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May 5, 2006

Nassau County official: Google profits from child porn

Long Island lawmaker claims Google profits from child porn
Associated Press Writer
May 4, 2006, 7:30 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- A Long Island politician who describes himself as a "quality of life guy" on his Web site filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming the Google search engine company is profiting from child pornography.

"This case is about a multi-billion dollar company that promotes and profits from child pornography," said a 16-page complaint filed in state Supreme Court in Mineola by Jeffrey Toback, a member of the Nassau County Legislature.

"They have paid links" to Web sites containing child pornography, Toback told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "They take money from these sites."

A Google spokesman denied the allegations in a statement and said the company takes numerous steps to prevent access to child pornography.

"When we find or are made aware of any child pornography, we remove it from our products, including our search engine," spokesman Steve Langdon said. "We also report it to the appropriate law enforcement officials and fully cooperate with the law enforcement community to combat child pornography."

He also said Google offers a service called SafeSearch for its search engine "that works to filter out adult content."

Toback, who has sponsored local legislation raising the age that teenagers can legally buy cigarettes to 19 and limiting teen access to tanning salons, said he filed the lawsuit because oversight over Google was far beyond the purview of county legislators.

"This is a proactive step to keep children safe," Toback said. "We had to go the judicial route."
This isn't a matter of a child stumbling onto child porn; we're talking about predators, here.

From what I can gather with how Google's search feature operates, in order for SafeSearch to be effective, the user has to manually toggle the setting by clicking on "Preferences" -- the default setting merely filters explicit images, not text. Therefore, the text alone will appear in the results and the user can find the images from there.

Besides, mentioning Google SafeSearch in its own defense is irrelevant.

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