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Taking the Child Exploitation Fight to the Cloud

Google Helps NCMEC Locate Child Victims


Donated Google Cloud Platform Services Will Exponentially Increase Ability to Help Locate Victims.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., November 2, 2017 – Today, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® announced that a recent donation of compute services is expected to have what NCMEC is calling, a “massive impact” on its fight against child sexual exploitation. The donation of Google Cloud Platform technologies will increase NCMEC’s ability to process and analyze the millions of child sexual abuse images reported to its CyberTipline every year, with a goal of helping law enforcement identify and rescue more child victims.

“Every report we receive may represent a child that desperately needs help and last year alone we received more than 8 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation, most of which involved child sexual abuse images,” said John Clark, NCMEC president and CEO. “We cannot afford to lose time based on limitations in computing power, so Google Cloud Platform’s ability to expand processing power as needed is a game-changer for us.”

To date, 215 million images and videos of child sexual abuse have been analyzed by NCMEC. Each image is identified by a hash value, which serves as a digital fingerprint. Though images and videos are sometimes shared multiple times by offenders and may be included in multiple reports, the hash values can be compared to determine which files have been identified and which haven’t. This reduces the time needed to locate images within a report that contain new or unknown victims.

“Because of the size of the files and the growing number of identified images, the ability to quickly triage reports by comparing hash values was limited on our servers,” said John Shehan, vice president of NCMEC’s Exploited Children Division. “Google Cloud is helping us keep pace, which is critical to our ability to help direct law enforcement to children who are being victimized.”

This donation is the latest in more than a decade of partnership between NCMEC and Google to reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent victimization. In addition to financial support and donated technology, Google also works closely with NCMEC’s engineers and analysts to brainstorm technology solutions and build customized tools. 

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