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Monday 3 June 2013

Mad Mel Misunderstands Google

The misguided and pointless campaign by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre against Google has continued, with another fact free rant (no change there, then) from Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips, who has declared that “Google, the internet giant and acme of cool, may be fast descending from hero to zero”. As if 99% of its users give a stuff what she thinks.
Definitely not fair or balanced

Consider what Google has put on record: “We are members and joint funders of the Internet Watch Foundation - an independent body that searches the web for child abuse imagery and then sends us links, which we remove from our search index. When we discover child abuse imagery or are made aware of it, we respond quickly to remove and report it to the appropriate law enforcement authorities”.

So when Mad Mel asserts “Despite pressure to take action against a ‘tsunami’ of internet pornography, so far Google has dug in its heels”, this is blatantly untrue. She also contends that “It maintains that whenever it discovers child abuse imagery, it quickly removes it. Clearly, this is a wholly disingenuous response since only a small proportion of such images are ever reported”. It’s not just about reports (see above).

Put directly, this means that whatever Google says, if it does not accord with the demands of the Vagina Monologue and his hacks, is not true, whereas the words of a pundit who recently got herself sacked by the Spectator after dropping them in the mire by libelling someone is the unvarnished truth. As Unity at Ministry Of Truth pointed out, the chance of stumbling on child porn is next to zero.

And much of that is down to Google (and others) removing links to anything they find that is illegal under the jurisdictions in which they operate. It is straightforward business common sense to do so. But this does not stop Mel, who asserts that “no less than 30 per cent of all web traffic involves pornography”. Notice the false assumption that all web traffic involves Google.

Mel won’t care about that. Instead, there is Government bashing: “Meanwhile, the Government is showing extreme reluctance to bring Google to heel. Almost certainly this is due to the extraordinarily close links between the two. Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, seems to be hugger-mugger with both David Cameron and George Osborne, reportedly swanning in and out of Downing Street as if he owns it”.

Who is this “hugger-mugger”? And when will Mad Mel get into her head that Google actively removes links to illegal sites? Or that there are other search engines out there? Or that those who know what they’re looking for don’t need to use a search engine? Nah, all readers get is “The true reason is surely that Google and other providers are making huge profits out of pornography”.

The true reason is that Mad Mel doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about.


Chris Neville-Smith said...

I think the problem here is that a lot of people don't seem to understand what "removing" a page actually means. All Google can do is remove a page from its search index, not the page itself. That remains accessible to anyone who knows the URL, or uses a different search engine that doesn't care about links to illegal sites. And that assumes the page was on Google's index in the first place - you probably don't want to avoid illegal pages being picked up be Google because the Police will be after you in 3 seconds flat.

Google is powerful - some may argue too powerful - but they do not have the means to be the government of the internet, whether or not they'd like to be. The simple solution to child internet pornography is that there is no simple solution to child internet pornography. These people find ways of reaching out to customers without the Police finding out, and they do it without Google's help.

SteveB said...

Possibly one reason why the UK government isn't rushing to "bring Google to heel" (apart from the technical pointlessness of the excerise) is that the operational part of the company, including it's servers, is located in the USA and therefore not subject to UK law!! UK Court Orders should be addressed to "1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA" (obviously a rather good photo on Streetview) and if you could shred them before posting it would save time on receipt!

Anonymous said...

A bit rich coming from a newspaper which failed to prevent one of its own 'journalists' from describing an 8 year old girl as a "leggy beauty".

mm1145 said...

form the tone of the sections you have qouted I wander if mel is lumping all porn togeather and there for describing it all as bad?

nogoodboyo said...

Slightly off topic,perhaps, but todays headline in The Mirror is "End This Hate In Our Schools & On Google"
These people know that there is more than one search engine out there. They know that Google can't police the entire internet.
I'm baffled.