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A group of US internet giants have come together to form an alliance in a bid to combat child pornography.

AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, EarthLink and United Online have teamed up to create a database of known child pornography images, with each image being assigned a unique mathematical signature within the database. The new technology coalition will also develop tools to help network operators and the authorities to prevent images in the database from being distributed online.

The group aims to get the database up and running by the end of the year.

Some $1m has already been promised by the companies for the campaign, which will be run as part of the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

Each of the ISPs will use the database in different ways - AOL, for example, plans to scan email attachments for known child porn images. Future plans could include developing tools that will help scan other methods of communication - such as instant messaging - for the illegal images.

In recent times, internet service providers have been coming under increasing pressure from US authorities to up the ante against child porn, and are facing tough new legislation to force them to do so.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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