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UK MPs: Google Blocks Child Abuse Images, It Should Block Piracy Too 348

Posted by timothy
from the blacklist-provided-by-democracy dept.
nk497 writes "If Google can block child abuse images, it can also block piracy sites, according to a report from MPs, who said they were 'unimpressed' by Google's 'derisorily ineffective' efforts to battle online piracy, according to a Commons Select Committee report looking into protecting creative industries. John Whittingdale MP, the chair of the Committee — and also a non-executive director at Audio Network, an online music catalogue — noted that Google manages to remove other illegal content. 'Google and others already work with international law enforcement to block for example child porn from search results and it has provided no coherent, responsible reason why it can't do the same for illegal, pirated content,' he said."
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UK MPs: Google Blocks Child Abuse Images, It Should Block Piracy Too

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  • Please Mr Google... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @08:52AM (#44958579)

    Just filter out every mention of UK Members of Parliament and their policies from your search results for, say, 28 days, and see how keen the censorious, self-aggrandizing, cockwombles are on compulsory filtering after that.

  • by gwstuff (2067112) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @08:53AM (#44958587)

    Child abuse and piracy are not comparable. Child abuse is human depravity pushed to such an extreme that is justifiable to use it as a reason to defy common sense. Piracy is simply deviation from the rule of law - it does not warrant ubiquitous censorship of the kind that is being proposed.

    • > Child abuse and piracy are not comparable.

      A human can instantly recognize something is child pr0n.

      Neither man nor machine can tell whether something is copyright infringement.

      Even if you can recognize something as a bit of a popular song or video clip, how can you know whether it is authorized (therefore not piracy) or whether it is fair use under the law?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @08:53AM (#44958595)

    If you want censorship, you should be willing to accept censorship directly as well.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @08:54AM (#44958601)

    Child abuse is machine recognizable; piracy is not.

    Pretty easy to understand, numb-nuts.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Child abuse is machine recognizable; piracy is not.

      It is not an impossible task. It is a difficult one. But we're fundamentally simply talking about two data analysis tasks. One is visual data, the other is textual data... and some checksums. Someone who can reasonably take on the former ought to be able to take a serious stab at the latter. Google doesn't want to, because they fear they will be forced to; probably true.

      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:27AM (#44958953)
        It *is* an impossible task because while *all* child pornography is illegal - no exceptions - redistribution of copyrighted contents is illegal when the right owner didn't consent to it and legal when he did. It's the same thing as with photos of people - in some jurisdictions, you're only allowed to publish photos of people who consented to it (with perhaps some exceptions), but how do you divine the presence or absence of consent from the photo itself?
      • It is not an impossible task. It is a difficult one. But we're fundamentally simply talking about two data analysis tasks. One is visual data, the other is textual data... and some checksums. Someone who can reasonably take on the former ought to be able to take a serious stab at the latter. Google doesn't want to, because they fear they will be forced to; probably true.

        What is the license for 123d56.iso? Are its content copyrighted? If it is copyrighted, does it's license permit this particular use case,

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        Even trained federal agents can't seem to tell the difference, and you expect an automated algorithm can? How exactly do you tell the difference between an advance copy posted to a blog by the artist themselves and an advance copy illegally leaked to a blog by someone else? The difference between kiddy porn and pirated content is that kiddy porn is always illegal. The exact same .mp3 file on the exact same server could be illegal today and legal tomorrow if the guy hosting it goes and asks for permission.

        ht [techdirt.com]

    • But think how much it would cost to try to create and implement such system? It's a logical step - if Google can't do it, let's find some contractor company who will do it for us. Oh, the owner of this company is a nephew of a said MP? Well, it's a strange coincidence, of course!

      And, after all, we can always change law back after several years of abusing this broken system.
  • Obviousness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2013 @08:55AM (#44958613)

    Child pornography is quite obvious without further investigation, copyright can be very complex and right can be claimed by a lot of people. The system can also easily abuse to remove perfectly legal content. But seems that UK MP like to compare pears and apples.... (or that they don't have a clue about what they are talking about)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >Child pornography is quite obvious without further investigation

      Not really.

      * Female parent takes a photo of her child naked in the bath as some kind of happy memory, which she then uses to embarass him in front of his first girlfriend or whatever when looking at a family album (heck, who doesn't have parents like that?)
      * Drawings classify in the UK (which is something I don't agree with), which bans a lot of Japanese stuff (I can have sex with a 16-year-old girl, but can't have a drawing of a 17-year-ol

      • Re:Obviousness (Score:4, Informative)

        by Shoten (260439) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:09AM (#44958767)

        >Child pornography is quite obvious without further investigation

        Not really.

        * Female parent takes a photo of her child naked in the bath as some kind of happy memory, which she then uses to embarass him in front of his first girlfriend or whatever when looking at a family album (heck, who doesn't have parents like that?)
        * Drawings classify in the UK (which is something I don't agree with), which bans a lot of Japanese stuff (I can have sex with a 16-year-old girl, but can't have a drawing of a 17-year-old anime character naked)
        * 16-year-old takes a photo of his 16-year-old girlfriend naked

        Real child abuse is abhorrant, but might not be easily recongizable either.

        Say, if a six-year-old got punched in the face by another six-year-old to the point where it left a bruise. I'm sure you'd have people whispering that his father did it or something.

        Your point about intent and effect is entirely valid...except that the question here is not about how you would define "child porn," but how the law does. And under the law, all of the examples you describe are classified as child porn. This is a problem, yes, but it's not relevant to the current argument. Google must adhere to the law, and they do.

        • The law specifies nothing of the kind in any jurisdiction that I'm aware of - in the first case, without any sexual intent, local law is in sync with common sense and would not define that as child porn. You also appear to assuming that "the law" is constant, whereas definitions of child porn will vary from region to region.

  • by Taibhsear (1286214) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @08:58AM (#44958639)

    Child porn is illegal to own. Pirated content is not.
    Sharing child porn is a criminal offense. Sharing pirated content is a civil offense.
    Even if google blocked it people would use a different search engine to find it. Stop playing whack-a-mole and do something constructive.

  • Why, we could completely block organizing efforts for those political parties that are advocate independence for parts of the UK: How do you like that, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru, and Scottish Nationalists? And then maybe get rid of those pesky Green parties, and then the Liberal Democrats too, just to be on the safe side.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Child porn can be identified without input from the content creator (looking at content is all that's needed), piracy cannot, you need to ask the content creator if it's piracy, and real piracy will attempt to hide who is the content creator to make that process difficult (and often the content creator will lie, we've seen this happen many times over on youtube where a big network steals some youtube content and then send them a takedown request for posting the content that the network decided to steal).

    So

  • One is a crime against "the innocent" (I know, I know - think about the children!), while the other is unauthorized use of the commercial properties of specific businesses. It is reasonable to expect that the more disseminated and prolific child pornography is, the more children would be abused in the creation of more images and video. Thus by directly fighting child pornography, Google is protecting children. On the other hand, when it comes to pirated material, the only supposed (and I say "supposed" b

    • Re:No comparison (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dissy (172727) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:07AM (#44958745)

      Exactly.
      This is like saying that because the SWAT and the FBI handle situations involving murder and hostages, that those departments should be more than capable of finding my lost kitten.
      Then proceeding to complain that they are not doing so.

  • by JosKarith (757063) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:00AM (#44958675)
    What a surprise. Start with the slam-dunk of getting them to ban CP (After all if you don't agree it should be banned you must be a pedo sympathiser) , then turn round and say "Well you can block that illegal content, what about this?"
    What next, demand Google block sites of banned political parties? Disallow all dissenting opinions? Silence religions you don't like? This is why we shouldn't have allowed the thin end of the wedge in in the first place. Give centralised control an inch and it'll take a mile.
  • by Brandano (1192819) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:04AM (#44958715)
    How can I use Google to access pirated content? Google can stop indexing torrent sites, I guess, but a link to a torrent file is not automatically an index of copyright infringement (the Humble Bundle site would be blocked for example, as well as several Linux distros), and I don't think you can hold Google liable for the content hosted on third party sites. And once you create a blacklist of "torrent sites" then other mechanisms kick in, distributed tracking, magnet links, links exchanged on forums, on mailing lists, via sneakernet. What Google could do is to tell this guy "Give us a list of sites to block, backed by a judge's signature, and well'exclude them from our search results. But you will be held liable for any error in the supplied list, and it will be your duty to keep it up to date".
  • Commercial piracy sites are rather easy to identify.

    I'm not entirely fond of where the internet is heading these days but at the same I do understand the never-ending battle against the various crapmeisters and scammers that ruin the internet experience.

    But why can't they also turn this question around: shouldn't content providers be required to make their content available at fair market prices in all regions to benefit from this type of law?

    (Note: On principle I do not like how governments are requiri
  • wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:12AM (#44958793)
    They can't block "piracy sites" because they don't exist. I get my Linux images from these "pirate sites" so they're not pirate sites. It's user uploads that are the problem.
  • One of these days they are going to get their wish. Then they will want to take it back.

  • by Insightfill (554828) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:18AM (#44958861) Homepage

    If it makes it any easier for the MPs, I'm sure that Google would just be willing to block off the UK instead.

  • ...with lawmakers who equal child abuse with unlicensed use of intellectual property. Kudoz to Google for spending serious effort on the first one, and not diverting it to the second one.
  • I mean really, searching for Images through a Google webpage is why Google can block child porn.

    Torrenting has nothing to do with Google.

    Do these politicians really believe Google is the main server of the Internet?

    I will agree that Google could stop search results for prolific torrent sites, but seriously, people who pirate are not starting their day searching for content on Google.

  • Here we go (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:28AM (#44958983)
    Mission creep. It always happens. First it's to prevent "child porn" or "terrorism". Then someone gets a bright idea - "but we can get x this way too!". And then someone else wants to use it for their pet agenda. What you end up with is police in body armor and assault rifles storming your house to confiscate files in a civil (not even criminal!) case, Kim Dotcom style.
  • by l3v1 (787564) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:29AM (#44958989)
    "Google's 'derisorily ineffective' efforts to battle online piracy"

    It's an indexing&search engine for cryin' out loud, not a censoring body (thankfully). Censorship falls into government territory, they should censor and block sites if they can, not force the censorship tasks onto a company. I do not want to understand why these - and other similar - people can't fathom what they're dealing with. Derisorily ineffective my a**. They are pretty effective in what they do, which is provide results for your queries. They might want to actually regulate search engines though laws, but they wouldn't like the backlash from the people, so they seem to try to force the task onto the companies (especially Google, go figure).

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." The second, let's deal with all the idiot politicians.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:29AM (#44958997) Journal

    Doesn't the ability to comprehensively search for such things as child abuse photos OR pirated software aid the authorities in tracking it down and stopping it at the sources, just as much as it aids someone trying to download it?

  • by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Thursday September 26, 2013 @09:33AM (#44959051) Homepage Journal

    Whatever this is, it is not "online piracy".

    No ships have been illegally seized, not a single cutlass has been brandished. There has been no disturbance of the lawful transfer of goods from one entity to another. No one is being held for ransom.

    Violating a licensing "agreement" involves no theft of moneys, nor theft of tangibles, nor theft of services. Making and distributing an unlicensed copy of software, a book, a movie, or music may in some cases reduce the potential for future sales, but that is not a reduction in current value. It only affects speculative value. That is not nice, and there should probably be some legal protection against it, but it is not theft.

    Until the legislators who are attempting to write laws start using English words appropriately, there can be no good laws written to cover this new economic activity. Appropriating verbiage from maritime law because "piracy" sounds so menacing is bullshit, plain and simple. Perhaps those who are misusing the word so much should be sent to the waters off Somalia to learn what it means.

  • Say hello... ...to the slippery slope!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There is a difference in how it is illegal. No, I did not write "how illegal it is", read the sentence again.

    With child porn, the content itself is illegal. No discussions, end of story. With piracy, the same content can be illegal to download from one site, and legal to download from another site. Because the content doesn't matter, whether or not somebody has permission to distribute matters.

    I have downloaded a game called Portal. First I downloaded the Windows version from The Pirate Bay. About a month a

  • I'm glad to know that the MP equates downloading a song with viewing pictures of child rape. Since the content providers are pushing the MP on this, one can only assume they share the view that downloading songs is more serious than child rape, too.

  • It should surprise me that a politician doesn't understand the difference between criminal and civil offenses, but honestly, it doesn't.

  • by foxalopex (522681) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:46AM (#44960127)

    Okay first of all when google tries to eliminate child porn, they have the assistance of the police who in general are trying their best to eliminate this content because we've deemed this sort of content less than legal. I think most would agree this is a clean directive and relatively simple to understand.

    When it comes to media organizations such as RIAA, it's pretty obvious they don't care too much about the music, people or privacy. All they care about is making money from the system. This results in them blanketing everyone with lawsuits including themselves and folks who are completely innocent.

    If the police were like this it would be like them shooting everyone in the building to catch a single criminal because somehow that's a much better idea that actually doing your job correctly. This is the key difference between google looking for child porn and looking for pirated media. The organizations they need to co-operate with operate entirely differently.

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:47AM (#44960149)

    Sometimes the slope really is slippery.

  • by NynexNinja (379583) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @10:58AM (#44960307)
    It starts out protecting the children, then it moves to protecting content authors. Then it moves to protecting government officials from negative political speech. Then it moves to protecting criminals from journalists reporting about their actions. Where does it end? You might as well just take down the internet and block everything.
  • by Luciano Moretti (2887109) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @12:23PM (#44961257)

    There is a big difference between Child Porn and Pirated content:

    Pornographic pictures of children when seen can be objectively judged as child porn and easily filtered. If you see it, it's Illegal, and filter it. Save the hash- if you see the hash again, immediately block it.

    Copyrighted content has to be judged if the person distributing it has clearances to distribute it. If you see a stream of a TV show, how do you know instantly (and automatically) that it's illegal? Even if you've found an illegal instance, you can't automatically block all subsequent instances as they may be Fair use, or authorized IE: song used as background on a commercial. Since it contains a copyrighted song, should google block it from YouTube automatically, even though the car company that posted the video has paperwork giving them clearance?

    It's not easy to block copyright infringements without blocking valid uses. There is no valid use of Child Porn under the law.

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:59PM (#44962611) Homepage Journal

    Somebody didn't think very hard before they suggested this idea.

    If computers were able to detect copyright infringement, then there wouldn't be any DRM, or if there was DRM, nobody would have a problem with how it worked, and so there wouldn't be enough infringement for anyone to want to block.

    If computers were able to detect copyright infringement, then HBO's DMCAbot wouldn't be sending takedown notices to Google for half of the pages on the web that use the word "boardwalk" or "thrones" somewhere in their text.

    But computers aren't able to detect copyright infringment, and to date, every single attempt to have them try to do it, has resulted in over-the-top comedic failure that was deployed thirty years before it was ready.

    Nobody's computer ever went to law school and learned the difference between infringing and non-infringing uses. Geez, ask experts whether or an H.P. Lovecraft story is still under copyright, and you can get two different answers. And you want computers to accurately identify each work, know its publication history, know whether or not its distribution is authorized, understand the nature of a use asnd its effect on the market, and then have the smarts to put all the facts together and come up with "infringing" vs "non-infringing"?

    Tell you what. If I ever get a message from Google about DMCA-blocked search result that isn't absurd bullshit, or if I ever hear about a DRM scheme that doesn't prevent innocent noninfringing uses, then the idea may start to have some credibility. Until then, seriuously asking for Google to identify copyright infringement, is like seriously asking your Honda dealer where the lot with the flying cars is.

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