New Child Pornography Software

In an effort to fight online child pornography, a researcher from the Polytechnic Institute of New York Universtity has developed software that allows authorities to sift through deleted photos in a computer’s trash to search for “potentially explicit images of children.”

The program scans for faces of children, nudity and other features to help flag images that could possibly be illegal contraband.

Using specialized techniques, the software has the ability to measure the distance between a person’s eyes and nose to determine whether it is a child or not. Photos must be a completely frontal depiction of the child’s face, which many times these kinds of photos are not.

The software was designed to help law enforcers capture sex offenders during a time when this kind of illegal activity is on the rise.  Proving only to be 70% accurate, it tries to alleviate some of the difficulties authorities have in fighting this problem. One such MAJOR hurdle is the fact that in developing this kind of software, it’s not only illegal for the sex offenders to view child porn but also the people developing the software to fight against it.

While this takes some great strides in online regulation, is it completely ethical? Is digging through someone’s digital trash for clues of child pornography (only to be 70% accurate) fair to those being accused? Should we hold off on implementing software like this till all the kinks are worked out? Or is this software, even with the kinks, an immediate necessity?


3 thoughts on “New Child Pornography Software

  1. This idea brings up a lot of privacy issues for people. I feel that spreading this around will cause a moral panic. I feel that people now hearing about it may start becoming suspicious or rather feel like they are being judged if their trash is chosen to be sorted through.I feel that once all the kinks are worked out then people will feel less panicky and less likely to point the finger at individuals. I am surprised this is so public though and not something only the police use since it is their jobs.

  2. Like Lizzy says, I think the first thing that is going to pop into peoples’ minds is the thought that someone may be randomly scanning someone else’s computer for child pornography at any given. What happens when they find old, deleted naked photos of their children on the computer? I mean, surely these photos do not constitute child pornography. They’re just the innocent naked bathtub photos that parents like to take when their children are small. Will these photos tip off the program? It would be quite embarrassing to bust someone for child pornography when the person at fault is completely innocent.

    I don’t know. To me, it seems kind of fishy to go through old deleted files of anyone’s computer unless they are 100% sure that they will find something.

  3. I think we should hold off on implementing this software until all the kinks are worked out and the software is 100% accurate. Going in someones trash is a complete violation of privacy and if that privacy is going to be violated than the software should at least guarantee that an offense was made.Like mentioned above many people have nude bathtub photos of their children on their computers and if these photos end up in the trash does it potentially place the wrong people at risk of being accused of child pornography? I think this software is a great idea in regulating child pornography online but definitely feel the kinks need to be worked out before the software is used.

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