Google defends tipping off police to child porn

Aug 7, 2014
Crime
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Google defended Monday its policy of electronically monitoring its users’ content for child sexual abuse after tipping off police in Texas to a child pornography suspect.

Google defends tipping off police to child porn

ALWAYS WATCHING: Google defended Monday its policy of electronically monitoring its users’ content for child sexual abuse after it tipped off police in Texas to a child pornography suspect. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2014

Houston restaurant worker John Henry Skillern, 41, was arrested Thursday following a cyber-tip that Google had passed along via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), based outside Washington.

“He was trying to get around getting caught, he was trying to keep it inside his e-mail,” said detective David Nettles of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce.

“I can’t see that information, I can’t see that photo — but Google can,” he told Houston television station KHOU, which first reported the story.

It’s common knowledge that the world’s leading Internet service, like its rivals, tracks users’ online behaviour in order to fine-tune its advertising services.

But the Texas case prompted concerns about the degree to which Google might be giving information about its users’ conduct to law enforcement agencies.

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