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Google’s Anti-Child Porn Software Leads Police to Man Who Emailed Images

An automated system within Gmail, which scans emails for “a unique digital fingerprint” of images of child pornography, alerted authorities to a 41-year-old Houston man who was arrested last week for possessing the pictures. Last year, Google announced it was taking the new steps to partner with authorities in an effort to find users who share and store the illegal images of child sexual abuse. The Verge explains,

Google makes use of Microsoft’s PhotoDNA technology to scan emails and calculate a mathematical hash for an image of child sexual abuse that allows it to recognize photos automatically even if they have been altered. The tech is now also used by both Twitter and Facebook, after Microsoft donated it to the NCMEC in 2009.

Essentially, their system automatically identifies the illegal images without manual intervention or monitoring. In a statement to AFP news, Google clarified that their Gmail system is only used to identify the images of child sexual abuse, and does not scan emails for other kinds of content that “could be associated with criminal activity” …

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