Chris Bundas –
Google has recently reported a man to police after finding images of child abuse in his Gmail account.
After receiving a tip off from a child protection agency, the convicted sex offender was then arrested by police in Houston, Texas.
Detective David Nettles said: “I can’t see that information, I can’t see that photo, but Google can.”
Gmail has over 400 million users worldwide. Google recently updated the terms and conditions of Gmail to acknowledge that email accounts were scanned for content to provide “personally relevant” adverts to users.
Google has taken a “proactive” stance in its work to remove child abuse images from its search results, working with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in the US to report the existence of images. Google also helps fund the Internet Watch Foundation, which is dedicated to finding and removing images of child abuse from the internet.
The arrest however, has raised questions about privacy on the web and Google’s reach.
Google stated it does not comment on individual accounts, but after a class-action lawsuit against the company was dismissed earlier this year it said: “A person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties”.