With child pornography rampant on the Internet — so rampant, in fact, that innocent image searches can turn up the illegal content (mostly with SafeSearch off) — law enforcement agencies have a pretty massive job of keeping the content at bay. To help out with this, Microsoft has donated its PhotoDNA image matching technology to law enforcement at no cost to better seek out CP, remove it from the Internet, and potentially locate the people producing and passing it around.
Developed by Microsoft Research in collaboration with Dartmouth College, PhotoDNA is essentially image matching software that creates a unique signature for a digital image — like a fingerprint — which can be compared to signatures of other images on the web to find copies of the image.
The technology will be distributed to law enforcement through integration with NetClean Analyze, a technology in use by law enforcement internationally, the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS), another internationally used technology by law enforcement that’s supported by Microsoft, and direct licensing to agencies with the technical resources to accommodate a “self-hosted” version of the PhotoDNA software.
10 percent of the images reviewed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) of the over 65 million images and videos of child exploitation since 2002 are of infants and toddlers, and they note that photos are increasingly violent and victims are getting even younger.
Microsoft actively works to fight crimes committed over the Internet through their Digital Crimes Unit, which you can check out here.