Sex, socialism and sanity without safewords
So I woke up to the news that the Mail is celebrating a victory this morning. It seems that Google has agreed to block 10,000 search terms from the internet. If those two sentences don’t make you very worried about freedom of speech, or the future of the internet, then they should do. They have been greeted by a near total lack of outrage though, based I think on the fact that the words child abuse have become our modern red menace. To question anything associated with tackling it is to risk being hauled up in public as a defender of child molesters.
Google has a track record in making terms unsearchable, or at least discouraging searching for them, and its one we should find worrying. Bisexual may have been removed, after a lot of concerted campaigning from people who wondered exactly why being bi was considered so bad by google, but it is still a problematic list. The original blacklisted terms included any search starting with anal and Philip K Dick. The fact a corporation will always place narrow-minded prudery before free speech is of course no surprise. They will go with revenue and a peaceful life. This has been a move pushed for by government and the most right wing press however.
Those who work with children, or trying to protect them are aware that this is not about protecting children.
But Jim Gamble, former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), told BBC Breakfast he did not think the measures would make any difference with regard to protecting children from paedophiles.
“They don’t go on to Google to search for images. They go on to the dark corners of the internet on peer-to-peer websites,” he said.
Former head of anti-exploitation body Ceop, Jim Gamble: “I don’t think this will make any difference”
He said search engines had already been blocking inappropriate content and the latest move was just an enhancement of what was already happening.
The Fail and Cameron are willfully ignoring the existence of Tor, file sharing and how in the real world children are exploited and abused. After all none of those allow them to expand their censorship and yes, thought control. Look at the quote from the Google spokesman
Google communications director Peter Barron said the changes, which had cleaned up the results for more than 100,000 queries that might be related to the sexual abuse of children, would make it “much, much more difficult to find this content online. (my emphasis)
I emphasised the might because it is one of the most worrying words in the English language. He might be a traitor, she might be a communist, they might be carrying guns. It is a word used when the state wants to justify an attack on people’s rights. This is exactly what is happening here. Children wont be protected, or rescued from abuse, that takes investigation and funding. However next week, next month, next year when those with power decide there are other terms they would prefer the unwashed masses could not search for, then a precedent has been set and the tools are in place for them to use.