Web

Google, Facebook, Bing under fire for not enough anti-child porn funding in the U.K.

iwfGoogle, Facebook, and Microsoft are facing criticism for collectively donating less than one million dollars to a British charity organization responsible for monitoring obscene children-related content hosted in the U.K. The criticism isn’t about the fact that the companies donated, however, but about that each company didn’t donate enough for some people.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the British government’s Home Affairs Select Committee, has criticized the companies for their donations to the Internet Watch Foundation, which he described as so small as to make one doubt the sincerity of the contributions. “I am shocked that, despite the importance they have said they place on its role in keeping our children safe, they have donated such paltry amounts to [the IWF], which for them represent a drop in the ocean,” he said, adding that “it is difficult to take their commitment to protecting our children seriously.”

To put Vaz’s complaints in context, Google gave an estimated £20,000 to the IWF last year (Approximately $30,364 U.S.) with both Microsoft’s Bing and Facebook each contributing around that amount.

All three companies have come under fire for not doing more to support the restriction of child pornography online in the United Kingdom, and each have responded with statements noting that they are indeed taking part in the fight. Facebook says it “works closely with [the Child Exploitation and Online Protection center] in the U.K. to help bring offenders to justice,” while Microsoft’s spokesperson pointed out that any illegal content was immediately removed and reported to police when brought to the company’s attention.

Google, however, has been singled out for particular criticism on this subject, with the mother of a murdered teen calling for the company to “get [its] act together” over the subject. Scott Rubin, Google’s director of communications outside America, defended the company’s record by saying that Google is “very proactive and work with the right people, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the U.S. and the IWF, to keep child abuse content off all of our sites. Any implication we aren’t doing anything or we refuse to be part of removing this material is wrong.”

And as for the amounts of money each company is contributing towards the cause via donations to the IWF? It seems the organization’s board of trustees, Sir Richard Tilt, needs more. “There’s certainly scope for increasing our number of analysts, and we know if we had more analysts we could do better,” he said in reaction to the current controversy. “If we could get more money, that would enable us to do more.”

But does that money have to come from Internet companies, precisely?

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