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General News

Google email scan helps police arrest a sex offender

Google has long used automatic image scanning to fight online child exploitation, but it’s now clear that this monitoring applies to email, too. Houston police have arrested a registered sex offender after Google tipped them off to illegal photos of children in his Gmail account. The notice only led to a warrant at first, but it helped the cops discover locally stored images that they wouldn’t have found otherwise. Full Article

Join the discussion

  1. Eric Knight

    “First, they came for the sex offenders…”

    I’ve always said that sex offenders are the “canary in the mine” when it comes to civil liberties in a society…specifically, in getting the public to approve of an infringement of privacy liberties.

    While I don’t have any sympathy for the person with the images per se, hopefully, there will be a vigorous defense in court. Otherwise, there WILL be more sympathy directed to lowering constitutional protections across the board.

  2. sérviam

    So I guess this means that people who use email no longer have a “reasonable expectation of privacy?”

    • j

      They never have. Unless you own and manage your email system including all network lines and hardware, you are subject to the terms and conditions of the email host and any of the providers in the entire delivery system.

      They are bound by law to comply with any court ordered request for information, and in many cases give out this information without probably cause, simply at the request of an investigative agency. There never has been actual privacy on a public email system and there will probably never be. It is good to catch anyone who is using these systems to commit a crime, but there is a lot of questionable activity and anti-privacy code imbedded that subjects innocent users to essentially warrant-less searches.

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