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OMG, GOOGLE BANS REVENGE PORN!!!!!

C. A. Goldberg PLLC

OMG, GOOGLE BANS REVENGE PORN!!!!!

June 21, 2015

On Friday June 19, 2015, Google announced it will honor requests from victims to remove from nude or sexually explicit images from search engine results.  See its formal statement here.

Search engines are among the most pernicious players in making revenge porn accessible to the masses and a scourge on victims’ online reputation.  If a victim’s name is typed into a search and the first ten pages of results lead to pictures of their genitals alongside descriptions about the victim’s sexual promiscuity, many wouldbe employers are turned off.

Although the impact on victims of nonconsensual pornography will be profound, this is not a huge expansion of Google’s policies. Already Google responds to requests to de-index pages that contain child pornography, a person’s social security number, financial information, and other “sensitive information.”  So, essentially, Google is recognizing that sexual information also is sensitive information that an individual should be able to control for themselves.

Senior Vice President, Google Search, Amit Signal stated:

“Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results. This is a narrow and limited policy, similar to how we treat removal requests for other highly sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers and signatures, that may surface in our search results.”

Contrary to what some may say, the Internet is not dead.  Free speech is still alive.  Google simply decided to be decent.  That is, it took to heart its formal corporate motto of “Don’t be evil.”  In doing so, the search engine joined other behemoths in Silicon Valley (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Periscope, and Instagram) in removing their products from the quiver of weaponry available to abusers and opportunists.

Forms will become available in the coming weeks according to Amit.

Your move Bing/Yahoo.

This was the result of incredible advocacy by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and Without My Consent.    Please see CCRI’s announcement at www.endrevengeporn.