Microsoft has announced that it's making technology available to law enforcement agencies to help fight the peddlers of child pornography.
The company announced that it's partnering with NetClean to make PhotoDNA image matching technology available to the police at no cost.
In a blog post, Associate General Counsel at Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, Bill Harmon, noted that the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children has reviewed more than 65 million images and videos of child sexual exploitation reported by law enforcement bodies in the past decade.
Harmon wrote: "We simply cannot allow people to continue trading these horrifying images online when we have the technology to help do something about it. Microsoft is proud to make PhotoDNA available to law enforcement, to help in their battle to quickly identify and rescue these children."
PhotoDNA is an image matching technology which creates a unique digital "fingerprint" for an image, allowing this to be compared to other images online to hunt out matching signatures, locating copies of the picture.
Facebook, along with Microsoft, currently uses PhotoDNA to sift out and eliminate such despicable images which might previously have gone unnoticed.
The PhotoDNA tech will be provided for free to police via numerous channels, including the NetClean Analyze system, Child Exploitation Tracking System, and in some cases direct licensing of the source code.