In the late 1970s, milk cartons were used in some places to try and make people aware of missing children. In the 21st century, Europe wants websites and ISPs to use their 404 missing page views to do the same thing.
The NotFound project has been created by Missing Children Europe, Child Focus, the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children and several other European organisations.
While there are standard ways of setting up a 404 Not Found page, increasing numbers of websites are customising the error page to redirect web users who go astray or who visit an old page.
NotFound wants sites to add a snippet of code to those customised pages so they display data about missing youngsters.
So far, about 480 sites have signed up to the NotFound initiative and reconfigured their 404 page to help.
Maryse Roland, a spokeswoman for Child Focus, said a random process governed which missing child would be highlighted.
“It could be a recent disappearance, or on the contrary, a child that has been missing for a long time,” she said.
“This project will allow us to once again concentrate the attention on children whom we haven’t heard of for many years,” said Ms Roland. “These children risk falling into oblivion.”
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