Safe Internet League to Combat Child Pornography with Photo DNA


The Safe Internet League has become the first Russian NGO to be licensed by Microsoft to use its Photo DNA software to combat child pornography, joining a sel ected group of international organizations. The software will enable it to zero in on child pornography web sites and flag them for subsequent blocking, as well as to find and help the child victims of the illegal industry.

Developed in 2009, the Photo DNA technology was first donated to the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) who pioneered its application in combatting child pornography. The software is capable of analysing images and videos, assigning them unique IDs to later compare with, that is, to find their copies, even the edited ones. For example, NCMEC routinely checks web sites, comparing their contents against its blacklist of millions of Photo DNA IDs of child pornography photos and videos, and demands that sites flagged positive be taken down.

The technology is currently used to detect illegal images by some of the Internet giants like Facebook and Twitter. The Safe Internet League became the first NGO in Russia (and one of the first internationally), to be licenced to use Photo DNA. The League is planning to use the software not only to detect web sites hosting illegal content, but also to help the exploited children. «We have a photo and video archive of child pornography which is the largest in Russia. Sadly, it is constantly growing. There are thousands of children depicted in it — most of them victims. But investigating cases of distribution or production of child pornography, the police do not ask themselves who these children are, and what became of them. Using Photo DNA would not only help us track copies of the material we archived, but to find the children involved. For example, it could ID a child and then search for him or her on the Internet or in the Interior Ministry’s databases to find out where this photo or video originated from, whom it was confiscated fr om, who were the persons behind it. This way we will be able to gather information and help this child», said Safe Internet League CEO Denis Davydov.