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Thursday, February 02, 2023

Major search engines to warn about potential child porn searches

Google and Microsoft are partnering to tackle the global problem of online child pornography, and some UF students are happy with the companies’ efforts.

Internet users can now receive pop-up warnings if they Google search terms that could be associated with child pornography.

Microsoft, which claims a zero-tolerance approach to the issue, will incorporate a buzzword tagging feature on Yahoo and Bing. The company will also use Microsoft PhotoDNA to find illegal pictures and remove them, according to a Microsoft press release.

Arren De La Torre, the founding president of Gators Against Human Trafficking, said she is glad to see the efforts Microsoft and Google are taking and thinks they will help prevent crime.

“I believe the combination of this preventative measure of Google and Microsoft’s, along with increasing efforts to advocate and combat against human trafficking, can end (it) within 30 years,” De La Torre, a 20-year-old UF advertising junior, wrote in an email. “I hope that my kids will be able to finally say that slavery is defeated.”

Peter Barron, a Google spokesman, said in a statement that while the company already removes offensive material, there was more to be done.

“We are fine tuning our search engine to prevent this material appearing in our results,” he wrote in an email. “We hope this will make (a) difference in the fight against this terrible crime.”

Awurama Acquah, a 19-year-old UF advertising sophomore, said the measure is raising awareness for an uncomfortable subject.

“Human trafficking is something people don’t want to talk about,” she said. “But more needs to be done about it.”

A version of this story ran on page 5 on 11/25/2013 under the headline "Search engines warn about porn"

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