Microsoft’s Noblest Cause - A blog by Christine Arena

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Microsoft’s Noblest Cause - A blog by Christine Arena

Christine is co-founder and CEO of sparkUp, start-up stakeholder engagement technology company. She is also an award-winning author, syndicated blogger and corporate strategist
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The 3BL Media blog roll is a select list of the most influential, respected, and authoritative voices in corporate social responsibility. Compiled from the 3BL Media staff’s extensive contacts with longtime CSR commentators, these bloggers offer relevant news, opinions, and ideas about all things CSR in one convenient place.    

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 11:49am


Child pornography is the Internet’s most severe social problem. In recent years it has exploded as countless illicit images are circulated online – viewed by pedophiles and passed around from predator to predator. Since 2003, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has reviewed and analyzed almost 30 million of these images. It projects that an additional nine million images will be examined in the coming year. NCMEC also acknowledges that the scope of the child porn problem is too large for law enforcement, policy makers and child protection groups to handle on their own. Enter the world’s second biggest technology company.

“We can help make a big dent,” Microsoft SVP and General Counsel Brad Smith told a group of journalists, bloggers and industry influencers at the company’s recent Citizenship Accelerator Summit. “These photos live on the Internet forever and every time they are shared or viewed, the children in them are re-victimized. It’s not enough to stop the perpetrators. The real point is getting these images off the Internet.”

In 2009, Microsoft donated a new technology to the NCMEC that has the potential to make the kind of dent Smith talks about. The technology, called PhotoDNA, was initially created by Microsoft Research and then further developed by Hany Farid, a leading digital-imaging expert and professor of computer science at Dartmouth College. Using a unique digital blueprinting technology that has a 98 percent accuracy rate, PhotoDNA finds hidden copies of the worst images of child sexual exploitation known today.

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