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Microsoft Puts Police Link on Messenger 253

SirClicksalot writes "Microsoft is working together with the UK Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre to help protect Windows Live Messenger Users. UK users will be able to report suspected sexual predators directly to the police. From the article: 'Microsoft will add a "report abuse" icon to Messenger that will link any users worried about their anonymous internet buddies directly to online police services. Set up earlier this year to provide a single point of contact for the public, law enforcers and the communications industry to report the targeting of children online, CEOP offers advice and information to parents and potential victims of abuse and works with police forces around the world to protect children.'"
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Microsoft Puts Police Link on Messenger

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  • abuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:13PM (#15965557) Homepage
    Microsoft is working together with the UK Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre to help protect Windows Live Messenger Users. UK users will be able to report suspected sexual predators directly to the police.

    Oh yeah, I can't see this being abused at all. Especially by teenagers just screwing around.
  • direct to police?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Speare ( 84249 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:16PM (#15965587) Homepage Journal

    One of the most convenient ways of destroying someone's life forever is to hint that they're a pedd-o to the police. One of the least credible sources of information is through chat and blog and instant message internet services. This sounds like a great way to completely twist the whole of society tightly around the axle for years to come.

  • predator detection (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flidigital ( 997364 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:17PM (#15965592) Homepage
    Microsoft and everyone else has more important things to do than build 'predator features' into their software.
  • by Oddster ( 628633 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:17PM (#15965600)
    Anybody else greatly reminded of the Warning feature on AIM? No, people aren't going to screw around with this at all, everybody will be fair and sensible and only use it when justified.
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:20PM (#15965623) Homepage
    Some people here have been saying "what about the abuse" well seeing as they will know who is reporting the abuse then if you are just pratting about then those same police who are looking for predators can also send a threating response for wasting police time (a punishable offence). Unlike making crank calls from a telephone box this is very traceable.

    Good idea, and well done Microsoft.
  • by Winterblink ( 575267 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:23PM (#15965646) Homepage
    ... is that it's the poor police who'll be feeling abused.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:26PM (#15965679)
    You Sir are an Idiot.

    Try to explain THAT to a 13 yo who is pissed off at his/her friend/teacher/whatever.

    There WILL be abuse and while it's always nice to 'think of the children' this is the most idiotic feature I ever seen in a piece of software.

    Making calls is not traceable? Where do you leave?
  • by Azarael ( 896715 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:27PM (#15965687) Homepage
    Because M$ could send them your ip as well. If they keep any kind of logs of which IP you generally access MSN from, they could do at least as good of a job as the RIAA does (lucky you). Unless you always use a good proxy, there is a pretty good chance they could figure out who you are, if they tried.
  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:27PM (#15965690) Journal
    We already have ways of reporting pedophiles. You can pick up the phone, you can write a letter, or you can walk into a police station. It doesn't need to be made any easier. Why don't people do this? Because their confidence in the police is low. They think the police either won't act for lack of evidence(in which case it can be a waste of time or worse the police might acuse them of making the situation up), or the police may over-react to information given and you could ruin someone's life based on a vague suspicion.

    What you need to do is increase confidence in the police by making sure they always respond appropriately to legitimate complaints. Adding a "report a pedo" form is just plain silly.
  • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:30PM (#15965708) Homepage Journal
    Pretty much what I was thinking too -- besides, many countries have youth offence acts so if a child falsely accuses an adult, the adult has the potential to lose their entire livelihood not to mention ruin their lives and the child gets a slap on the wrist. This needs severe caution.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:31PM (#15965716) Homepage Journal
    So now you can rat out anyone you feel like, even when they do nothing wrong just beacuse you are an ass.

    Bring down the man on them.. Good way to scare away users.
  • Re:abuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:31PM (#15965723) Homepage Journal
    something called 'filing a false police report' or something similar, and as i recall it actually has some pretty scary consequences associated with it

    I don't think a worm (or someone prepared to make one) is going to be afraid of the consequences, regardless of the jurisdiction.
  • by Jtheletter ( 686279 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:39PM (#15965781)
    This will be heavily abused by kids just messing with each other. Yeah, no one would ever click this button as a joke on their friend. Without some sort of punishment for abuse of the system by the submitter this will work the same as blanket phone wiretaps - simply increase the size of the haystack in which one is searching for a needle.
  • by andrewd18 ( 989408 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:43PM (#15965805)
    Yet another reason to use something other than MSN for instant messaging chat programs.
    1. Integrates with my MSN Passport so people can link my screen name to location information about me.
    2. Shows everybody the e-mail address I registered with; whee!
    3. Smileys that were beaten with the ugly stick (although not as bad as the 1990's-esque AIM smileys)
    4. Integrates with Outlook Express so that I can't turn it off if I'm e-mailing (unless I hack the registry)
    5. xxxsmgpwnagexxx and kittyluv1492 can now label me as a sexual predator with a click of a button
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:44PM (#15965821)
    The people who are really being abused probably aren't going to report it. If they are happy to just push a button to make it stop, why don't they just sign out or block the person?

    Aren't the worst cases of abuse when the target is manipulated by the abuser, so they will willing go along with it? Isn't that they -only- way someone on the interent could physically get in contact with the target for abuse? I don't see how this will stop that or even help prevent that at all.
  • bad idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moxley ( 895517 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @05:51PM (#15965868)
    I think that this is a horrible idea that can only serve to weaken online privacy (what little there is left), security (these days being secure to me means being protected from harassment or worse from the police state as much as being protected from normal criminals).

    I think that everyone who has said that this will be abused by idiots and kids is right, for the most part - but my real problem is that this is a first step to eroding anonymity (or semi-anonymity) online, because once that button has been there for a little while, then the authorities can say - "Well, we now need every IP to be verifiably tied to an ID because online police buttons might be pushed and we can't go throught trying to figure out who all of these sceennames are."
  • Building a case (Score:3, Insightful)

    by complexmath ( 449417 ) * on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @07:10PM (#15966313)
    Another reason people don't file police reports for this sort of thing are all the technical barriers that must be overcome: the complainant has to provide contextual information, at least including the time the incident occurred and who was involved. The police would then traditionally have to obtain warrants, contact AOL or MSN or whoever and pull IP logs, then do the same with the respective ISPs to get names and addresses. And if there is no reliable log of the conversation then the accused can deny the conversation ever took place.

    With this service, I would expect MSN to forward aliases, a full chat log with accurate timestamps, the IP addresses of the involved parties, profile information, and anything else MSN may have on record. This eliminates the need for diligence on the part of the complainant and a good bit of footwork for the police handling the issue. And so long as the interface is designed properly, I think the chance of accidental or fake reports to be quite low (not considering worms that may target the feature).

    All in all I think this is a fairly decent feature to add to a commercial chat client. If nothing else, it will likely be better than what we have now--ie. nothing.
  • by assassinator42 ( 844848 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @07:46PM (#15966493)
    And what happens if the user fakes what the other person said? Or does MSN messenger keep logs on the server of all open conversations?
  • by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @08:23PM (#15966658) Homepage Journal
    Yep, I bet we'll have a 'Report as Terrorist' icon soon too. And we know how lax the definition of 'terrorism' is in the Terrorism Act here in the UK.
  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @08:48PM (#15966757)
    And that's a crime?
    Of course it's a crime. It's someone chatting with someone underage online. Actually communicating with them! And although they may not have committed a crime yet, they are surely going to in the future. Therefore, it's better to arrest them now and get it over with. Thought-crimes and future-crimes are fun to bust, and the public just loves it!
  • Re:abuse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @09:13PM (#15966888)
    thats a good idea. they should also provide all the searches done under that ip through msn. Maybe microsoft could create an api so other search engines such as google could supply the searches related to that user/ip. Amazon too could supply any purchases that have been made such as something incriminating such as the novel Lolita.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?