Man Arrested For Child Porn, Blames Google For Making It Too Easy To Find

from the well-there's-a-defense dept

It's amazing how little anyone is willing to accept blame these days. They always find someone else to blame for their actions. For an extreme example, a guy in the UK arrested for having more than 16,000 child porn photos is using the unique defense that it's all Google's fault for making it so easy to access the photos. His lawyer noted: "He feels that he would not have committed these offences if this information was not so freely available. He feels if companies like Google did not provide access to such sites, he would not have committed the offences." It's tough to see the court buying that kind of argument.

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 21 May 2008 @ 5:14am

    Re: Google not at fault?

    OK, here goes.

    "The point here is that Google (et al) is absolutely 100% responsible for failing to take appropriate steps to filter search words related to child pornography."

    What words are those? How can you be sure that these words are only used to search for child porn? How can you be sure that you aren't filtering anti-pedophile sites, for example, that offer help and advice to victims? Keyword filtering is notoriously unreliable - e.g. library filters blocking access to breast cancer information because they filtered the word "breast", or sites discussing the UK country of Middlesex.

    Moreover, Google did not instigate the man's search. He was searching for child porn and happened to use Google as the tool to use it. Therefore, the fact that he used Google is irrelevant. He is a pedophile who was actively looking for photos of child pornography. Maybe Google was the reason he amassed such a large collection, but it didn't instigate the search nor instil the interest in such material in the man. Removing the tool that he happened to use in this instance would NOT stop future abuse from happening, just force a change of tactics.

    Besides, why exactly should Google act as a censor and/or police the net? Under which country's laws would it filter? A search that results in pictures of 16 year old girls would be legal in Europe but illegal in the US. How can Google effectively censor one country without removing legal content from another? Under what authority can it do so without becoming a censorship tool for the US goverment. What a can of worms would be opened here - there are many things that are benign under Western culture that are unacceptable to muslim countries - which laws should they filter under? Bear in mind that Google has local offices all over the world so "it's based in the US" would not necessarily trump local laws.

    No, Google has no responsibility here. Blaming Google is like blaming the post office because it allowed photos to be sent, or the phone book because that's how numbers used for obscene phone calls were found.

    "The TA had asked if a book on how to molest a child by a child molester should be published."

    Completely false analogy. First of all, Google does not publish information, it indexes it. Google might allow you to find a child porn site, but it has no hand in creating the site to begin with. Attacking Google would simply encourage these people to use other, less obvious, means of finding and sharing material. If Google are used at all here, better for police to use it themselves to find the sites and go after the people committing the crimes, rather than impose a de facto ban and push these people further underground.

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