Microsoft and NetClean have announced a joint effort to combat the sexual exploitation of children by making Microsoft PhotoDNA technology available and accessible to law enforcement agencies worldwide to help enhance child sex abuse investigations.
As the UK Hotline for the public to report child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world - the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) will be one of the first organisations to employ this technology. The technology will be provided to law enforcement
agencies, at no charge.
PhotoDNA is an image-matching technology developed by Microsoft Research in collaboration with Dartmouth College that creates a unique signature for a digital image, something like a fingerprint, that can be compared with the signatures of other images
to find copies of that image. NCMEC and online service providers such as Microsoft and other online service providers currently use PhotoDNA to help find, report and eliminate some of the worst-known images of child sexual abuse.
Presumably it works on the geometrics within the picture, perhaps like facial recognition and wireframe modelling of pose, and so it can match pictures regardless of encoding, compression, size and, to some extent, cropping.
The technology will allow faster review of the massive number of seized images so investigators and prosecutors can tackle more cases whilst limiting the exposure of investigators to the images.
No doubt the technology will be equally effective in detecting rude pictures of heads of state, celebrity sex and cartoons of Mohammed, or whatever other pictures the authorities would like to put people in prison for.