June 17, 2013

Google donates $7m to fight against online child abuse images

Google has pledged $7m (£4.5m) to organisations involved in the fight against online child abuse images after coming under pressure to do more to block access to child pornography.

MPs and children's charities have been ramping up the pressure on Google and other internet search engines to not only block searches for child abuse images but to alert authorities to anyone searching for such material.

This follows the recent UK convictions of Mark Bridger, for the murder of five-year-old April Jones, and Stuart Hazell, for the murder of 12-year-old Tia Sharp, both of whom were found to have routinely searched for child abuse images online.

In response, Google has pledged $5m (£3.2m) to help organisations such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in the crackdown on child pornography.

It has further promised to establish a $2m (£1.3m) Child Protection Technology Fund to "encourage the development of ever more effective tools" for detecting and removing child abuse images.

In a blog announcing the donation, Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google Giving, said: "We’re in the business of making information widely available, but there’s certain 'information' that should never be created or found.

"We can do a lot to ensure it’s not available online – and that when people try to share this disgusting content they are caught and prosecuted."

This week will see a Westminster summit chaired by culture secretary Maria Miller that is expected to result in a new "zero tolerance" approach to freely available material on the web and smartphones.

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