Inspired by an email written by a Toronto police officer to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Microsoft is developing new software to aid police in the fight against child pornography.
After a particuarly difficult day, a Toronto police officer sent a note to Bill Gates about the difficulties that he faced. "To be real honest, I didn't expect anything back. I didn't even save the e-mail," said Det. Sgt. Paul Gillespie, a 25-year veteran of the Toronto force.
Much to his surprise, three weeks later Sgt. Gillespie received a call from Microsoft Canada.
Microsoft and the Toronto police, where Gillespie is in charge of the child exploitation section, are now developing software that will make it easier for police to investigate the dissemination of child pornography on the Internet. They hope to complete an initial version of the software in a month. The software is designed to store copies of all the images police find, creating a searchable database that can help them uncover similarities between cases. It can also analyze pictures and classify those that are child pornography, largely automating a job that consumes a huge amount of police labor and is emotionally exhausting.