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Google will pull 'revenge porn' out of its search results

Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
June 19, 2015
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An unintended side effect of the increasingly connected world we live in, is that sometimes your identity can be maliciously tied to information that should remain private. The proliferation of "revenge porn" that's often used to target and harass women has taken advantage of the internet's unforgiving search capabilities in exactly that way, and as a result Google is announcing a change in its policy to fight that. Soon, the search giant will accept requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images of themselves shared without their consent from its search results. According to the blog post, Google already accepts requests to remove info like bank account numbers and signatures, and calls this an extension of that "narrow and limited" policy.

Other internet companies like Twitter and Facebook have also recently adjusted their policies to deal specifically with this type of harassment. As USA Today reports, until now Google has usually required a legal request to remove information from its search results, except in Europe where the "right to be forgotten" law lets people remove links that appear in searches for their name. While we don't have a similar regulation here, making a preemptive change that cuts out the business model of people like Kevin Bollaert is probably a good thing.

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