Microsoft's Bing search engine has introduced a new service that shows a pop-up message, warning users who request for images of child abuse. Initially available in the UK, the pop-up message will warn users that the content is illegal and provides links to details of a counselling service. Bing's new service comes shortly after the UK government launched a crackdown on pornography on the web.
Microsoft says the pop-up messages are targeted to “stop those who may be drifting towards trying to find illegal child abuse content on the web via search engines".
"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,” says a Microsoft spokesperson.
"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 UK government recently launched a crackdown on online porn, asking ISPs to block such content.
In a speech , the UK PM David Cameron said: "I want to talk about the internet. The impact it is having on the innocence of our children. How online pornography is corroding childhood. And how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out. I'm not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence."
Microsoft, however, isn't the only Internet company to launch a campaign against child abuse online. Google recently launched a new initiative under which it will develop a new database of flagged images related to child porn and abuse that could be shared with other search engines and child protection bodies. The database is supposed to help purge all images of child pornography and abuse from most of the web.