Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Should "Cloud" and anti-virus products regularly screen images' digital fingerprints against known CP databases?


A 2009 story on CNET about child pornography and viruses (link) discussed on the Internet Safety blog Nov. 11, 2009, suggests that Cloud computing services implement technology to compare “hash marks” or “digital fingerprints” of known illegal images (as identified, for example, by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), to prevent some illegal images from being uploaded.

This sounds a bit like the fingerprinting and watermarking advocated by the ICRA a few years ago as a way of voluntary content labeling to protect minors on the Internet, as litigated in COPA (struck down in 2007).  Since ICRA’s budding system no longer exists, the value of this British group’s ideas might have been lost.

Connect the dots, if you will.  Could anti-virus companies also check digital fingerprints of images against the NCMEC database as standard procedure, as a way of making sure that home users don’t unwittingly download illegal materials, or have them downloaded by viruses, especially in a P2P environment?

I have not heard of this technology being available, at the home or office computer level.  But maybe it should be.  If it were, would it be a legal responsibility for home users to implement it, and would legal standards of proof in c.p. prosecutions change?

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