I was actually going to post this earlier today, but the article I first saw on Slashdot was from some little Florida news site, and I wanted something a little more reputable. But then I thought that searching for “child porn database” probably wasn’t a good idea.
The gist of the article is that they’re going to catalog all known child porn images so we can scan for them. Now, I’m all in favor of getting rid of child porn. People who involve children in their sex lives should be sent to jail for a long, long time. But I think this is a misguided and doomed attempt to do something about it.
When you start scanning for these “known” images, it will drive people to find or create new images. You may catch some people who are emailing stuff to others, but I can’t imagine that’s really the bulk of the problem. I’d really rather catch the guy who makes the images rather than the guy who looks at them. And this database only encourages the making rather than the looking, because the old pictures are all marked. It’s basic economics - the old pictures are less valuable, and new ones are more valuable, so it encourages more people to make new images. I also don’t like the idea of a big database full of child porn. We’ve all seen lately how securely companies and the government protect sensitive data, like our social security numbers. What makes anyone think that the security on this database will be any better?