Google Joins Fight Against Revenge Porn… But Is It Enough?

Revenge porn is a huge topic lately, and there doesn’t seem to be a week that goes by without someone talking about the latest convictions… and now the talk has gotten even bigger.

Woman searching for porn

The war on revenge porn has taken a huge turn as internet giant Google have joined it and are now blocking any images of revenge porn that they can. Is this enough to win the fight against revenge porn, or is it just too little too late?

Revenge Porn

Revenge porn has always been an issue. For many, it has been the result of a bad break-up, and the ex has decided that the best way to get revenge is to share their sexy snaps or hot home-made and amateur porn online for all to see. Of course, they won’t ask their partner about it because they want to get back at them.

However, the celebrity nude leaks last year, more commonly known on the internet as “the fappening”, really brought this issue to attention and made us question just what we should be doing when “intimate” images are posted online without consent.

People quickly began to push for legislation to be brought in to stop this from happening. They wanted those who posted the content without consent to be punished in some way, and as a result many have found themselves facing fines.

While many parts of America, Canada, and the UK have brought in laws specifically banning the use of revenge porn, the law on revenge porn in Ireland is a little unclear. It seems that there are some gaps in the laws that could lead to those posting revenge porn getting away with it because the law isn’t clear enough. A spokesperson from the commission to look at the gaps in cyber-crime laws spoke out about it, stating that “the government are unlikely to create an entirely new crime offence for just revenge porn”, but that “harassment laws would be the umbrella over these sort of offences”.

However, she did highlight the fact that, while the cases of revenge porn are quite rare, those that do come to the courts “would all have to be looked at on a case-by-case basis” anyway, and so those guilty could still face punishment.

Big names blocking revenge porn

Great news, right? Those who go around sharing porn for the sake of revenge on an ex-partner or someone who has just pissed them off could be facing the full brunt of the law as a result, and many are getting behind this.

Back in February we found out that Reddit was now putting its foot down on those sharing revenge porn on their sight and have decided to ban those users who do that. Twitter followed suit in March, stating that “posting content for the purpose of shaming or vigilantism will be prohibited”, and we thought that we big new.

Now Google has joined in, announcing that they too will be working to stop revenge porn. Their statement said: “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 – predominately women. So going forward, we’ll honour requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results.

This is huge news, as Google is the biggest internet search engine, “accounting for nearly 70 per cent of the global search market”. If Google step in to try and put a stop to the revenge porn images littering the internet, it can only be a good thing… right?

Will it work?

There are some who feel that Google stepping into the fray is wrong for a number of reasons. For a start, they point out that “Google hasn’t described how the takedown requests will be handled” and added that it seems to be a simple case of “submitting details via a form”, which might not be very thorough.

They also point out that there are already things that people can do if they are the victim of revenge porn, and those legal avenues are the best way forward. Simply asking Google to “pretty please” take down the images won’t get you the justice you deserve.

There are some other interesting things that they point out. Duncan Riley, a writer at SiliconANGEL, makes the point that this is also highly hypocritical of Google. Google are currently in the process of opposing the French Court on the “right to be forgotten” ruling, where people can request that information about them that can be found in the Google caches is removed.

Of course, removing revenge porn is a different matter, so just how will they do it? It is going to be an exhausting task for the Google employees, as they obviously won’t be able to just take down every image request that comes there way. There will be false ones in there, and it is hard to tell from a picture if consent was given the share it. So they will have to work with others to find out if these requests are genuine and then take action.

Honestly, I think that Google getting involved is a great way to point out that revenge porn is a big issue we need to be dealing with, but whether their actions will help to put a stop to revenge porn I don’t know. Hopefully it will, but Google are walking the line of censorship right now, and many are going to try and take advantage of that.

What do you think of this? Should Ireland be putting a separate law in place to tackle revenge porn, or is it not that big of an issue that it warrants such an action? You can let us know by visiting the Escort Ireland forum or by leaving a comment in the box below.

Lara Mills
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Lara Mills

Lara Mills is a writer who has four years of sex industry expertise behind her. Since she entered the adult industry, she has worked on the Escort Advertising forums, before moving into her current role three years ago.

Since then she has gained a fine reputation with her blogs on sex advice, sexual health and amusing news stories from around the globe. She is also a campaigner for the rights of sex workers from all over the world.

In her spare time, Lara keeps herself active by going running, and is something of a film buff. She also loves to go travelling.
Lara Mills
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