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Daily Mail on Kiddie Porn

The Daily Mail newspaper represents a middle-class tone of screaming for justice and logic. Well, that's what I think it is aimed at. It is certainly a touch more highbrow than the lower-class journalism typical of The Mirror and The Sun; though sometimes it just screams know... people need a burning issue to rail against.

And so on the 24th of May, The Daily Mail asked Amanda Platell to look at kiddie porn websites under some pretext of "this is what twisted the mind of the sicko that killed sweet little Tia".
Sorry, I've been living under a rock. Who is Tia?
Sorry, you (Amanda) have been living under a rock. The world is full of sick bastards (the events in Woolwich just a few days later ought to be more than adequate proof of this).

Amanda writes: "You see, Tia wore glasses. And Google allowed Hazell to turn this innocuous phrase into something vile, something no right-minded person would ever wish to imagine.".
Sadly she doesn't elaborate on this point, for when I think of "glasses girl" the word that pops to mind is "meganekko" (it's okay, it's a wiki link) which is to say "geek chic where glasses are possibly the most attractive feature". However, today, at my local supermarket, I made the observation that of the seven girls on the tills, all of them were wearing glasses. Thus, if somebody gets it into their mind to attack a girl (adult or child) wearing glasses, well, gee, there are plenty of people to choose. I would say that maybe Tia was just really unlucky to be targetted, however Amanda drops in something rather disturbing: "Horror that a vulnerable girl could be left in the care of her grandmother and her partner, a man with 30 convictions for drugs and violence, because it seemed better than the hell-hole that was her own home.". Yeah, go back and read that again. In the midst of a rant that is about how Google absolutely positively definitely throws the most awful porn imaginable in your face regardless of whether or not your computer is even turned on, she glosses over a complete and total failure of anybody anywhere to properly look after this child. Tia is sent to that because her own home is worse, who's to say her killer didn't grow up in a similarly screwed up environment, and yet we are surprised it ended horribly tragically? This is Google's fault?

"No checks, no passwords, just one click ó and youíre met with a tsunami of images of young girls and boys, being sadistically, repeatedly raped and forced to perform sex acts on men, all captured in sickening close-up." says Amanda Platell. I find this interesting as, as you know, I have an attraction for Japanese girls and yes there is a certain amount of nudity involved as "cute japanese girl" quite often seems to be a euphemism for "naked japanese girl". I have come across some bizarre staged scenarios involving younger girls (teenagers) fully dressed and covered in some sort of gloopy slimy gunk like half-set Jell-O. This must be one really specifically weird fetish. I have not as yet encountered anybody being beaten, nor child-adult sex images. The closest I got so far is Skirt, Hirari (just the lyrics and translation), an AKB48 song where a schoolgirl is lamenting the fact that she can't pick up older guys because of how she is dressed. Uh, right, yeah...

Amanda explains how she typed "little girls in glasses" into Google and lots of what you might expect turned up, and by adding one simple four letter word beginning with 'p', up came a deluge (her word) of video clips. Funny, I figured apart from the quick preview of potentially interesting material, one had to switch between general search, image search, and video search. By doing this, Amanda claims that "Often nearly half an hour long, these clips act as an online guide for paedophiles on how to groom their victims.".
I think we can infer from this that she actually watched (or part watched) this content. Isn't that illegal?

After a brief apology to readers, Amanda continues: "The fact is that these repulsive videos are available in every home in this country via Google, the search engine most children use to do their homework. They are a malign cancer, which is beginning to undermine any sense of moral structure in parts of British society. They are images depraving perverted appetites, and children like Tia are dying as a result."

Seriously. This is Daily Mail mentality right here.
As an experiment, I tried the above phrase with various SafeSearch settings (and did not follow any of the links) and noticed that the results were the same regardless of what the search safety settings were. While I think Google should indeed block questionable content if you have strict filtering on - it does rather beg the question of what is Google supposed to return when you explicitly ask it for porn? Perhaps with SafeSearch enabled, it should detect certain phrases of that nature - the sort that teenage boys would try entering for a laugh - and just ignore those specific words. Consider it sanitising the input as well as the output.

However, one has to wonder if we are even attacking the right target here. If your neighbour is a convicted paedophile, is it justified to attack the phone company for listing his information in the phone book? If some depraved bastard puts up child pornography on a website, is it justified for attacking Google for coming across it and indexing it with the billions of other sites around? There is a mechanism for reporting child sex content to be removed from Google - here is the link. It tells you to contact the IWF if you are in the UK (and likewise for some other countries). This is because just kicking a link off of Google does nothing other than make that specific link disappear; the content can reappear in a different way, or a different site, or... What is necessary is to involve law enforcement to go after the people actually providing the content. This is what the IWF (etc) does.

"It starts with a sweet-looking girl in her early teens, walking home in her school uniform: long white socks, short skirt and, as we discover later, pristine white cotton underwear." - and so Amanda continues for a few short paragraphs describing the 24 minute long video she watched, written in a way to play on the emotions for Daily Mail readers need to be sickened by this outrage.
Then more searches, and yet more searches, and she's actually quoting the phrases she used - perhaps she is too innocent or perhaps she is too stupid to understand that the depraved might read this and think "I never thought to look for that". Is the Daily Mail now as culpable as they seem to think Google should be?

Then comes this: "And while you say that your child would never seek out such material, it can happen so innocently.
A friend told me that her ten-year-old daughter was recently at a party. One of the girls went onto the YouTube website to show her friends a funny video of two cats playing.
They laughed and wanted to see more, so one keyed in Ďcute pussiesí. Up came a video of child pornography. Those girls were terrified by what they had found. And their experience can happen any time, anywhere, to anyone.

Really. Well, please observe my mobile phone.

Here is "cute pussies" in my normal (unfiltered) search:

YouTube app results for 'cute pussies' (unfiltered)

You can see there might be some content unsuitable for a ten year old. It is perhaps worth mentioning that I saw nothing in a brief flick-down of the results that looked like it might be child pornography. I was under the impression that not only was YouTube fairly quick at stamping on objectionable content, but also wrapped (legal) adult content behind a sign-in procedure.

So here is the same thing with full filtering on:

YouTube app results for 'cute pussies' (full filter)

That's much more child friendly.

Of course, there does remain the possibility that this sort of content was indeed served up by Google - to a child using a computer that was not locked down and with a Google account where the age showed the user to be over the age of 18. I was not signed in while doing either of the above tests, it is possible that more distasteful results would be displayed to a person signalling that they were of legal age.
This is not a Google fail - this is a parenting fail. As it quite clearly says on Google's explanation page at the bottom of the account sign-up: "Date of birth. Your date of birth helps us provide you with things like age-appropriate settings. We wonít display it without your permission.".
Really, that couldn't have put it more simply. So, dear Amanda, did your friend's child really see child pornography on YouTube, and if so (which I personally doubt), was the computer logged in as an "adult" with no filtering applied?
As I said, I very much doubt this is real. It's a sweet little friend-of-a-friend style anecdote to dwell on every fear of the typical Daily Mail reader. Having made a very big point about how real child pornography is, with practically a HowTo of where to find it, the author then throws this in to make us quite well assured that one doesn't need to search for kiddie porn. Instead, it will come and find your children and send them into nappies and therapy until they reach middle age...assuming it doesn't turn them into homicidal maniacs first.

I am aware that it is very de mode to kick Google what with their horrible terrible evil the-world-is-gonna-end tax avoidance (also known as following a bad law literally, Google might not have moral high ground with their tax payments but how many companies when obeying current legislation would voluntarily cough up more money just for the hell of it?). Anyway, it is the order of the day to randomly kick Google. They're big, scary, track everybody everywhere (even in the bog, they have robotic mosquitoes relaying live video feeds, you know!) and they don't pay enough damn tax. However no amount of whining and screaming and yelling Kiddie Porn Will Taint Your Kids can get around what is just plain bad parenting. Sign out, turn on SafeSearch, lock the settings, and if you don't know how then either disallow your children to use a computer (the loser approach) or go to some classes to skill up. Do not piss and moan about how everybody else should take action for your inadequacies.

The article continues: "Research carried out for EU Kids Online shows that in the UK, 24 per cent of 9-16 year-olds say they have seen sexual images in the past 12 months ó 11 per cent of them online and five per cent on their mobile phones." and "And of the children who saw the images online, 41 per cent did so without their parentsí knowledge.". When I was at boarding school, getting access to the usual sorts of magazines, plus some European imports of a decidely sleazier nature, depending on knowing the right person to ask. Yes, I had a look at PlayBoy, aged about 12, without my parents (or any of the teachers) knowing. I've also seen porn video back in the VHS era and my only question is "do girls really make all that racket". I gave up on that sort of thing pretty quickly as there is something rather unsavoury about watching other people have sex, however as a boy in a boy's school, it's like a rite of passage you must endure. To be honest, I'm glad I watched two people porking as a twelve year old. I found it distasteful and have not been interested in that sort of thing in the twenty seven years since.

"This week, the Childrenís Commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson, reported that easy access to online pornography encourages teenage boys to see girls as sex objects and to engage in risky sexual behaviour." is there an actual citation for this? "[...] concluding that those who access adult images and videos are more likely to lose their virginity at a younger age." and a citation for this? "There were even indications that boys who look at violent porn are more likely to become sexually aggressive.", and a citation for this? "there were indications" could just as easily be somebody drawing their own conclusions separate to that which was actually stated. As evidence of my concern, we need to read the following paragraph of the article:
"But I believe that we have to go further. Google should not enable users to find such disturbing material. Itís worrying enough that itís desensitising young boys and girls. But itís also an evil that is rousing men like Stuart Hazell to commit murder."
Here, is it not entirely clear if the disturbing material is desensitising young boys and girls and rousing men like Stuart Hazell to commit murder; or if this accusation is actually being leveled at Google...if this article in the Daily Mail is actually suggesting that Google is facilitating in murder. Uh-hu. Is this part of the publish and be damned ethos?

There is more gibberish, Google is directly accused of tax avoidance, read the article if you want to know the gory details. Amanda makes a point that Google could do more, and yes, they could harden up their filters and they could implement a better mechanism whereby questionable sites can be reported for review (not just a legal takedown or a "remove this page from Google" but more a "this site is sick, can you review it and take it down yourselves if you agree"). However Amanda shows a complete misunderstanding of the Internet when she writes "They must use the money they have accumulated from avoiding tax to cleanse such filth from the internet.". (again with the tax avoidance!) How is Google supposed to do this? Sure, they have a lot of money, but having money doesn't mean you can click your fingers and sick sad sites will fall off the face of the planet. Or would you be happy for the sites to just not be listed in Google's results? This won't make them go away, but it will mean your troubled middle-class sensitivities will no longer be bothered by them. If so, FAIL.

I trust that Amanda Platell has reported all of the content that she found to the IWF so that it may be correctly followed up on by the correct legal and regulatory bodies.
The Daily Mail ends with "The Daily Mail, which carried out its investigations in the public interest, is reporting these websites to the police. Readers must not access these websites as it is against the law." so there is hope that the videos and content that were described in the article (there's another one at the end of it) will be stomped upon in the appropriate manner.

However, note the "it is against the law". I also trust that Amanda Platell and whoever in the Daily Mail asked her to do this both report themselves to the police for prosecution. Yes, it is illegal under British Law to watch (or download, IIRC) child pornography. Saying "it is in the public interest" should not absolve you of your moral responsibility as a citizen. You, Mrs Platell, broke the law (numerous times - which part of "child pornography" did you not understand the first second nth time around?) and told several million people about it.
Now are you going to accept whatever punishment is deemed necessary, or do you wish to make grave accusations against a global service provider, hint at state-sanctioned censorship in the guise of "protecting our children", and then top it all off by expected to be treated differently under the law because "you are a journalist"?

Child pornography is real.
Some seriously messed up people are walking around amongst us.
[The Daily Mail makes up stuff]
None of this is news.
We might be able to have a reasonable discussion on what can be done about both if we keep the screamy-screamy at a minimum and tackle this like rational people.
I won't hold my breath.

[note: in the writing of this article, no links were followed, no porn was watched, and no child pornography was even found...]


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Jess, 28th May 2013, 19:18
And the point is:- child pornography doesn't exist?
Me, 29th May 2013, 17:39
Oh it exists. I think that the existence of the IWF proves it without needing to indicate how it can be found, but Google is not the place to find it, and I have a suspicion that any website that is easily found through google is likely to be a honey trap. Even if they aren't, look how many sites get taken down and their members tracked down and prosecuted.  
Don't ever try to look for it - this stuff is poison. Google previews will fetch pages you haven't even looked at and leave them in your cache. That journalist can be jailed for admitting viewing it - there are plenty of news reports where people have tried using the 'research' argument before, and failed. Just expressing an opinion on this stuff is dangerous.
Rick, 29th May 2013, 20:52
Indeed it exists, it would be ridiculous to think that it does not. As for Google's effectiveness, I honestly couldn't say. As a person who would like a cute daughter one day (if it's a boy, I'm shoving him back inside...), this is not a scene I have the slightest bit of interest in, other than to say that all the times I've been online and all the rubbish I've looked at, child pornography has NOT come and hit me over the head like this article implies. 
As for expressing an opinion, thankfully I am not British resident. I do not know the specifics of French law in this respect, however I trust it would be saner than to consider a DRAWING of an imaginary child in a compromising position to be equal to a photo of a real child in such a situation. The logic equivalence of this is that a person who enjoyed the "Saw" franchise of movies obviously gets off on torturing people and should be arrested and treated as such. 
What we need, quite clearly, is: more coherent laws, less idiotic reporting like the one I'm responding to, and the ability to have a dialogue without people shouting "paedo!" if your reaction isn't to immediately censor the entire internet. 
Certainly, adults who ACTUALLY abuse children should be castrated using a gang-mower; but let's start with actual real children being abused by people we can point our finger at and go from there (statistically it is frequently instigated by the child's own relatives or carers; while grooming of strangers does happen, I think if the truth of in-the-family child abuse was ever known, the timid Middle Class sensibilities would die of shock). 
However, since the thought of a child being raped is a subject that presses a lot of people's berzerk buttons, as I said in the post, I won't hold my breath waiting for any sort of sane discussion from either the public media or parliament...

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