Google, after initial resistance, have both capitulated and promised a worldwide block on roughly 13,000 search terms that may lead to child pornography at behest of British Prime Minister David Cameron. In a rare showing of cooperation with their chief competitor, Microsoft also stated that the Bing search engine would follow suit.
Mr. Cameron seemed pleased with the outcome, given Google’s initial claim that it “couldn’t be done and shouldn’t be done”. Despite this, he seemed unsatisfied and mentioned possible legal action if Google and Microsoft did not take further action.
The move invites a lot of skepticism, as a logical breakdown of the scenario finds that no child sex offender in their right mind is going to use a traceable Google search to find illegal media.
Illegal activity is often conducted through means such as peer-to-peer networking or underground online communities, and search engines have already been blocking inappropriate content for some time now.
Skeptics argue that at best, nothing will change and that this amounts to a very public but ineffective crusade on Mr. Cameron’s part. The worst case scenario is that a precedent has been set for censorship of any online content the government chooses via changes to the Google search engine.