IWF chief Susie Hargreaves said that the org’s analysts had always removed reported images. “But in the past it could be uploaded again, and again,” she said.
“This was incredibly frustrating for us and dreadfully sad for those victims. Now our new technology allows us, and any company which uses the Image Hash List, to hunt out those abusive images, meaning Internet companies can completely stamp out copies, stop the sharing, and even stop the image being uploaded in the first place.
“This is a major breakthrough. Each and every one of these images is the painful record of a child being sexually abused. Their suffering is very real. These victims have the right to know someone is fighting this important battle.”
Potentially, this is a great technology to combat what is an ever-growing problem when it comes to images of children on the internet. The article goes on, however, to point out on of the dangers to allowing companies to do sort of real-time lookups of hashes, and that is storing the hash list in the cloud. Traditionally, the known images hash-list has been distributed to a very limited number of places. Law enforcement agencies, and a handful of technology companies. The list being stored in the cloud makes it a target for hackers in a way that hadn’t been true before, and if the list gets out into the public domain, it becomes easy to avoid getting caught up in it. We don’t want that.
Here’s hoping they can find a way to keep it secure, and still make it accessible to those trying to fight the scourge of child abuse images online!