual child abuse.
As part of the action item 5, we have committed to do all within our power, including by proactive steps, to remove from the internet child sex abuse material, in addition to necessary measures defined in the Directive on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.
And we commend the Commission for stepping up against this most horrendous crime, it is high time: since 2002, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has reviewed more than 65 million images and videos of child sexual exploitation reported by law enforcement. The images continue to grow increasingly violent and the victims younger, with 10 percent of the images reviewed by NCMEC today being infants and toddlers who can’t tell anyone about their abuse. These crimes - shared and viewed amongst predators online - turn a single horrific moment of sexual abuse of a child into an unending series of violations of that child.
That is why Microsoft is in particular focused on the fight against this crime and has volunteered to chair the working group to take down sexual child abuse material. Our vision is a sustainable ecosystem devoted to eliminating child sexual abuse images on the internet and to promote collaboration among industry, hotlines, and law enforcement to take away the Internet as a vehicle for exchanging child abuse images.
The work done by Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit is essential to achieve this goal. PhotoDNA, an image-matching technology developed by Microsoft Research in collaboration with Dartmouth College, can help online service providers, find, report and eliminate some of the worst known images of child pornography online, helping identify thousands of these horrific images that would previously have gone undetected.
Today, Microsoft announces that it makes PhotoDNA available to law enforcement. By arming law enforcement with this technology, our goal is to help expedite investigations, limit officer exposure to the corrosive effects of viewing child rape images, and strengthen law enforcement’s ability to quickly identify and rescue victims.
For more information, see Microsoft on the Issues.