Internet providers to combat child porn

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Internet providers to combat child porn

By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet WriterTue Jun 27, 12:35 AM ET

Five leading online service providers will jointly build a database of child-pornography images and develop other tools to help network operators and law enforcement better prevent distribution of the images.

The companies pledged $1 million among them Tuesday to set up a technology coalition as part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They aim to create the database by year's end, though many details remain unsettled.

The participating companies are Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news), Microsoft Corp., EarthLink Inc. and United Online Inc., the company behind NetZero and Juno.
Ernie Allen, the chief executive of the missing children's center, noted that the Internet companies already possess many technologies to help protect users from threats such as viruses and e-mail "phishing" scams. "There's nothing more insidious and inappropriate" than child pornography, he said.

The announcement comes as the U.S. government is pressuring service providers to do more to help combat child pornography. Top law enforcement officials have told Internet companies they must retain customer records longer to help in such cases and have suggested seeking legislation to require it.

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