David Cameron really is a fucking twat

David Cameron is to order Google to ban child pornography from the internet in a bid to prevent further murders like those of Tia Sharp and April Jones.

The Prime Minister last night said it was time for internet firms to ‘stop making excuses’ for failing to crackdown on ‘disgusting’ pornography. Google was urged to use the same effort it put into filming virtually every house and street for Google Earth to help rid the internet of violent and obscene sexual images.

Until now firms have refused to act, claiming it is not their responsibility.

Quite. It isn\’t Google\’s responsibility.

If someone sticks illegal images up on the internet then that\’s the responsibility of the person who committed the illegal act: posting illegal images on the internet.

It is possible to insist that Google should not index such illegal images. Which they don\’t when they are brought to their attention. But there\’s one hell of a difference between asking Google not to index something and asking Google to make sure that it doesn\’t exist on the internet.

23 thoughts on “David Cameron really is a fucking twat”

  1. The Internet Watch Foundation (http://www.iwf.org.uk/) already blocks access to illegal images of child abuse in the UK on nearly all ISPs. Their list is supplied to other countries, many of whom do the same. They also act to get illegal content removed in the UK, and liaise to get it removed elsewhere.

    I am not entirely happy with the implications, as their list is confidential and they have form on blocking borderline images, and who knows what else. But, on the whole, I would prefer not to accidentally run foul of the (Labour) law which makes possession, even in your cache, of an illegal image a crime, whatever the intent.

    So, what does Cameron think he wants? Does he want to block legal images which he doesn’t like? And does he expect Google to do this for him? Why? Sometimes ignorance isn’t bliss – it is just ignorance.

    I expected better from the Coalition than Labour’s illiberalism. I guess I was mistaken.

  2. To be fair to Cameron, I think ‘make sure you can’t access child porn through Google services’ is all he meant.

    Two things about this confuse me though:
    1. Why single out Google? Sure, it’s the biggest search engine, but does this mean Bing and Yahoo get off scot free? He wouldn’t single them out because attacking Google is trendy right now, would he?

    2. Does David Cameron actually think paedos use Google to search for child porn? Has he not heard of the deep web? Has he done any research on this subject or is he just posturing?
    Oh, wait…

  3. OK
    Cameron has urged Google to “to help rid the internet of violent and obscene sexual images.”
    Google already does attempt to detect & not list kiddiepr0n.
    Cameron has said he has done something.
    Google will not contradict Cameron saying he has done something.
    Cameron has done nothing.
    Total non-story.

  4. “To be fair to Cameron, I think ‘make sure you can’t access child porn through Google services’ is all he meant.”

    Doubtful! The man’s a spineless vote-chasing worm. Who knows as much about the Internet as my cat.

    Sadly, that still puts him ahead of the average man in the street when it comes to emotive and technical subjects like this…

  5. Cameron *is* a fucking twat.

    He’s also a fucking clueless twat.

    Has he tried to turn Google safesearch off in the last several months on Google images?

    You can’t, unless you are logged in.

    It is now “safesearch on” or “more relevant results”, both of witch filter words such as “naked” in “naked mole rat”.

    The problem with logging in to do searches for naked anything is that we could have another guilt by association Operation Ore mess.

    There was a kerfuffle about it in the USA last year.

    Supernanny has landed, and supertwat of Downing Street still can’t see it.

  6. Ian B’s first rule of Anglosphere Politics-

    “The idiots always win”.

    Second rule-

    “The more idiotic your argument, the better it will play in the Daily Mail”.

  7. There are some horrible sociopaths about. But I wonder if our current focus on paedophilia does us any favours. If we, for example, rated urinating on war memorials the most heinous crime, would we have more urination and fewer child murders?

    (OK, I’m not sure about this, but maybe it does happen at the margin.)

  8. It’s like those tools who say things like “we could get a man to the moon, but we can’t build a solar powered car” and then assume there’s some conspiracy by the auto industry rather than that we’re a long way away from it being possible.

    If you can’t figure out yourself why other geniuses can’t solve a problem, maybe it’s because it’s a really hard, or almost impossible to solve problem. Some problems (like google street view) are expensive but easy to predict success/failure) and some aren’t.

    A lot of image processing is done with human beings. Google have their “image game” to find keywords for an image (that requires human participation). A lot of Amazon Mechanical Turk projects are about human beings looking at photos and finding information in them (like business names from photographs of business frontages).

    Even human beings are hopeless at spotting child pornography from images. The Lupe Fuentes case involved some video tapes being seized, two experts including a pediatrician being flown down from the US to confirm that no doubt she was under 18, only for Lupe Fuentes herself to fly to the trial and produce all her documentation and shooting information confirming that she was 19 at the time (http://www.examiner.com/article/porn-star-lupe-fuentes-appears-puerto-rico-court-vindicates-man-accused-of-child-porn-possession).

    Really, the man is just a twat.

  9. The Thought Gang

    When he’s done with this, is he going to get the postal service to ban nailbombs?

  10. Can’t really blame him for treating us all like idiots. What kind of country allows him and his gang of rowdies to get into politics in the first place, without any experience of the workplace, running a business or writing an academic paper. In theory what he’s doing is sound. He is playing to a gallery of buffoons (us). Obviously we turn the computer on (after our much needed ECDL courses) and it says Google on it, so Google is the internetz and controls the internetz.

  11. Holy Crap, Batman.

    -What’s Dave doing to stop us importing more Muslim paedophile rings?-

    He’s asked Google to block searches for Muslim paedophile rings, but then again that may have been Baroness Oswald Ernald Warsi.

  12. I suspect Cameron thinks Google *is* the internet.

    He’s probably one of those people who, when told to “go to” a given url, types it into Goole.

    Yes, such people do exist.

  13. I’m going to disagree a bit on this one. Firstly, Google’s very very clear intention is to be the Web. Andrew, you’re right that such people exist (my mother is one), but you’re wrongly assuming that this is just down to their own ignorance. Google spend a lot of marketing effort on convincing people that they should be the starting point of any journey on the Web. You start up a browser, and by default it opens at a special Google page designed to look like part of the browser and the cursor is automatically placed in the search field. When you type a URL in there, you are not then met with a simple instruction page telling you how to use your browser, which would take Google all of ten minutes to build. Google want to convince people that they are the Web, and they are very successful at it. People who treat Google as the Web are not stupid to do so. Note that no-one treats other search engines the same way.

    Google also like to play this game where they claim that they are helpless bystanders when it suits them. “Information wants to be free,” they say when they want someone else’s information and don’t feel like paying for it, trusting that couching the whole thing in terms of an inevitable law of nature rather than copyright infringement will get them off the hook. “It’s part of the nature of this technology that it persists forever,” they say when they don’t feel like deleting stuff they might be able to monetise, conveniently omitting to mention that they have now maneouvred themselves into such a dominant position that they get to dictate the nature of the technology.

    When it looks like something is going to be a seriously major repository of information, Google are not content just to index it; they buy it. And then, if anything objectionable or illegal goes up on Youtube, they try to fall back on claiming it’s nothing to do with them, as if they’re just a search engine. They’re not; they’re the owners.

    They can’t have it both ways. If they want to be nothing more than a search engine, they can go back to doing just that, like they did ten years ago. If they want to dominate one of the most important pieces of infrastructure on the planet and the greatest depository of information in human history, well, that comes with a little bit of responsibility. And it is entirely reasonable that the leaders of the world will ask them to spend some tiny fraction of their wealth on exercising a bit of it.

    Here’s a thought experiment. If it somehow cost Google one dollar every time a bit of child porn was downloaded, would we even be having this conversation?

  14. Squander, don’t know about you but when I start up a Internet Explorer it doesn’t go to Google.

    And you seriously would prefer Google to hinder a user in their searching by forcing them to enter the url into the address bar rather than be helpful and take the user to the URL being searched for – as well as listing other similar sites. And this is a sign of Google’s evil nature? Seriously?

    Yes, Google are a search engine, but they are primarily an advertising company. All the searching is is a way of showing adverts. All their actions is ways of getting more people to use them to see more adverts. So showing samples from books is a way of being able to show adverts for books. Showing maps allows adverts to be placed on them for businesses in the area. Etc. etc. etc.

  15. SadButMadLad,

    > And you seriously would prefer Google to hinder a user in their searching by forcing them to enter the url into the address bar rather than be helpful and take the user to the URL being searched for – as well as listing other similar sites. And this is a sign of Google’s evil nature? Seriously?

    No, I didn’t say what I would prefer and I didn’t say they’re evil. I said that the idea held by many laymen that Google is synonymous with the Web is a result of deliberate effort on Google’s part, not just ignorance on the users’ part. Which is true.

    > don’t know about you but when I start up a Internet Explorer it doesn’t go to Google.

    IE? No, of course not, as Microsoft are competition. But Firefox starts with a Google page by default, and so does any other browser Google have managed to persuade. They do whatever they can to become everyone’s homepage. Would you seriously dispute that?

    Amazingly, I already knew that Google are an advertising company. No, really. I know, and you thought you were providing me with some sort of revelation. Sorry about that.

  16. S2,

    Here’s a thought experiment. If it somehow cost Google one dollar every time a bit of child porn was downloaded, would we even be having this conversation?

    Google would just send off a cheque each month and carrying on what they are doing.

    I doubt there is very much of this material in the Google index, because it would make no sense to do so. You go making your highly illegal website easy to spider, how long before the police come knocking? I’m not going to try it, but I bet there aren’t many drug dealers on there.

    Having read the various news reports, the images that were found on Mark Bridger’s PC do not relate to the search terms he used. Most of this is simply the normal political/government/NGO powergrab that occurs after these sorts of events.

  17. S2: if it cost Google a dollar every time a bit of child porn was downloaded by anyone, that would be heinously unfair, would probably lead to some quite innovative and interesting things being created that stuffed up P2P and encryption, and would have absolutely no impact at all on the search engine or the web.

    If it cost Google a dollar everything a bit of child porn was downloaded by anyone on the unencrypted, publicly accessible web, however, then it would make fuck all difference to anything, because there *already isn’t any* child porn on the unencrypted, publicly accessible web, because it’s in nobody’s interests (apart from paedophiles, who are not a well-resourced lobby group) for it to be there.

    Amanda Platell’s mad DM article the other week was shown to actually feature adult porn; none of the things she found featured children. The child porn that’s on the internet now is in secured private chatrooms and P2P, which you can’t even imaginably connect to Google.

  18. Bloke in Spain (3) has it in a nutshell.

    Voters have hysterics about kiddie porn and the tabloids demand action; Cameron makes a superficial statement which appears to address the point; hysteria subsides; Cameron does nothing and we all move on.

    This doesn’t make Cameron a twat. Rather, it makes him rather astute…

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