Cross posted from the Child Abuse Survivor site
The tech world is alive with news that Google has helped locate and charge a predator based on scanning their email for child pornography images.
Obviously, this is a case of a stupid criminal, if you’re going to share illegal images, using a cloud service provider that already admits to scanning email contents for keywords as part of their advertising plan probably isn’t the most private place to do it.
On the other hand, it is also a sign of the times. Letting third party companies hold your data on their servers puts some legal obligations on them to prevent you from putting certain kinds of data on the service. Simply put, once you attached a known CP image to an email it was stored on Google’s server. Google could be charged with possession by simply leaving it there, negligence for not knowing it was there, and possibly even more if they allowed this person to keep sharing it with their service. So, they kind of have to scan their own servers for known images. Once found, that information has to be turned over to the authorities, which is as it should be. Anyone who works with technology, especially other people’s technology, would be required to do the same.
As someone who is very interested in making sure child pornographers are caught and charged, I like the fact that cloud services are attracting them. Rather than shut down services that allow people to trade images on the internet for fear of letting a few of them do something illegal, I’d rather have this type of thing going on, where they use the technology, but the technology helps the authorities find them too.