Bing becomes first search engine to display warnings when searching for child abuse images


Bing warning

Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged search engine providers, such as Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo, to “step up to the plate” and stop providing child abuse pictures in search results. Now, Microsoft has taken this to heart and Bing is now the first search engine to implement a pop-up warning when searching for images of child abuse.

Applying only to those searching in the United Kingdom, Bing will now display a pop-up warning that is triggered when a search query matches a “blacklist” complied by the Child Exploitation and Online Protecton Centre (CEOP). The message basically states that child abuse material is illegal and provides details of a counselling service.

“There needs to be a list of terms, a blacklist, which offer up no direct search returns. There are some searches which are so abhorrent and where they can be no doubt whatsoever about the sick and malevolent intent of the searcher. I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest. You have a duty to act on this — and it is a moral duty,” Cameron stated in a speech in London, England, a few days ago.

Microsoft’s goal is to help prevent those who are “drifting” towards finding illegal child abuse content on the internet. “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. It is a small, initial part of the solution to prevent child sexual abuse, protect children and pursue offenders,” a Microsoft spokesperson added.

Microsoft also added that the company has dedicated teams around the world that monitor reports of abuse on Bing searches as well as development of new innovations to fight child exploitation. Yahoo, which uses Bing’s search technology, is considering the same implementation. Google, on the other hand, may be the most popular search engine in the United Kingdom, will not be using pop-up warnings. Instead, Google plans on simply doing what they are already doing and that’s “report material and help experts combat the problem.”