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Google and Bing to block searches leading to child abuse imagery
Monday 18 November 2013 11:07:53 by Andrew Ferguson

While the news that Google and Microsoft Bing are to block 100,000 search terms that could potentially link to child abuse imagery will be met with criticism from many worried about Government inspired censorship. This move move combined with the appropriate indications that a search was blocked because it could lead to child abuse material should mean that any search terms caught up in this long secret list mistakenly can be identified over time.

While other search engines beyond Google and Bing do exist, as these account for 95% of search traffic it is a big step in reducing the ease with which those seeking this type of imagery can obtain it. Google and others have already been working to block child abuse images, so this latest step is building on previous work and technology like Microsoft PhotoDNA and VideoID which can also identify videos.

So while some will say this move is another step towards a 1984 surveillance style society where information is controlled, it is a much more boring reality that the Internet is growing up and like every human being it has to learn what are the societal norms and conform to these to avoid anarchy.

Comments

Posted by Michael_Chare over 3 years ago
Is this a world wide ban or something reserved for UK users of these services.

I think the Sky approach were users can opt in is much better.
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
pointless and harmful behaviour, note that they will also block 'potential' links, so I guess some false positives are to occur. Anyone who is a serial abuser of this stuff isnt going to be using search engines anyway.
Posted by zhango over 3 years ago
How very naïve for anyone to think that the world will be a safer place because of this gesture.
Posted by mervl over 3 years ago
I don't see the practical problem. I can't see a legitimate use for child abuse stuff, and I'd far rather the private sector have it's own overt rules (as happens with any service you subscribe to - even this site?) rather than the nanny state trying to control everything with a blunderbuss. Strangely the private sector seems more responsive to its customers than the politicians to the electorate. There are ways to get unrestricted stuff if you need to. Which is the difference from government who try to control everything - just whether they let us know or not seems optional.
Posted by NilSatisOptimum over 3 years ago
I think the 200 or so Google engineers that apparently been working on this, could have been better used in aiding police track down persons and if only the search engine was the only means in obtaining abhorrent material.
Posted by Moradin over 3 years ago
This is a silly idea, and more posturing that any real effect.

Your average kiddie porn user doesn't go anywhere near google. ffs..

idiots.
Posted by drummerjohn over 3 years ago
I am willing to bet that there at least 1000 times more sufferers of child porn than there are from terrorist attacks. So the question is.. with Prism and GCHQs traffic analysis you would think they could use that to capture child porn circulators. Governments = idiots.
Posted by Saurus over 3 years ago
"...with Prism and GCHQs traffic analysis you would think they could use that to capture child porn circulators..." No surprise that GCHQ and NSA are not really protecting the public at all but their own self serving interests, as they could at least make the case for stopping all the other cybercrime and scams if they really were?
Posted by oliver341 over 3 years ago
"I think the Sky approach were users can opt in is much better." - you can't opt in to child abuse imagery on Sky, it's been rightly blocked by the IWF filter for many years.

I'm actually quite shocked to learn Google has been happy to index such content until now.

That said, assuming Google and IWF are sharing data, I'd be surprised if any content indexed by Google isn't already blocked by IWF.
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
Google/Microsoft are private companies, they can censor what ever they like, they have the right to do that.

State censorship is an issue because it creates a slippery slop towards political censorship and totalitarianism.

@Saurus

If they did monitor it and prosecuted evenly, parliament/government would empty within a month.
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