Microsoft and Google team up to fight kiddie porn. A good thing?

In response to the longtime, alarming proliferation of photos and videos containing child pornography on the Internet, Web search giants Google and Microsoft plan to introduce measures to block the content from their search results.

The modifications will prevent more than 100,000 search terms from generating results that link to images and videos associated with child sex abuse and instead trigger a warning that the associated content is illegal. The restrictions, which apply to English-speaking countries, will be expanded to more than 150 languages in the next six months, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt wrote in an article for the Daily Mail on Sunday.

"We've listened, and in the last three months put more than 200 people to work developing new, state-of-the-art technology to tackle the problem," Schmidt wrote. "We've fine-tuned Google search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in our results."

Once it's determined that content represents genuine abuse and not innocent bath time photos, the content is assigned a unique digital fingerprint that speeds the detection and deletion process when the images appear in Google's system, he wrote. "Microsoft deserves a lot of credit for developing and sharing its picture detection technology," Schmidt wrote. (read the rest of the article here)

I'm waiting for the ACLU to weigh in. Why? False positives.

The problem here is that this is being done by Microsoft and Google and not by any law enforcement agency. What does that mean? It means no one will actually be looking at and verifying that the material actually child porn. Why? Because the only people who can legally look at child porn are law enforcement officers actively engaged in child porn investigations. 

If no one is actually physically examining the material, then an algorithm is being used which is examining such things as the size of the subject of the photo relative to things of known size, childlike facial proportions, hairlessness around the groin, etc. The false-positive aspect comes in when you consider that there are pint-sized adults who will match all of those descriptors. So, you stumble upon one of those people and get a warning. Want to bet there will be a record of that warning? You betcha! 

Anyone who searches for porn soon discovers that there are lots and lots of images of skinny, small-breasted or flat-chested, shaven or waxed Russian girls. They are presented on sites that have to comply with US law and so it's a safe bet that even if they look 15, they are at least 18. I myself did photography with a girl who at age 24 could still pass for 16.

Anti-child porn laws are really over the top as it is. Not only is it illegal to look at child porn, it's illegal to have it on your computer. Suppose in your normal porn searches you get presented with an image that clearly is child porn. You hit the BACK button. Chances are that page is still there in your browser's cache. And if you clear the cache, it's like erasing any other file. It's not instantly gone; rather, the space it occupies becomes overwritable, and who knows when that will happen.

Many a person has found some child porn—perhaps even had some planted on their computer by someone playing a joke or hoping to get them into trouble—and reported it to the authorities. What happens then is that THEY become the subject of an inquiry, and while they are likely to get off the hook eventually, their computer is confiscated for purposes of the investigation and examined from top to bottom. Often, it's taken apart and the hard drive sent to some lab somewhere. They might not get it back in a year or longer, once the investigation is over, but in the interim any shred of computer privacy they had will be gone. During that period, they'd be wise to stay offline entirely (think of that!).

Quite frankly, want some illegal advice? If you find yourself in that position, take your computer and throw it into a blast furnace. Get a fake passport and move to a country with no extradition treaty with the US. Why? Because records of every URL you ever visited, every email you ever sent or received, all of these activities and more are probably stored or are recoverable via your Internet Provider.

Tags: Google, Microsoft, child, kiddie, porn

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Sounds like a slippery slope to me, so many things can be taken to extremes. There are consequences to such censorship as where do you draw the line? Sounds like a dangerous move, and will it actually fix anything if implemented? Sounds like a witch hunt in the making, another way to get people who did little or nothing in big trouble, with little actual evidence. And try to get out of harms way? I doubt anyone targeted can.

The road to (heck) is paved with good intentions. Google was thinking of rolling out facial recognition searches a while ago until people started thinking of the potential consequences, some of them lethal and others (il)legal, and the brakes were put on. Want to know where that guy who testified against the mob and is in witness protection lives now? Easy! Search on a face from a news article and, boom!, there he is coaching Little League in Yakima, Washington! Or, who is that pretty girl serving tables in the restaurant. Take a photo with your phone and use Google Goggles. Wow! She also posed for some artistic nudes!

So many unintended consequences of shit like this. Too much information.

If I'm being served by a pretty girl who also posed for artistic nudes... I'm gonna want to see those photos...

I'm waiting for the ACLU to weigh in. Why? False positives.

In violation of what law? Search services are free, so there is no contract with the user.

Because records of every URL you ever visited, every email you ever sent or received, all of these activities and more are probably stored or are recoverable via your Internet Provider.

So then, how would reducing child porn results make any difference in terms of detection?

I'm not arguing in favor of filtering our searches. I'm just saying, search engine filtering isn't new, and there's no law excluding its implementation. Besides, can't one just use a different search engine that doesn't filter?

The ACLU doesn't just deal with the law, it also deals with privacy issues. Suppose you in your porn searches like the underdevoloped look. Small breast size, slender build, hairless in the panty area.

You don't lust after children, you just have a body type fetish.

Suppose you constantly get false positive warnings because of this preferences, which is perfectly legal. Suppose this is brought to the attention of the FBI or the FBI discovers it by getting a court order for Google's data (unless Google is being a little overly cooperative and are passing this data along voluntarily). 

Point of interest, small breast porn is now illegal in Australia, regardless of the model's age :(

Australia's been a little crazy when it comes to porn. There was a site devoted to nudes of very natural-looking aussie girls (take the name Abby Winters and create a URL with it if you like). Australian porn law forced them offshore. This site was not ultra-hardcore. They did have a lot of really kind of goofy and insincere-looking girl-on-girl stuff. I'd say it was mostly hetero girls simulating lesbian contact except that I think most girls are somewhat bisexual anyway, at least girls willing to pose for erotica are.

A judge pretty much tossed the case out (fined them $6000, which was pocket change for the very successful site). However, they took the hint and moved their operation to the Netherlands where, relatively speaking, anything goes. The Internet is global, so governmental control of commercial porn is pretty much impossible.

I wonder how the small breast prohibition makes A-cuppers feel? ("Under the law, because of my breast size, I'm pretty much defined as a child.")

Also, I'm curious if there's an actual definition of small breast size or if it's one of those "I know it when I don't see it" things? LOL

Personally, it seems like a small price to pay if it has a limiting effect on the despicable industry of child porn and sexual slavery. I believe in my first amendment rights as much as the next fellow but there seems to be valid exceptions when it comes to the protection of minors.

There will always be an argument over what are "valid exceptions." Millions of people would argue that we atheists should have no right to criticize religion, when it's complete bullshit to us. Illegal things are always going to exist, no matter in what way. The vast majority of child porn resides on the deep web anyway, not available for google searches. What they should do is just accept that there are certain people who are into kids and provide them a safe alternative. Child rape is terrible, yes, but if it's just some poor loser jacking it to kid pictures in his basement there's really no need to turn him into a fucking pariah. Besides the very good points that Unseen made in the OP, there have also been studies done about this, and child porn can actually alleviate child abuse.

Instead of having ridiculous arbitrary rules and sending people to jail for looking at some 17.9 year old's nude photos, why don't these people instead allocate their resources to try and catch those 60 year old muslim child rapists who have themselves married to little girls? Not little as in "she was still 17 so it's kinda bad, but come on, look at her tits!" Little as in 6 to 12 years old.

I agree, I think they are going about it the wrong way, they are just getting the wrong people in trouble.

What they should do is just accept that there are certain people who are into kids and provide them a safe alternative.

Give them super-realistic computer graphics. No children molested in the process.

child porn can actually alleviate child abuse.

People (especially feminists) would sometimes argue that porn causes rape. My counterargument was always, "A man who has masturbated isn't going to rape anyone. He's going to take a nap." Why wouldn't the same argument apply to child porn?

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