Google invests $7m in eradicating child abuse from the web


Internet search giant Google has reinforced its commitment to combating the spread of child abuse imagery on the internet by donating $7 million towards eradicating such content.

The company said the money will be shared among the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, the Internet Watch Foundation, as well as similar organisations in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and Latin America.

We can do a lot to ensure it's not available online, and when people try to share this disgusting content they are prosecuted.

Further to this, Google has also launched a $2 million Child Protection Technology Fund to finance the development of technological tools to help reduce the availability of abusive images on the web.

"We're in the business of making information widely available, but there's certain information' that should never be created or found," said Google in a blog post.

"We can do a lot to ensure it's not available online, and that when people try to share this disgusting content they are caught and prosecuted," it added.

The post also detailed some of the technological work Google has already done to curtail access to child abuse content online.

These include the use of "hashing" tools that tag offensive images, so their distribution can be monitored and the creation of a cross-industry database of child abuse material.

"This will enable companies, law enforcement and charities to better collaborate on detecting and removing these images, and to take action against criminals," the post continued.

Pressure has been growing on search engines and ISPs in recent weeks to clamp down on the availability of child abuse images online, in the wake of the April Jones and Tia Sharp murder cases.

Google, in particular, has come under fire for failing to do enough to restrict access to sites hosting abusive content, which prompted the firm to issue a statement last month setting out its "zero-tolerance" stance to child pornography.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.