Technology in Action: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Posted by Tim Cranton
Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit

For most of the 11 years I’ve worked at Microsoft, I’ve focused on ways to fight the constantly evolving threat of cybercrime. Computer facilitated crimes have many faces, and by far the most difficult and heartrending crimes I’ve come across in this work are crimes against children.  Consequently, some of the most rewarding experiences of my career have been those opportunities to work with the many incredible organizations around the world making a difference to protect children, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

For 26 years, NCMEC has worked to help find missing children, prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation, and help the victims of abduction and sexual exploitation on their path to recovery. The children and families affected by these tragedies face difficult challenges and NCMEC’s support and service to these families has a profound impact. 

To help ensure NCMEC continues to have the tools it needs to carry on its critical mission, Microsoft this month made one of the largest singular software grants ever given through our Unlimited Potential program – a donation of software worth more than $1.9 million.  The grant brings the total software donations to NCMEC to more than $3.1 million to date, and includes a range of tools that will be applied to a variety of operational needs for the organization.

Of the grants, Ernie Allen, President and CEO for NCMEC, said, “We rely on Microsoft tools in virtually every aspect of our operation.  Technology is critical to our search for missing children and effort to combat child sexual exploitation – this generous donation allows us to stay at the forefront of tools and software that are vital to everything we do – something we would have trouble affording otherwise.”

Through collaborative, educational and technological efforts, Microsoft has long worked with NCMEC and others to help protect children against technology-facilitated crimes.  In December, Microsoft donated the newly-developed PhotoDNA technology to NCMEC to combat the escalating distribution of graphic child pornography online.  Since that time, Microsoft has begun to implement PhotoDNA on Bing and Windows Live to help ensure these horrific images are not shared on our services, and we are beginning to work with other online service providers to do the same. 

I am honored to work with outstanding organizations like NCMEC and believe we have only begun to see how technology will extend the reach and impact of efforts like this for children everywhere.

To learn more about NCMEC, visit To learn more about Microsoft’s citizenship efforts, visit And to learn more about the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, you can follow us at and

Comments (0)

Skip to main content