Cuomo

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) -- New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that he has started a new initiative to help social networking sites keep child pornography off of the Internet.

The initiative uses a database containing hash values, considered to be digital fingerprints in the internet world, that will be made available to social networking sites. Over 8,000 child pornography image hash tags have been collected by Cuomo's office.

Both Facebook and MySpace have already signed up to use the database to help stop child porn and Cuomo has urged other major sites to come on board.

"To stop the flow of child pornography online, we must be vigilant and we must be creative," Cuomo said. "This initiative joins law enforcement, hi-tech innovation and strong partnerships with industry leaders like Facebook and MySpace. This new resource gives companies a tool to make their sites safer, and I call on all social networking sites to use it immediately."

ACuomo has reached out to Black Planet, Buzznet, eSpin/eCrush, Flickr, Flixster, Fotolog, Friendster, hi5, LiveJournal, MyLife, Orkut, Stickam and Stardoll.

"We have worked proactively with states' attorneys general and law enforcement on a range of Internet safety and security issues and we are pleased to collaborate with Attorney General Cuomo on this important initiative," Joe Sullivan, Facebook's chief security officer, said. "Protecting Facebook users, especially the many young people who use our site, has always been a top priority and we devote significant resources to developing innovative systems to proactively monitor the site for suspicious activity and the rare cases of illegal content."

The Division of Criminal Justice Services will house and maintain the database. As the information collected grows, these hash values will also be given to law enforcement agencies to aid in investigations and in the prosecution of serious crimes against children.

"I'm proud to once again join with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to unveil our latest collaborative effort to protect our communities," Laura Ahearn, executive director for Parents for Megan's Law, said. "His office's innovation and partnership is the key to making the internet-and our children-safe. This new database will make it easier for social networking Web sites to police themselves and keep dangerous material at bay.

"I applaud the attorney general's efforts to keep kids safe and look forward to continuing to work with his office."

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New York Attorney General
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