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How Google handles child pornography in Gmail, search

Mark Hachman | Aug. 6, 2014
Google says that it will match images of child pornography against a digital database of illegal images that the company itself compiles.

Google has taken a similar approach to images of child pornography at issue in the Skillern case. Google itself compiles a database of images of possible abuse that have been brought to the company's attention, sources close to the company said. Those images are then reviewed by a human employee. If confirmed to show abuse, the company assigns each image a unique digital fingerprint, which is entered into its database. Images sent via Gmail are then compared to the image database on file and then presumably sent to the NCMEC CyperTipline, as required by law.

Google hasn't said anything about photos that are uploaded to Google Drive, and then shared via email or other means. But we all know that most cloud services are not inviolable. Google is simply taking action to shut down Gmail as a distribution medium for the darkest corners of the Internet.


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