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The news that Jeffrey Toback, a representative in the Nassau County Legislature, has filed a 16 page complaint alleging Google profits from child pornography has ignited discussion of censorship, responsibility and technology. Yet I can’t help thinking that everyone is missing the real point: why are allegations covered by 10 year old legislation being made at all?

Is the Government using child porn allegations to punish Google for earlier non-compliance perhaps? You need to cast your minds back to January when Google didn’t play ball with the FBI. The Bush administration would like to revive the proposed Child Online Protection Act, a law that would require websites to do more in restricting access to minors where there are links to adult content. In itself, this is something that few would have any logical reason to complain about. However, in order to provide statistical data to add weight to the argument, the FBI asked various search engines to hand over the search logs and indexed URLs that would reveal the extent of online interest in pornography. Google, quite rightly in my opinion, refused to comply. Why so? Well, the request for a million random URLs and every Google search from a random 7 day period is just too broad. The civil liberties issue too hot to handle. The intentions of the Government with regard to that data, and importantly the precedent set by handing it over, just not clear enough.

Fast forward to now: Toback claims Google “promotes and profits from child pornography and accuses Google of being “the largest and most efficient facilitator and distributor of child pornography in the world. Nowhere in the entire 16 page complaint is there mention of any other search engine, which is odd in itself. Even odder, perhaps, that nobody in the Nassau County Legislature seems to have advised Toback that the Communications Decency Act has the whole thing covered anyway. In case you are reading this Jeff, here’s the most relevant bit: "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Ask any informed and unbiased legal expert and they will tell you that Google has a pretty airtight defence because it specifically excludes child pornography from the AdSense scheme, uses SafeSearch to filter adult content from searches, and proactively both prohibits and removes links when found. Google will happily tell you it already fully cooperates with law enforcement agencies in reporting any instances of child porn. So surely nobody really believes Google is the bad guy here? Which leaves me thinking that maybe the Government is still smarting from Google ‘daring to deny’ earlier in the year.

Of course there might be an even more straightforward explanation. It’s an election year…

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Last Post by markdean
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People are always looking for the easy dollar and to put somebody else down.

Google is one of the oldest and most up-to-date search engines available. In my personal opinion Google is the best search engine out there.
But by someone saying that Google promotes child porn is very hard to believe. Google is very strict on all of it's advertising natures period. Porn and child porn may be typed into their search engine, but they are not the ones typing it. The engine is made to find key words to whatever is typed in. This does not mean they are promoting it.

If that were the case. It would be like filing a lawsuit against a school because they are telling kids how to build bombs and explosives just because they are teaching a chemistry class.
The teacher and books give you information about the checimicals you are working with. They don't tell you that if you put this this and this together at this specific amount you can blow something up.

They are just informational. Where Google is also informational

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No, I don't believe Google is the bad buy here, at all. There are related issues, such as caching copyrighted images and material, monetizing cached content, scanning books, to name a few, where I think Google is treading on very thin ice or is outright in the wrong.

But do they promote child pornography? Even I, a Google critic/skeptic, don't go that far. Because doing so would make me, well, silly.

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Google is far from being the oldest search engine on the web, Lightninghawk.
They didn't even exist something like 5 years ago, where Yahoo and Altavista have been operating for a decade or more.

If Google (or any other website) are indeed actively promoting illegal activity of any kind they should feel the full force of the law.

But even I, as a declared Google adversary, don't go as far as to state they're promoting child porn.
Yes they're stealing intellectual property on a grand scale, and some of that might be child porn, but I doubt that childporn is included in that system deliberately. Rather it is pretty much inevitable that some slips through the net.

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Once again, the government goes after the mechanism rather than the ones doing what is illegal (just like guns and cold medicine). Why stop at the search engine? Why not hold the telecommunications company that provides the lines to the search engine and client accountable? It requires electricity so the power companies also profit from child porn. Of course all of this requires computers, so the computer manufacturers, operating system vendors, and other software vendors are also making a profit on that stuff. And then we go full circle-since the government collects property taxes as well as corporate taxes (from shareholders) from all involved-the government then profits from child pornography!

If it wasn't so serious it would be funny.

Also, Google has been around since at least 1998.

To find the largest distributor of child porn (as well as other porn), pirated software, music, videos, and movies you have to look no further than the Newsgroup community.

This topic has been dead for over six months. Start a new discussion instead.
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