GOOGLE UNDER PRESSURE TO ERADICATE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY IN ITS INDEX – Parent Groups and Child Protection organisations are calling on Google to filter out and ban any form of child pornography on the web.
The calls come in direct relation to the murder of Tia Sharp who was murdered by her stepfather Stuart Hazell who this week half way through his trial changed his plea to guilty.
Left: Stuart Hazell | Right: Tia Sharp – Hazell pleaded guilty to murdering Tia and is now serving 38 years imprisonment
As evidence unraveled the authorities discovered disturbing evidence that Stuart Hazell had used his mobile phone to access child pornography via Google search.
According to the evidence at trial Hazell was obsessed by websites containing child pornography which is believed to have fueled his desires until finally acting out his fantasies.
Police uncovered a number of disturbing Google searches including, ‘naked little girlies’, under-age incest’, ‘daddy daughter pictures’ and much more.
Tia’s body was finally discovered in the loft of her grandmother’s home after Hazell had murdered her, wrapped her body in carpeting and then hidden her under piles of junk.
Experts gave testimony that Hazell was a habitual user of the internet in order to satisfy his desires and this led him to progress from petty crime until eventually becoming a child killer.
For more on this story see the Daily Mail articles:
Considering the evidence of this case and many others where children have been raped and murdered it is little wonder why the public and child safety groups like the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Children) are calling upon the likes of Google, and other major search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo, to eradicate any form of child pornography on their indexes.
Others are also calling on Google in make the ‘Safe Search’ the ‘default setting’ on it search system in order reduce the risk of indecent images or websites appearing in the search results.
While this measure is easy enough the idea of eradicating websites and images that contain child pornography is something completely different.
While the search engines could use certain keywords or phrases to block the uploading and searching of indecent materials this could easily be circumnavigated by those adding such content to the web by simply not using the terms listed.
Natisha Hillard (left) Christopher Bour (right) – She sold her infant to an online pedophile – read:
On another issue keywords and phrases could also damage many websites reputations for wrongful targeting of content. For instance this article examines the pressure being put on the major search engines to eradicate child pornography on the web. As you can see the keyword or phrase ‘child pornography’ appears several times and while there is nothing in this article that is in violation of any laws it could well be deemed that way simply through the use of such words and unless a ‘manual’ check is undertaken this page and the entire website could be banned from Google’s index.
I am sure we can all agree that child pornography needs to be eradicated from the internet and while we are at it other unsuitable material including terrorists promoting violence or providing instructions to make bombs. No doubt people could make a huge list of all content that should not be on the list but trying to control content, in reality, is extremely difficult and debatable.
Considering there are over 1 trillion web pages on Google’s servers it makes the task of policing the content almost impossible.
Could Google do more? Consider the comment made by Jon Brown of the NSPCC:
“Google needs to do more in terms of blocking searches for child abuse imagery but they also need to be alerting the authorities if someone is blatantly doing these searches.” Jon Brown, NSPCC
There are certainly aspects of Jon’s statement that needs looking at but again as with the imagery it is almost impossible to eradicate due to the volume of images uploaded to the web each and every second of the day. The idea of the authorities being alerted if someone is blatantly undertaking searches of child pornography is also another good idea in theory, however how many people would be targeted wrongly? For instance any reading this article with the keywords and phrases could be targeted. Yes it could be argued that a quick investigation would conclude that the individual had not broken any laws but how many times in a single day would select keywords or phrases be flagged and how many police officers would be required to man such a system?
“We take this issue extremely seriously. When we discover child abuse imagery or are made aware of it, we respond quickly to remove and report it to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.” Google Spokesman
Many feel, and I have to agree with them on many occasions, that we have created an information system (the web) that allows for sick, twisted and depraved fantasies to be played out online and then shared with other like-minded individuals. As a parent I feel that more development is needed in order to completely eradicate child pornography from the web but as a website owner and being in the industry for over 20 years I fully understand the complexities of creating such a system.
As with Google’s statement above they do in fact take any form of abuse seriously and allow people to report any content they find that is illegal. What is needed here is a collective effort so that more illegal content can be detected and removed.
The crime of child abuse and child pornography, like any other crime, requires diligence and better systems of regulation and Google and the other major search engines are continuously working on ways to eradicate illegal material from its servers and I for one, as with many others, hope that new developments in search technology and screening will help prevent child pornography and other illegal material being prevented from being uploaded or downloaded on the web.
Can you think of a way to eradicate online child pornography? All suggestions help so have your say… leave your comments below.