Search Engines are Watching for Child Porn and Child Abuse

Only a few years ago, search engines like Google, Bing, Internet Explorer and others remained neutral on the issue of child porn and child abuse, not really taking an active hand in blocking it. Google had previously gone as far as creating a database where law enforcement, charities, organizations and citizens could add details or locations of abuse imagery, which it would then hide or remove from search results. But in the last year, all the big search engines have changed their approach to child abuse, child porn and other crimes because they hope to help make a difference in fighting these crimes. In particular, Google and the other search engines now block illegal content, both online and in their email programming.

Search engines track user behavior in order to tailor advertising to a user’s particular taste. As a consequence, that allows companies like Google to monitor both online surfing and email looking for offenders.  They also act upon notifications from citizens about offending content including child porn, bestiality, fetishism and more. In November 2013, Google began installing measures to block over 100,000 online search results linked to child abuse worldwide.

When a search engine company discovers offending material, their first step is to notify the proper authorities. Then they remove or block the offending material within 24 hours of the notification.

In August 2014, Google’s precautions took a big step forward. A Houston restaurant worker, John Henry Skillern, age 41, was arrested following a cyber-tip Google passed along to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Google has promised that once its protection software is honed, it will share it with other internet companies and child protection organizations.

Microsoft, in a strong team effort, is working closely with Google and says its Bing search will also strive to produce clean results for its users.