Twitter to introduce a Microsoft-developed system called “PhotoDNA”. It is a tagging system which will prevent child abuse images being tweeted on its service. After introduction of Instagram and Twitter’s own photo tweeting, Twitter now sees millions of images being posted everyday with the Tweets.
PhotoDNA, maybe introduced later this year once complication of handling pictures posted alongside the Tweets is solved. Microsoft and Facebook already use PhotoDNA to monitor images posted to the social network from 2011, Microsoft’s Skydrive and Bing’s search engine also use to monitor the images and videos. Google has said that it does use a “hashing” technology to identify child abuse since 2008. It doesn’t use PhotoDNA, but has its own system.
The working of PhotoDNA is a complicated technology which produces a “hash” – a single number generated from the binary data of a picture or video, and some biometric information in the picture. The software still works if the image is resized or altered. The hash is compared to the databases of the country’s Child Victim Identification program like US’s National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s(NCMEC).
Microsoft developed the system in 2009 with Dartmouth College in USA, and donated the technology to NCMEC. The move by Twitter to step up efforts against child abuse mainly because pressure created by UK’s Prime Minister David Cameroon to block access to images of child abuse online particularly on search engines and ISPs.