(AFTERBIZLIFE) A new child pornography bust reported by CBS Sacramento is raising questions about Google’s access to consumer data.
The story began when federal agents raided a home in Woodland, California, on evidence that the resident was in possession of child pornography. But court documents reveal the evidence came from Google’s central scanning initiative, which had detected child porn images within the man’s Picasa library.

article-2512752-199D65AC00000578-632_634x422Google’s anti-child-porn efforts are well known, but many privacy advocates were surprised to learn the efforts extended to individual Picasa libraries, which are not publicly available. Google says it does not search the images indiscriminately, but performs automated searches searching for specific “image fingerprints” that have been flagged by law enforcement.

Any suspicious activity is forwarded to the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children, which, in this case, passed the information along to federal law enforcement to bring about the bust.

Google’s servers are able to search through images uploaded online. Algorithm technology can detect possible examples of child pornography.

Once such images are found it is examined by a human employee to check that the photo depicts abuse and not something more innocent, like a child at bath time.

Every offending picture can then be tagged with a particular digital fingerprint, which shows up if the image is reloaded online elsewhere.

Article by Afterbizlife

Stay up to date with the latest stories by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on Facebook.