Sunday, February 17, 2019

What is PhotoDNA Technology and How Does It Work?

Microsoft PhotoDNA

The decade of the 2010s is coming to end. This decade has shown super and hyper-exponential growth in scientific developments. Those are countless and it will be disrespect for other technology if they are not mentioned here. But yes, with great development also witnessed a boom in sexual and child abuse all across the globes. For this, the biggest software giant made greater progress to stop such types of nuisance existing in society. Yes, it is Microsoft. Microsoft believes its customers are entitled to safer and more secure online experiences that are free from illegal, objectionable and unwanted content.

What is PhotoDNA Technology?

PhotoDNA is the name and technology developed by Microsoft towards this thing. PhotoDNA is a core element of Microsoft’s voluntary business strategy to protect its customers, systems, and reputation by helping to create a safer online environment. In 2009 Microsoft partnered with Dartmouth College to develop PhotoDNA, a technology that aids in finding and removing some of the “worst of the worst” images of child sexual abuse from the Internet. Microsoft has provided PhotoDNA for free to help fight online child exploitation.

How PhotoDNA Technology Works:

How PhotoDNA Technology Works
Image Credits: Microsoft

Also read: What is reCaptcha?
  • This "robust hashing" technology, calculates the particular characteristics of a given digital image. Its digital fingerprint or "hash value" enables it to match it to other copies of that same image
  • Most common forms of hashing technology are insufficient because once a digital image has been altered in any way, whether by resizing, resaving in a different format or through digital editing, its original hash value is replaced by a new hash.
  • The image may look exactly the same to a viewer, but there is no way to match one photo to another through their hashes.
  • Once National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) assigns PhotoDNA signatures to known images of abuse, those signatures can be shared with online service providers, who can match them against the hashes of photos on their own services, find copies of the same photos and remove them.
  • Technology companies can use the mathematical algorithm and search their servers and databases to find matches to that image. 
  • When matches are found, the images can be removed as violations of the company's terms of use.
  • It is not facial recognition software. A PhotoDNA hash is not reversible, and therefore cannot be used to recreate an image.
  • Numerical values represent the “PhotoDNA signature,” or “hash,” of an image, which can then be compared to signatures of other images to find copies of a given image with incredible accuracy and at scale.
Also read: How PhotoDNA for Video is being used to fight online child exploitation.

PhotoDNA Cloud Service:

PhotoDNA Cloud Service leverages the speed, security, and efficiency of the Microsoft cloud to help detect, report and disrupt the distribution of child sexual abuse materials in an online environment. 

  • PhotoDNA Cloud Service runs on Azure and is provided free of charge to qualified companies and developers. It is not available to law enforcement at this time.
  •  PhotoDNA Cloud Service is specifically limited to scanning unknown content to detect illegal images.
  • For U.S.-based customers, the PhotoDNA Cloud Service provides an API to submit reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Internationally based customers will need to determine how to submit reports on their own.

PhotoDNA enables the U.S. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and leading technology companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, to match images through the use of a mathematical signature with a likelihood of false positive of 1 in 10 billion. Once NCMEC assigns PhotoDNA signatures to known images of abuse, those signatures can be shared with online service providers, who can match them against the hashes of photos on their own services, find copies of the same photos and remove them.
This is a precise, surgical technique for preventing the redistribution of such images and it is based on voluntary, private sector leadership. Also, by identifying previously "invisible" copies of identical photos, law enforcement may get new leads to help track down the perpetrators. These are among "the worst of the worst" images of prepubescent children being sexually abused, images that no one believes to be protected speech.

Why PhotoDNA Technology is being talked in India?

The Ministry of Home Affairs is in talks with Microsoft to acquire this technology. Though, India has achieved tremendously through Prevention of Child from Sexual Offences Act, 2018 (POCSO), adding this technology as an acumen will no doubt bring more enhancement in this work.
This will help the administration to keep an eye over child exploitation going in the country in all parts. Child Exploitation is one of the common crime increasing in these days and with PhotoDNA becoming part of our nation will eradicate up to a greater extent. 


No comments:
Write comments

Featured Post

Watched Everything on Netflix and Prime? Here are 5 more New Shows To Binge-Watch

The weekend is around and I am sure you will find some leisure time for yourself and would like to do some outdoor activities but since th...