Leading search engine companies Google and Microsoft have agreed measures to make it harder to find child abuse images online.
As many as 100,000 search terms will now return no results that find illegal material, and will trigger warnings that child abuse imagery is illegal.
But Jim Gamble, former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) told BBC Breakfast he did not think the measures would make any difference with regard to protecting children from paedophiles.
“They don’t go on to Google to search for images. They go on to the dark corners of the internet on peer-to-peer websites,” he said.
He said search engines had already been blocking inappropriate content and the latest move was just an enhancement of what was already happening.
A better solution would be to spend £1.5m on hiring 12 child protection experts and 12 co-ordinators in each of the police regions to hunt down online predators, he added.
NSPCC chief executive officer Peter Wanless said “a concerted and sustained effort from all quarters” was needed to stay one step ahead of sex offenders that were getting ever more technologically advanced.
“This is the key child protection issue of a generation – we cannot fail,” he said.
… critics have accused the government of underfunding online child protection.
Ceop, which is now part of the National Crime Agency, has been accused of missing a recent opportunity to identify hundreds of people downloading illegal images.
Police in Toronto revealed that in 2012 they had shared hundreds of names of British people with Ceop who were alleged to be customers of a Canadian firm that sold videos of young children.
The operation to close down the business saw hundreds of people arrested in Canada and around the world – but none in Britain.