Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) & Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Joined IWF to Remove Child Porn

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The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) on Monday announced it will give out a “hash list” of images to Web-based organizations like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to accelerate the identification and removal of the content worldwide.

Hashes, or digital fingerprints of an image, have been evaluated by IWF analysts, and will be issued to members like Yahoo, and Facebook Inc (FB), Google Inc (GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), Twitter Inc (TWTR), to identify inappropriate pictures on their services. Based on trained analysts’ evaluations, the IWF will automatically create three types of hashes: PhotoDNA (developed by associate Microsoft), MD5, and SHA1. The digital fingerprints are available just for photographs; the organization is developing video-hashing software.

Last month, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) launched a cloud variation of PhotoDNA. It’s now accessible for free from the Azure Marketplace, allowing organizations to automatically find kid exploitation pictures on their services and report this illegal content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other law enforcement agencies.

By integrating the hash list into social networks and search applications, Web watchdogs and stop violent images from being uploaded to the Web, operators can prevent pictures from being shared, and protect people from accidentally stumbling across such content.

“It means victims’ images could be identified and removed more quickly, and we can prevent known child sexual abuse images from being uploaded to the Web in the first place,” IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves said in a statement.

A six-month endeavor, the hash list is coming soon to all IWF members all over the world. “We were developing a service from scratch, which will be a complex and ambitious task, but we understood this could revolutionize the manner in which we fight online child sexual abuse content,” Harriet Lester, technical projects officer at IWF, wrote in a blog post.

“The IWF Hash List could be a game-changer and really steps up the fight against child sexual abuse images online,” Hargreaves said.

The Foundation removes around 500 URLs, each featuring one to thousands of images of child sexual abuse material, every day. With the addition of the hash list, that number is expected to grow exponentially. In 2013, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) established a shareable database which makes it easier for organizations to report and remove images of child sexual abuse from larger portions of the Web.

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