Typically when it comes to online porn, parents are worried that their kids may stumble across it. But when kids are the subject of this online content, the results can be much more horrific. For many online predators, what starts as a child porn addiction leads to actual abuse and even murder, as it did earlier this year in the cases of child killers Mark Bridger and Stuart Hazel.
In an effort to minimize this very real threat, the two most popular search engines, Google and Bing, have agreed to block results for over 100,000 search terms related to child sex abuse images. In part to appease UK Prime Minister David Cameron who threatened new legislation if they didn’t take action, the web giants announced today that the changes had already been made to search algorithms. Now, when these search terms are used, the content will be blocked, and in some cases, the user will receive a warning message along with advice on where to seek professional help.
While few deny that blocking these search terms is a move in the right direction, critics say it will do little if any good. Former head of the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP) James Gamble says it will make no difference, arguing that those looking for child porn images find them “in the dark corners of the Internet,” not by using popular search engines.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt says his company will continue to do everything they can to prevent the sharing of such content but notes that “society will never wholly eliminate such depravity.”
Google and Microsoft Agree to Block Child Abuse Web Searches http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/google-and-microsoft-agree-to-block-child-abuse-web-searches-8946170.html
Experts Question Google, Microsoft Child-Porn Measures http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2013/11/18/experts-question-google-microsoft-child-porn-measures/