Child Pornography. Disturbing Search Engine Terms


Let’s Talk Opinion Revisited

Last month I published a Let’s Talk Opinion post on the subject of Child Pornography and The Sexualisation of Children in popular media. Amongst other things, the article touched on the on-going debate in the British media regarding David Cameron’s support for pornography filters to be implemented by four major internet sites in order to reduce access to child pornography online.

Photograph by Samir Hussein | Getty Images

Photograph by Samir Hussein|Getty Images

What instigated David Cameron’s response were the revelations that late Jimmy Savile, host of the much-loved TV show Top of the Pops for 20 years, used his celebrity status to sexually abuse hundreds of children on BBC property, in hospitals, and elsewhere. In response to an enraged public, British PM David Cameron made restricting access to pornography and eliminating images of children on-line, a signature issue.

The six biggest providers of public Wi-Fi networks complied with the PM’s request to filter explicit content in public settings. Subsequently companies offering home Internet service were asked to install filters that automatically block pornography so that  subscribers would need to “opt in” to view such material.

On Monday, the 18th of November 2013, Google and Microsoft announced that 100,000 search terms have been disabled so that it would be impossible to use them to find illegal material. By early 2014, these filters will be on virtually all Internet accounts in Britain.

In order to get the material for this article, I have typed into my browser “british news child pornography filters” and at the top of the page the following add appeared:

Warning – Child abuse imagery is illegal‎
Report it or find help here.

What instigated this piece however was not this. It was the search engine term reported by WordPress in my stats: “young girl child pornography website.”

I have to admit that I was somewhat disconcerted by this. I’ve been mulling it over in my head. What was the searcher looking for? Was it an official search aimed at un-covering child pornography sites that have escaped though the filter-net? Or… more worryingly, have I been visited by a paedophile.

Scary thought.

Do you check the search engine terms used to find articles on your blog? If so…

What are the most disturbing search engine terms you have come across?


Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

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22 thoughts on “Child Pornography. Disturbing Search Engine Terms

  1. I do not believe the search terms are treated as one term. It might have given a result simply for “young child” for you.

    The search terms do not discriminate for context either, so if you write on child pornography as a subject, it might show up in others searches.

    I doubt that any non insane person would come to a wordpress blog seeking actual child pornography.

    For more details on Search Terms and lessing your potential exposure, can ask @koustave.

    But I think it would be difficult for you to write about such sensitive subjects and avoid the potential search term results.

    To do so you’d have to uancceptably censor yourself, I think.

    Since your blog clearly is not pornographic, don’t take it seriously. And loonies are as free as anyone to travel the internet. So it’s rather like being in a football stadium with some crazy unknown across the way. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Self delusion is the key to happiness. 😉

    If someone actually contacts you seeking such material in comments report them immediately.

    • Thank you, Kavalkade. This is helpful. Although WordPress reported the full phrase as in “young girl child pornography website.” so I think whoever searched must have used the full search engine term as well.
      I’ll definitely report anyone if they start requesting illegal material. I’m not worried at present, but the stat did unsettle me somewhat.

  2. Interesting to know that Britain has taken an action like. I don’t think the US has (to my knowledge anyway) and I think it would be a great idea. And definitely scary that that showed up for search terms. Yikes. Probably would have made me pause if I were you too. People are weird.

    • It did make me pause, brecore. Certainly. I could not quite believe it.
      My understanding is that other European states might be following Britain’s example on this. All it takes is for political leaders to make it a key issue on the agenda and then they can drive change through policy and in agreement with industry.
      I also think this is a good move. It must eliminate at least opportunistic voyeurism.
      Thank you for your comment.

      • Absolutely. 🙂 I checked online regarding the US (for my own curiosity) and saw that there are no blocks here. Apparently the topic has been brought up a few times, but too many people think its restricting peoples rights. *shrug* Seems like a pretty good restriction to me.

      • That is the problem with considering rights as natural rather than as what they are, which is socially determined and therefore socially amendable when times and needs change. There are many rights which we ought to fight to defend, and which we are entitled to view as unalienable, but none of these ought to be the kind of rights which give gratification to some at the expense of others.
        Thank you for letting me know about the situation in the US, brecore. I think the question will keep cropping up, especially as the tide is turning in Europe. Will see how it works here and it may be used to argue in favour of filters in the US next.

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    • Thank you, Priceless joy. I am surprised at the reluctance of US government to do so. I wonder whether there are lobbies working against it on this. Another issue to consider may be how law is divided between states. Perhaps this is something that has to happen state by state – not sure where US law stands on this. Would be interesting to look into.

  4. This is a topic that I won’t touch a search engine with, even using a ten foot pole. Way too dangerous. I fear both the depraved people or sites one might inadvertently meet, and the fact that the police or the NSA (or national equivalents) are likely watching and could misinterpret intent.

    Didn’t the guitarist from The Who get caught in this, doing research for a book given that he was sexually abused as a boy?

    • I have no idea how this message escaped my notice – apologies for the belated reply. You are right about Pete Townshend, the rock guitarist and co-founder of the Who being arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children in 2003, as well as his claim that it was done for research purposes only. I haven’t followed the story closely as I as travelling at the time so access to news was rather patchy. Certainly, it would be a mistake for anyone to make use of such search terms – neither the police nor the media take such matters lightly. Since this is a matter of protecting the vulnerable I am rather glad that that the issue was taken seriously irrespective of the outcome of the investigation, especially when viewed in the light of the latest scandals in the UK.

  5. I think like the US Australia doesn’t block access to the sites. Instead I think they are monitored allowing police to arrest those partaking in these illegal actions. I have had some weird searches show up as well (none of which I have kept in memory) but it does make you stop and think that there are definitely some weirdos out there.

    • Thank you, Irene. This is a very interesting point you raise. I wonder whether it would not be better to block access to the sites, and monitor those trying to get around the filters. This would certainly show some determination on their part, and may restrict networking between paedophiles. What do you think?

      • I certainly think that the sites should be blocked. I don’t know how easy it would be for someone to get there unexpectedly (I’d hate to stumble across something like that by accident). I don’t know whether, though, you would just be forcing these things further below the surface and making it harder to catch the perpetrators.

      • Thank you, Irene. Yes, I agree with you. It is tough to know how blocking access to these sites would affect the work of those attempting to catch wrongdoers. Food for thought.

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