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Google Starts Taking Requests For Revenge Porn Removal

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In a significant step to combat revenge porn on the Internet, Google has confirmed that it will now accept requests to remove revenge porn from it’s search results.

Revenge porn has been defined as images that someone uses to publicly humiliate another person. A prominent example would be sharing of intimate images after a couple breaks up.

Google says it will employ the same algorithms that remove search results of highly sensitive personal information such as bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. The search giant will put up a Web form in the “coming weeks” where people can request that nude or sexually explicit photos shared without their consent be removed from search results.

Amit Singhal, Senior VP of Google Search, wrote on Google’s Public Policy Blog,

We know this won’t solve the problem of revenge porn — we aren’t able, of course, to remove these images from the websites themselves — but we hope that honoring people’s requests to remove such imagery from our search results can help,

Under Internet laws passed in way back as 1996, Internet providers and websites aren’t legally responsible for third party content posted by users as long as that content does not violate intellectual property laws or federal criminal laws. World Wide Web’s growing popularity only fueled the menace of revenge porn. So much that not even celebrities are safe from this phenomenon, as was evident with the much publicised scandals like iCloud hack where nude photos of Jenifer Lawrence were leaked.

For years, there was nothing anybody could do when such images and media surfaced online. The existing laws are simply not enough to cover such kind of offences at a global level, and it’s good that technology companies are taking a stand. In March, Twitter became the latest Internet company to enact explicit rules that ban the posting of nude photographs and videos without the subject’s permission.

Facebook also banned revenge porn in March. Reddit banned it in February . And Google’s new policy definitely means progress, though lack of legislation against revenge porn is the major deterrent in the fight against revenge porn.


 

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