Google Software Tools Help Find Child Victims

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children uses custom Google technology to combat child pornography.

by / April 15, 2008

Monday, Google announced a partnership to provide the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) with software tailored to help automate and streamline the technical assistance they provide to child pornography investigations.

Technology plays a central role in the success of NCMEC's efforts to combat child pornography. Working in cooperation with federal law enforcement agencies, analysts with NCMEC's Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP) have reviewed more than 13 million child pornography images and videos to identify and rescue children. To help improve this overwhelming process, a team of Google engineers led by Dr. Shumeet Baluja created innovative software tools to help NCMEC track down child predators and victims of child exploitation through video and image search.

"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 will enable NCMEC analysts to more quickly and easily search NCMEC's systems to sort and identify files that contain images of child pornography victims. New video tools from Google will streamline analysts' review of video snippets from files seized in child pornography cases. Comparing these images and videos through an automated process enabled by custom-built Google technology has a real potential to assist law enforcement in child pornography investigations.

"At Google, we are focused on creating innovative technology to organize information and have expertise in computer processing of images," said Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Research at Google. "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."

In August 2006, Google joined the Technology Coalition and the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography, industry initiatives launched by NCMEC and its sister agency, the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, to develop solutions that disrupt the ability of predators to use the Internet to exploit children or traffic in child pornography.