Global internet corporation Google has used a man’s Gmail account to notify police of his illegal behaviour towards young children.
The 41-year-old man from Houston, Texas, was identified after Google found child abuse imagery on his account and alerted a child protection agency, according to local news station KHOU.
He had allegedly filmed young children while working at a diner and then uploaded the material to an email. Google detected explicit images featuring an underage girl which lead to the man being charged with possession of child pornography.
Child porn discovered by Google. I’m not sad but I’m not sure I understand privacy anymore. http://t.co/mi1Xusv411
— Anne Schwartz (@sophgermain) August 4, 2014
“Gmail users will certainly be interested to know what action Google proactively takes to monitor and analyse Gmail messages for illegal content, including details of what sorts of illegal activity may be targeted,” Emma Carr, acting director of privacy lobby group Big Brother Watch, told the BBC.
“Google must also make themselves very clear about what procedures and safeguards are in place to ensure that people are not wrongly criminalised.”
Under US law, companies are required to report child pornography if they come across it.
Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has previously commented on the matter in an opinion piece for the Daily Mail.
“We actively remove child sexual abuse imagery from our services and immediately report abuse to the authorities,” Schmidt wrote. “This evidence is regularly used to prosecute and convict criminals.”