Update: Microsoft fights cyber-sex predators

Updated Aug. 30, 2006: Contrary to statements provided by the CEOP and quoted in this article, Microsoft has stated that is has no plans to add a Report Abuse button to any version of Messenger outside of the U.K.

Microsoft has teamed up with a U.K.-based child-protection agency to take on potential sex offenders posing as youngsters' innocent online buddies.

Through the efforts of the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) Centre, Microsoft is adding a "Report Abuse" icon to its popular Microsoft MSN and Live Messenger IM clients. The icon will provide users one-click access to resources for reporting potential abuse.

"Behind the report abuse button will sit police and intelligence officers who have been specially trained to tackle child sex abuse," said Jim Gamble, chief executive of the CEOP Centre and chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT). "We will tell you how to capture information and how to seize online discussions and then proactively do all we can to track down the perpetrator."

The VGT is an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working to make the Internet safer for children and young people. Its members include the CEOP, the Australian Federal Police; the U.S. Department for Homeland Security; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Interpol.

"If you make a report as a U.K. citizen then we at CEOP will investigate," said to Carrie Bogner, senior director, Citizenship, Windows Live. "If you make a report as a user from other countries then our counterparts in the U.S., Australia, Canada, or Interpol will take the matter further. That is a truly global response to a worldwide issue.”

A CEOP spokesperson told Kable's Government Computing News: "Because the reporting is not anonymous it will filter out malicious reports."