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Google flings another £1m at online child sex abuse vid CRACKDOWN

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Google has pledged a further $2m (£1.27m) to encourage the development of tools that seek and destroy online child sex abuse material.

The advertising giant is keen to prove to the British government and the popular press that it's doing all it can to eradicate the vile images and videos from the web.

By throwing money at the problem, the cloud-powered Android maker hopes to placate UK ministers who have questioned the company's commitment to blocking nasty material on the internet.

Execs from Google are among the web outfits visiting Culture Secretary Maria Miller today: she ordered the likes of Facebook, Microsoft and BT to a summit to explain what they are doing to filter out harmful content such as child abuse images and hate speech.

Late last week, Google donated £1m to the Internet Watch Foundation after it had previously only contributed tiny annual amounts to the organisation.

At the weekend, Google said in an official blog post that it had recently begun incorporating encrypted "fingerprints" of child sex abuse images into a cross-industry database. The company said it had "used 'hashing' technology to tag known child sexual abuse images" since 2008.

The system allows Google to spot duplicate images elsewhere on the net because they end up with a unique ID that it said can be detected by computers without "humans having to view them again".

But the Larry Page-run corporation wants third parties such as the IWF to continue to be the gatekeepers who prevent such content from being easily accessible online, which is why - with government pressure - Google has now spent more cash tackling the problem.

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

Meanwhile, Britain's national telco BT has begun highlighting netizens' attempts to access websites that have been placed on a blacklist. Previously, BT's Cleanfeed tech - developed with the IWF - returned a 404 Error on dodgy sites its subscribers were trying to access.

Now the following message appears:

Access has been denied by your internet service provider because this page may contain indecent images of children as identified by the Internet Watch Foundation. If you think this page has been blocked in error please contact iwfenquiries@bt.com.

BT told The Register that other ISPs, such as TalkTalk, can now use the Cleanfeed tech to help tackle child abuse images found online.

Separately, Britain's biggest ISPs will all offer network-level filtering of websites by the end of this year, following warnings from the government that the industry could be regulated should it fail to take appropriate action. ®

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