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Facebook Adds Software to Police for Child Porn

AFP

Facebook officials plan to announce an expanded program to scan images posted on the social network for child pornography and missing children. 

The social network will rely on a technology from Microsoft and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) called PhotoDNA, which acts like a fingerprint scanner to match photos against those in the Center's database.

"We care deeply" about stopping abuse, said Facebook chief technology officer Bret Taylor during testimony at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing in Washington on mobile phone and Internet privacy.

According to an AFP report, PhotoDNA has already evaluated more than two billion digital pictures at Microsoft services, finding 1,000 matches on SkyDrive and 1,500 matches through Bing image indexing, said Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit associate general counsel Bill Harmon.

PhotoDNA isn't a new technology; Microsoft donated it to the Center back in 2009. But it hasn't been widely utilized yet. Since the donation, the software giant has worked to hone and improve the technology, wrote Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the NCMEC, in a blog post announcing the collaboration.

"Microsoft has been working with Dartmouth and the NCMEC to test and deploy this technology on Bing, SkyDrive and Hotmail -- with compelling success -- and is working with other companies who have voiced interest in doing the same," he wrote. 

"Now, when the NCMEC identifies an image for inclusion in the PhotoDNA program, the technology will give online service providers like Facebook, Microsoft and other companies who adopt it in the future the power to identify and remove that image from among billions of photos shared on their services."

The social network will host a live event at 3:00p.m. EST to announce the initiative.