Latest in Childabuse

Image credit:

Google email scan helps police arrest a sex offender

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
August 4, 2014
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Google has long used automatic image scanning to fight online child exploitation, but it's now clear that this monitoring applies to email, too. Houston police have arrested a registered sex offender after Google tipped them off to illegal photos of children in his Gmail account. The notice only led to a warrant at first, but it helped the cops discover locally stored images that they wouldn't have found otherwise.

The bust is notable in that there were no public clues to the offender's activity, such as a website; besides the people he contacted, only Google would have known what he was doing online. That will undoubtedly raise concerns for some, since it wasn't immediately apparent that Mountain View's servers were checking Gmail images. However, the activity isn't a complete surprise. Google's terms of service already indicate that the company is analyzing Gmail for both targeted ads and security -- while illegal pornography isn't explicitly mentioned in the terms, it only makes sense that this content would be considered as well.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

A number of first-party Nintendo Switch games are on sale at GameStop

A number of first-party Nintendo Switch games are on sale at GameStop

View
Tom Hanks: 'Absolute heartbreak' that 'Greyhound' won't debut in theaters

Tom Hanks: 'Absolute heartbreak' that 'Greyhound' won't debut in theaters

View
‘Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’ gameplay footage surfaces in leaked videos

‘Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’ gameplay footage surfaces in leaked videos

View
Supreme Court rules against law allowing debt-collection robocalls to cell phones

Supreme Court rules against law allowing debt-collection robocalls to cell phones

View
Chrome update may extend your laptop's battery life by up to 2 hours

Chrome update may extend your laptop's battery life by up to 2 hours

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr