Microsoft launched a cloud version of PhotoDNA, which prevents people from uploading child pornography to websites.
Although the original suspects might have long since been caught and their victims freed, these illegal images continue to be traded online by other paedophiles.
The company has developed the PhotoDNA service in coordination with Darthmouth College in the year 2009. It is now available as a free service from the Azure Marketplace, allowing organizations to automatically detect child exploitation images on their services and report this illegal content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other law enforcement agencies.
PhotoDNA is reportedly ready to take on the 720,000 pictures of child pornography uploaded to the internet daily and help cleanse even the darkest parts of the web. It converts images into a common black-and-white format and uniform size, then divides the images into squares and assigns a numerical value that represents the unique shading found within each square.
The new service is being used by Kik, a mobile chat network, and Flipboard. Kik uses PhotoDNA service to identify the illegal images as they are being uploaded and removes them instantly. PhotoDNA not only takes down photos depicting child abuse, but it also blocks the user’s account and sends the user’s detail to law enforcements and proper authorities to take legal measures.
In addition, Microsoft says that it has enhanced the algorithm used to identify illegal images making PhotoDNA 1,000 times faster than previous versions.
The principal researcher, Larry Zitnick at Microsoft, has played a vital role in developing the technology.
According to Courtney Gregoire, a senior attorney at Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, “Finding these known child sex abuse images in that huge universe is like finding a needle in a haystack”.