Facebook Coorperates With NY Attorney General To Prevent Child Pornography

Today, New York Attorney General Cuomo announced a new initiative with Facebook to “eliminate thousands of images of child pornography”. Facebook was already blocking child pornography, however this new database aims to increase protection against the issue. Other social networking sites have not effectively protected against child pornography, including Tagged.com who Cuomo claims has had lapses with protection against such images.

So how does this database function? Here’s how the release describes the technology:

This groundbreaking initiative is based on a database of hash values, which are the equivalent of digital fingerprints. Each image of child pornography has this digital fingerprint. The Attorney General’s Office has collected more than 8,000 such fingerprints as a result of Internet safety investigations. The database can be used as a net, finding an offending picture through the fingerprint, catching that picture, and stopping it from ending up on a site. Facebook and MySpace have agreed to use Attorney General Cuomo’s database to block any attempt to share these images on their social networks.

It’s a similar strategy that many music companies have used when pursuing digital music pirates. By implementing this technology, Facebook can ensure that none of the images in the database ever appear on the site. MySpace is also participating in the program and Cuomo has called on thirteen other sites (Black Planet; Buzznet; eSpin/eCrush; Flickr; Flixster; Fotolog; Friendster; hi5; Live Journal; MyLife (formerly Reunion.com); Orkut; Stickam; and Stardoll) to implement the technology.

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