Google to Warn Against Porn

Is it enough?

google porn blocking Google, the world’s largest search engine will now warn users they could be searching for porn. They will implement a warning system notifying users that the terms they are searching may be connected with child pornography. This effort was begun in response to a request by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and will affect searches worldwide. About 13,000 search terms have been identified as being related to child pornography. Microsoft has also announced it will provide a similar warning system on its Bing search engine. Google has already stopped users from clicking on URL’s which lead to pornographic website, but this is another step.

This has renewed various debates on the censoring of the Internet and whether any attempts to stop people from viewing what they want violates the right to free speech. In England, there is also some disagreement on just how effective these measures might be with many critics saying it is more of a public relations move than anything else. Critics are claiming Cameron and his advisor, Claire Perry, are playing on parents fears in order to gain political points and have coerced Google into agreeing with them. Supporters argue this will help stop the “beginning” pedophile from gaining access to the images, since doing so feeds their addiction. According to a blog post written by Penny Marshall, Social Affairs editor for ITV.com, the measures are already having an effect. She writes that in the past six weeks 20% of those in the UK who have received the warnings have not gone any further in their searches. There are no actual numbers on what this 20% represents but even one potential child abuser is stopped it is a win.

The other side in the argument says this isn’t enough and more needs to be done to go after the actual abusers. They claim that those who are really committed to finding the images will still be able to do so.  Another ITV blogger, Jim Gamble, claims the measures were already in place and this is just a public relations move. He advocates that the government should spend money recruiting regional child protection experts and twelve training coordinators, who can then train volunteers to police the internet. According to Gamble it is more effective to arrest and prosecute offenders than to just stop them from viewing the images.google logo According to the solicitor-general, Oliver Heald, while the number of child sexual abuse cases has risen steadily in the past few years, the number of cases actually referred to the Crown Prosecution Service has actually fallen by 28%. Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, claims that cut backs on the number of specialist police child protection units could be the cause of this.

Numbers taken from dailyinfographic.com show 12% of websites on the internet are pornographic, which translates to 24,644,172 sites. They also state that every second 28,258 people are viewing porn and 40 million Americans regularly view porn. Regarding internet searches on Google or other search engines they state there are 68 million pornographic searches every day, 116,000 of these are for “child pornography.” It is hard to argue these numbers are staggering and internet porn isn’t going away anytime soon.

Whether government or anyone else has the right to censure content on the web is sure to be debated for as long as there is an internet. How do we as a society determine what is more important, the protection of children or the protection of free speech? There is also some debate on whether viewing pornography is a compulsion or an addiction and if and how it should be treated. If it is an addiction should it be removed from the internet in the interest of public health? These are just some of the questions which will continue to arise in the internet freedom debate. In the meantime, Google will continue to warn us against porn.

Written by: Paul Roy

PC World

ITV.com

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The Guardian

Dailyinfographic.com

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