Location: Hyderabad, India


Well done Microsoft

Microsoft-funded system to fight child pornography is launched

Canada's Child Exploitation Tracking System was officially launched today, 27 months after a frustrated detective with the Toronto police department sent an E-mail message to Bill Gates requesting help with his department's effort to track down and prosecute child-pornography producers and consumers. Microsoft invested $2 million to develop the system, which is available to 26 law-enforcement agencies in Canada, and has pledged another $2 million to extend it further. Microsoft hopes to propogate more systems like it in other parts of the world.

CETS was developed by Microsoft Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and it's housed at the RCMP's National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre in Ottawa. Based on Microsoft software, the system lets investigators share, search, and analyze information across agencies. It makes "connections across millions of data points that no one investigator or team of investigators can do" on their own, says Tim Cranton, a senior attorney and director of Internet safety enforcement at Microsoft.

During beta testing last fall, the tracking system led to the arrest of an alleged child pornographer after Canadian law-enforcement officials matched some of their own data with information from U.S. and U.K. agencies.

CETS is just one of several initiatives at Microsoft aimed at stemming child pornography and promoting online safety for children. Child-protection experts at Microsoft are working with the Windows development team on potential ways of building protective mechanisms directly into the platform. "There is a group within the Windows team that is looking at these issues and making proposals," Cranton says.


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