Gates helps cops fight kiddy porn
Microsoft and the Toronto police are now developing software that will make it easier for police to investigate the dissemination of child pornography on the Internet. They hope to complete an initial version of the software in a month. The software is designed to store copies of all the images police find, creating a searchable database that can help them uncover similarities between cases. It can also analyze pictures and classify those that are child pornography, largely automating a job that consumes a huge amount of police labor.
A "really rotten day" at work in late January prompted a just-about-had-it Toronto police officer to e-mail a spontaneous plea to the world's richest man for help fighting child pornography. "To be real honest, I didn't expect anything back. I didn't even save the e-mail," said Det. Sgt. Paul Gillespie, a 25-year veteran of the Toronto force.
Microsoft Canada has already invested $600,000 Canadian ($450,000 U.S.) in the software project, which got under way in February, and does not know what the final cost will be.
The explosion in technology and the Internet have made the task of handling the exponential increase in child pornography almost impossible, police say.
"Three or four years ago ... the majority [of victims] would be 10, 12, 14 [years old] -- not to say that's better child porn, it all just memorializes criminal acts of the most heinous nature -- but in the last couple of years, we've just seen such young children on regular seizures -- babies, 2-, 3-, 4-year-olds."