Google Helps Find Child Victims

Stephen Yagielowicz
LOS ANGELES — Internet search giant Google is helping the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) by developing software to automate child pornography investigations.

The cooperative partnership is a natural as technology plays a central role in the success of NCMEC's efforts to combat child pornography.

Google's Dr. Shumeet Baluja and his team created the new video and image search tools to help NCMEC track down child predators and victims of child exploitation.

"One of our core strengths here at Google is our ability to manage and organize immense amounts of information – whether it's text, image, audio, or video – and make it more useful and accessible for users," Baluja said. "As a member of Google's research group, I realized that NCMEC had an immediate need for some of our research-stage technology."

According to a statement issued by NCMEC, its Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP) analysts have reviewed more than 13 million child pornography images and videos to identify and rescue children in cooperation with federal law enforcement.

"Criminals are using cutting-edge technology to commit their crimes of child sexual exploitation, and in fighting to solve those crimes and keep children safe, we must do the same," said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. "That is why we are so grateful to Google for providing new tools that will enable the National Center to better serve law enforcement in battling exploitation and rescuing children."

The Google technology eases the process of sorting and identifying files that may contain child pornography by comparing them to known CP images and videos.

"At Google, we are focused on creating innovative technology to organize information and have expertise in computer processing of images," Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Research at Google, said. "The tools we've built for NCMEC will allow its analysts to more efficiently and accurately manage the task of sifting through the videos and images they have collected."

Google has been a member of the Technology Coalition and the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography since 2006 and has also donated a Google Search Appliance, Google Earth Enterprise, and in-kind advertising through Google Grants to further support NCMEC's programs and mission.

The nonprofit National Center for Missing & Exploited Children works in cooperation with the U.S. Justice Department and operates a CyberTipline that has handled more than 570,000 leads covering more than 140,900 missing child cases, which resulted in the recovery of more than 124,500 children since the organization's founding in 1984.