Microsoft's Bing may play a distant second fiddle against Google search, but they are the first to introduce a pop up warning for anyone in the UK who are searching for child abuse images. The popup will tell the user that the images are illegal and will then provide details for a counselling service.
David Cameron is working hard to block porn images as well as images detailing child abuse, so Microsoft are being proactive with their own software to block users from accessing the illegal images. Yahoo are also saying that they will consider a similar move soon and as they use Bing technology on their search page it would be easy to implement.
Google, the most popular search engine are not planning to use popup warnings but said they would continue to report problem material and help experts combat the sites.
The Bing pop up warning only applies to searches conducted in the UK. It is triggered when people search for words specifically set on a blacklist system, compiled by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (Ceop).
Microsoft announced that the notifications are aimed “to stop those who may be drifting towards trying to find illegal child abuse content on the web via search engines'. A spokesman said “This is in addition to Microsoft's existing and longstanding policy of removing any verified links to illegal content of this sort from Bing as quickly as possible.”
“Microsoft has been, and remains, a strong proponent of proactive action in reasonable and scalable ways by the technology industry in the fight against technology-facilitated child exploitation. We have teams dedicated globally to abuse reporting on our services and the development of new innovations to combat child exploitation more broadly.”
The BING alert falls short of Cameron's proposal which will alert people of the consequences of a criminal conviction for their actions, even losing their job, their family or access to their own children. Cameron said in a briefing “There are some searches which are so abhorrent and where there can be no doubt whatsoever about the sick and malevolent intent of the searcher.”
Kitguru says: The first stage already underway.