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Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) has linked up with MSN Instant Messenger to alert the police about sex offenders.

CEOP has come to an agreement with Microsoft that has led to the provision of a "report abuse" icon on MSN Messenger, soon to be Windows Live Messenger. The reports will be sent to police and intelligence officers trained in tackling child abuse.

Children and adults logging complaints will have to go through a number of "qualifies" to determine the nature of the alleged abuse. They will also have to reveal their own details and cut and paste the offending message.

A CEOP spokesperson told GC News: "Because the reporting is not anonymous it will filter out malicious reports."

The officers will then advise the person reporting the incident if necessary, and if immediate action is required they will inform the local police station.

CEOP is also the UK representative in the international alliance of law enforcement agencies Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), which will pool information worldwide and give access to a global police response.

UK citizen reports will be investigated by CEOP and reports in US, Australia, Canada, or Interpol will take the matter in their own countries.

Chief executive of CEOP Centre and chair of VGT Jim Gamble said: "What Microsoft and CEOP are doing is saying enough is enough. By working together in a very clear and tangible way we can safeguard children from online sexual predators.

"We will tell you (the internet user) how to capture information and how to seize online discussions and then proactively do all we can to track down the perpetrator."

CEOP and Microsoft also plan to provide a new safety tip as part of the tab: for example, how to safeguard personal details or spot a potential threat.

The organisation said it is encouraging other instant relay chat providers to join up.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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