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Facing criticism for lack of action, Google donates to anti-child porn group

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 18:46 EDT
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Google pledged £1 million ($1.6 million, 1.2 million euros) on Wednesday to a British charity that monitors online child porn, just days after Prime Minister David Cameron demanded the Internet giant do more to tackle the problem.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an industry-funded body which identifies and helps remove criminal content online, said the “incredibly generous” donation would be paid over four years and allow it to hire five new staff.

Google is already one of the highest paying members of the 17-year-old foundation, contributing £20,000 a year alongside other media giants BT, Vodafone, Sky, Telefonica and EE.

The donation, thought to have been agreed in the past couple of days, is an attempt to allay criticism that Google is failing to do its part in ridding the Internet of pictures of child abuse.

On Saturday, Cameron demanded that Google and other search engines “use their extraordinary technical abilities to do more to root out these disgusting images”.

And culture minister Maria Miller has summoned representatives of several online giants including Google and Facebook for talks on June 17 to hear what they are doing to police their content.

There have been two high-profile trials over grisly child sex murders in Britain in recent weeks, and the killers of five-year-old April Jones and 12-year-old Tia Sharp were both found to have searched for child porn online.

IWF chief executive Susie Hargreaves said the donation was “incredibly generous” and demonstrated “moral leadership in the field”.

Scott Rubin, Google’s director of communications, said in a statement on the IWF website: “We have a zero-tolerance policy on child sexual abuse content.

“The IWF are essential partners in our fight to rid the Internet of this illegal material by providing us with lists of web pages that we block from search results.

“Our donation should help them do their work more quickly and efficiently.”

A spokesman for the culture ministry welcomed Google’s donation but said: “It’s just a first step.

“Parents are rightly worried about what their children have access to online and given the proliferation of child abuse imagery, we need a committed emphasis on tackling the problem.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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