Using Google Trends To Determine 'Community Standards' Of Obscenity

from the knew-that-data-would-come-in-handy-sometime dept

While there are plenty of reasons to have trouble with "obscenity" laws, one of the biggest is the ridiculously vague "contemporary community standards" test established by the Supreme Court. How does one show what the community standards are when it concerns activities done in the privacy of one's own home? Well, apparently, at least one defense attorney in an obscenity case has decided that Google Trends is the answer. He's planning to show that more people in the local community are using Google to search for the word "orgy" than for "apple pie" or "watermelon." That's pretty amusing, but probably not very convincing. How often are people really going to search for "apple pie?" Still, it does seem to suggest how silly the whole process is of determining what contemporary community standards should be.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2008 @ 9:38pm

    Google also does not represent those members of the community without internet access, or those accessing through a proxy, those visiting from other states, etc. This could also be thwarted by a lawyer hiring spam-bot networks to do thousands of searches on Google for pornographic materials in the month's and weeks leading up to a hearing/trial.

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