Can Facebook's child-porn explosion be stopped?

Here's the problem:

Microsoft donated the software to the NCMEC in December 2009. Just last year, Facebook began using PhotoDNA to hunt for thousands of registered illegal images uploaded by its users. The software had a detection accuracy of 99.7 percent in tests. It finds and removes only known, reported and specific images of sexual exploitation of pre-pubescent children.

Chris Sonderby, Facebook's associate general counsel, was a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice for 12 years. From 2006 until mid-2010,  Sonderby served as the DOJ's representative in Asia based at the U.S. embassy in Bangkok, where he worked with U.S. and foreign law-enforcement authorities on large-scale transnational criminal matters.  Before his tour in Bangkok, Sonderby served as chief of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property unit of the U.S. Attorney's office in San Jose, Calif.

He declared in a May 20, 2011, livestream event titled "Facebook D.C. Live: Protecting Kids Online":

PhotoDNA is truly a game-changing technology in this fight, and we're very excited for the opportunity to apply it on our site and really be successful in significantly reducing the amount of child exploitation images that are allowed to proliferate. In our case, we intend to put the technology to use against between 200 and 300 million photo images that are uploaded to Facebook every day. So the technology will allow us to block their upload, to prevent their distribution and the revictimization of the children who are depicted in those images, and it will also allow us to immediately refer and report those instances to law enforcement so they can take immediate action. We really think again that this is a game changer and we're thrilled to be a part of this partnership and looking forward to continuing to work together on this.

Michelle Collins, vice president for the exploited children division at NCMEC, told WND, "I really feel like in the industry ... while certainly the problem continues to grow, so does the response of many of the companies and certainly the response of law enforcement."

Collins added, "We have a lot of voluntary initiatives with large companies here in the U.S. where we will provide them with PhotoDNA, in which they look specifically for child pornography images so they can remove them. It's like locating a needle in a haystack. They have so many images coming through their servers. They utilize technology that allows them to identify and pull out those images that are known to be illegal child pornography images."

She said "a broader adoption of PhotoDNA by large companies would be very beneficial in terms of eliminating child pornography from their servers."

However, Microsoft DNA does not locate and remove new photos of abuse. It only finds images that have been identified and listed in a NCMEC database of photos.

Furthermore, the image-matching technology does not locate videos of child sexual abuse for removal.

In one of Facebook's own new releases on the subject, it stated: "[PhotoDNA] won't be able to identify new pictures of child pornography nor will it tag your typical child photos as pornography. It will only catch those already known by the NCMEC."

via Can Facebook's child-porn explosion be stopped?.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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