The big story in search this week has been the news that UK Prime Minister David Cameron has managed to persuade the internet’s leading search engines to take extra measures to filter out indecent images of children. Content writing services across the world have all taken a fairly similar stance to Google in this matter.
Sharing images of children is an abhorrent practice, but is it really Google and Bing that internet preadators are taking to in order to find these images online? Wasn’t enough being done already?
For all content writing services and search marketers, the changes will not really affect them all that much. Google has previously made great efforts to have any websites removed that have links to the illegal material in question, along with reporting information about offenders to the police.
Now Google have been encouraged to up the ante, and have taken a proactive step at the request of David Cameron by including warnings at the top of nearly 13,000 search terms above the results. So if you type a search term that Google believes will lead you towards inappropriate content, you will find a warning, even if Google has managed to remove all offending content.
Google and any other search engine that wants to have high adoption rates will not tolerate child pornography. Any serious criminals are aware of this and will use alternate means to access what they want without leaving any electronic trace.
The UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron sees the agreement as a significant victory, as there is a 20% drop off of illegal searches on Google. Truth be told, most paedophiles use souces other than Google to access indecent images, and these are the paedophiles who actively fund child pornography, not the users of Google who manage to find an image of a child on Google images.
There is credit for the move in terms of stopping innocent people accidentally being subjected to horrific images, but in terms of stopping paedophilia it is not expected to change much.
The move is one of a series of censorships placed on the internet by this UK government. Content writing services have reported on many illegal file sharing sites that have been blocked from users, along with traditional adult pornography which ISP’s must block until users opt in to the service, rather than having it available by default.
There is no doubt that stopping paedophiles is a good thing. The bad thing is that David Cameron has already expressed his desire to use the NSA and GCHQ and their privacy invading qualities to target criminals on the web. Few content writing services believe that this will end with paedophiles. Instead they feel that the public is being played for fools.
State that something is in the interests of stopping paedophiles in the UK and you can essentially do what you want. With sites like the PirateBay, Torrentz and other copyright infringing file sharing sites already blocked, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the intelligence agencies of the UK and the USA went a bit beyond their remit on child pornography to target copyright infringers. After all, content writing services had a field day reporting on the last time the NSA overstepped their remit, all the way to France.