onedrive2A Pennsylvania man has been arrested on child pornography charges after Microsoft tipped off law enforcement that he had uploaded a pair of illicit images to his OneDrive account, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun.

The man, 20-year-old Tyler Hoffman, allegedly obtained the images through the Kik messenger app on his smartphone and then uploaded them to Microsoft’s online storage service. Microsoft then informed the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about the OneDrive account, and the fact that it was linked with Hoffman’s Facebook profile. That information was passed off to the Pennsylvania State Police.

Microsoft was able to detect the images through the use of PhotoDNA, technology that it developed alongside Dartmouth College, which is designed to make it possible to identify images and tip law enforcement without requiring staff to look at the offending files. The same technology is used by a variety of tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter.

That’s in line with Microsoft’s Services Agreement, which says that the company deploys “automated technologies to detect child pornography or abusive behavior that might harm the system, our customers, or others.”

The news comes after a Texas man was arrested on child porn charges after Google sent a tip to law enforcement about the contents of an email he sent using Gmail. Google also uses PhotoDNA, alongside some of its own home-grown technology, to run its image-detection algorithms.

Comments

  • http://www.extendedresults.com/ Patrick Husting

    I’m glad they nailed the guy. BUT, why are they scanning everyones images and files?

  • N S

    It’s in the terms of use:

    3.6. What type of Content or actions aren’t permitted? In order to protect our customers and the Services, we have established this Code of Conduct governing the use of the Services. Content or actions that violate this Agreement aren’t permitted.

    i. Don’t use the Services to do anything illegal.

    ii. Don’t engage in any activity that exploits, harms, or threatens to harm children.

    iii. Don’t send spam or use your account to help others send spam. Spam is unsolicited bulk email, postings or instant messages.

    iv. Don’t publicly display inappropriate images (e.g. nudity, bestiality, pornography).

    v. Don’t engage in activity that is false or misleading (e.g. attempts to ask for money under false pretenses, impersonating someone else).

    vi. Don’t engage in activity that is harmful to the Services or others (e.g. viruses, stalking, hate speech, advocating violence against others).

    vii. Don’t infringe upon the rights of others (e.g. unauthorized sharing of copyrighted music, resale or other distribution of Bing maps, photographs and other Content).

    viii. Don’t engage in activity that violates the privacy of others.

    In many cases Microsoft is alerted to violations of the Code of Conduct through customer complaints, but we also deploy automated technologies to detect child pornography or abusive behavior that might harm the system, our customers, or others. When investigating these matters, Microsoft or its agents will review Content in order to resolve the issue. This is in addition to the uses we describe in this Agreement and the Privacy Statements.

    • http://www.extendedresults.com/ Patrick Husting

      Wow, you read it. :o)

      But, what about people that are backing up pictures of their kids? We all have baby pictures on our computers.

  • Regret

    I’m in favor of companies using tools like PhotoDNA to enforce their own terms of use if they wish, especially when a company is very transparent about the practice (as Microsoft and Google are being here with their publicized use of PhotoDNA). Users who are uncomfortable having their files scrutinized in this manner can choose a different option. Privacy-invading practices like this get more concerning to me when they are done surreptitiously by companies or by government agencies without a search warrant.

    • http://www.extendedresults.com/ Patrick Husting

      Agree, moving off OneDrive and gDrive now. Thx

  • Deruman

    Agreed with Patrick Husting — I’m glad the pedophile was caught. But I can’t think think of a better reason for not getting too comfortable with these storage services. The last thing I want is for commercial providers of services to be scanning my files to see if I violate their corporate policy determining what’s OK/not-OK. Sounds like a pretty slippery slope…

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.