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Bill Gates dropped into Paris this week to discuss combating online child abuse with French ministers. French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy met the Microsoft founder on Monday to hold talks1 on the development of criminality on the net, child pornography and the struggle against online paedophilia, AFP reports.

Microsoft has developed a software tool designed to track online child predators. The Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS), which was jointly developed by Microsoft Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Toronto Police Service, is a collaboration tool built on a platform of other Microsoft technologies such as Windows SharePoint Services and SQL Server. CETS is designed to help investigators to share information. In beta form, the software helped in a US child abuse inquiry dating back to November 2004.

AFP reckons that Microsoft's tracking technology was one of the principal topics of the meeting and it's difficult to disagree with the conclusion that Gates is trying to flog his software to the French Gendarmerie. You can read more about Microsoft's little publicised tracking technology here. ®

1 The meeting, described as discreet and taking place in "conditions of absolute secrecy" in French reports, was obviously not so secret that the subjects under discussion remained confidential.

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