Google Search Results to Exclude Revenge Porn

Google

Google search results are to exclude revenge porn, which is a type of online harassment, and especially targets women. Announced on Friday, it is the Internet titan’s step toward stopping sites that have victimized several women in the past. Revenge porn has sexually-explicit private pictures or videos of women published by an ex. The images or videos sometimes top search results for an individual’s name. Some victims even tried to change identities, after their efforts by having their photos removed, or by asking for legal assistance failed.

Governments are looking for ways to persecute the people manning the site and those who post images while Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook have tried to block the sites on their platforms. However, persecution is difficult since it is the Internet, where content can be shifted around with other platforms coming, and when the images are found online, the harassers get what they want.

Online posting of nude photos or videos of people without their permission is called “revenge porn.” The posted images at times force the victims to make payments or perform sexual favors. The practice of revenge porn was first known in 2010 when a website called IsAnyoneUp posted pictures of innocent victims to its server. Hunter Moore, its founder, eventually shut the site down in 2012. Moore was arrested in January 2014. After a month, he was found guilty in Los Angeles Court. Rolling Stone named him “the most hated man on the Internet.”

Law firm C.A. Goldberg said that as of June 1, there are 21 states which have laws against revenge porn. California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that criminalizes revenge porn in October 2013. Barely two months after, Kevin Bollaert, 28, from San Diego was arrested for operating a revenge porn site. Last April, Bollaert was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.

Law professor Danielle Citron of the University of Maryland said that what the victims of revenge porn want most, is for their nude images to be inaccessible by their colleagues, employers, or clients as they are humiliating and lose their chance to find a relationship or even a job.

Google is among the big names in the world of tech, together with Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, which have control over what everyone can access online and how they see it. These tech giants are influential in the way people get information.

With a reported 70 percent control of the global search engine traffic, Google’s breadth of influence is great, hence, its decision is considered a significant step. Being the most popular search company, its role in giving the public information is critical. If a web page does not show in the search results of Google, it is considered non-existent since finding the page among billions of information on the Web is difficult. Furthermore, Google’s move to have its search results exclude revenge porn can trigger other search firms to follow suit unless they justify that it deserves access.

According to Slate, the California-based tech company recognizes the line between the right to protect one’s personal information and free speech. The firm likewise removes pages with personal data, such as social security numbers. Removing nude photos affirms that people deserve control over private images of themselves.

Google promised that if the person in the photo requests it, it will remove the images from its search results. It says that it is their concept to have search reflect the entire Web, but revenge porn images are personal, which purpose is to emotionally destroy and degrade the victim. The tech giant will remove nude images shared without the consent of the victims, from Google Search results to honor requests from the concerned.

Though nude images are not removed from the sites, they will not be searchable. Google hopes that it already helps if its search results are to exclude revenge porn.

By Judith Aparri

Edited by Maurice Cassidy

Sources:
Slate: Google to Remove Revenge Porn from Search Results
The Christian Science Monitor: Why Google joined fight against revenge porn
The Telegraph: Google to block revenge porn

Photo courtesy of Global Panorama‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

One Response to "Google Search Results to Exclude Revenge Porn"

  1. rabah haidar03900435   July 24, 2015 at 2:14 pm

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