Thursday, May 19, 2011
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM
"As online photo sharing has exploded so has, tragically, the distribution of child pornography. But while the rise of the Internet and digital cameras have revived a scourge that had nearly been eliminated in the late 1980s, new technology may also help to beat it back again. Microsoft says it has refined a technology it created called PhotoDNA to identify the worst of these disturbing images - even if they are cropped or otherwise altered - and cull through large amounts of data quickly and accurately enough to police the world's largest online services. And on Thursday, it will announce that Facebook will be the first service to join it in using the free technology, which Microsoft donated to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in December 2009."
It's great that Microsoft donated this technology and Facebook is implementing it - anything photo hosting companies can do to prevent child pornographers from amassing and sharing their collections of filth is a good thing. The key weakness here is that this technology isn't based on age/face recognition, it's based on pattern matching from a known database of images. It's a start, but it doesn't stop newly generated images from being shared everywhere until it's captured and put into the database. I feel a lot of admiration, but also sympathy, for the people that are on the front lines in this fight - they must have some awful images burned into their brains.