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Google throws down the hammer and turns over child porn pics

A recent story posted on the New York Times website late August 4, 2014 reports that Google has turned over to federal authorities some rather alarming evidence found in their Gmail servers depicting child pornography and abuse. After Google spiders detected some disturbing images inside a Houston area email account, executives of the search engine giant immediately tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Houston area law enforcement officials were then immediately notified who zeroed in on a suspect. Det. David Nettles quickly arrested a 41- year old restaurant cook by the name of John Henry Skillern. The man is a previously convicted sex offender, working at a Denny’s Restaurant in nearby Pasadena, Texas. Upon further investigation, Nettles discovered additional videos of young children visiting the Denny’s establishment found on the suspect’s cell phone. Bail has been set for $200,000.

Google insists that this is just part of its public duty to report any case of suspected child exploitation. They are not heroes, nor are they trying to infringe of the public’s right to privacy. Det. Nettles agrees, stating that all companies, be they “brick and mortar” or Internet-based are bound by federal law to report such possible crimes to the appropriate authorities.

Google has always made clear that their Gmail accounts should never be considered “private”. And they have regularly monitored their search engine results for years against such types of pornographic and abusive material. So the fact that Killern was caught and placed into custody should really come as no surprise.

But there is still some debate over the Big Brother aspect of the Internet in general, and Google seems to draw a great deal of the controversial backlash. But the technology conglomerate remains firm. A Google spokesperson released a statement shortly after the arrest was made public on Monday, August 4, 2014,

"Sadly, all Internet companies have to deal with child sexual abuse. It's why Google actively removes illegal imagery from our services - including search and Gmail - and immediately reports abuse to the NCMEC