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Research: child porn can still be found through Microsoft Bing

It appears to be possible to find child pornography with Microsoft’s search engine Bing. The New York Times investigated this and was able to find dozens of images. Microsoft states that there was an error in the search algorithms.

To be able to research child pornography , The New York Times developed a program that can be used to automatically search for images without showing them on the screen. To detect child pornography, dozens of searches related to the subject were used, after which the image URLs that Bing returned were collected. In this way the American newspaper could collect links to images without having to load the images into the browser itself.

After detecting the image URLs, they were forwarded to PhotoDNA, the program developed by Microsoft itself to filter content based on image recognition. In many cases, a match was noted, which means that they were known images of child pornography. Because Yahoo and DuckDuckGo use the Bing search engine, the images were also found at these companies.

After the discovery, the URLs were forwarded to, among others, the Canadian Center for Child Protection, which deals with detecting and combating child pornography. The organization indicated that there is indeed child pornography on the images found. The New York Times could not find anything at Google’s search engine, but according to the Canadian Center for Child Protection, child pornography is also sometimes found there. In some cases, Google would have initially refused to delete the images.

In a response, Microsoft told The New York Times that child porn could be found through the search engine due to an error in the algorithms. Microsoft says that this has since been restored, so that the images no longer have to be findable.

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