Background

A while ago, Google removed its “don’t be evil” clause from its code of conduct.

Is this decision predictive of Google’s stance on sexual exploitation issues?

In short: it’s complicated.

Google is a vast corporate empire, and there have been some important steps forward that Google has taken to combat sexual exploitation, including responses to NCOSE activism to remove pornographic apps from GooglePlay, ceasing pornographic Google Ads, improving WiFi filtering tools, and improving the visibility of the SafeSearch filtering option in Google Images.

Nevertheless, Google has been named to the Dirty Dozen List because it has failed to proactively address serious digital harms flourishing on YouTube, Google Chromebooks, and Google Images. Further, Google is currently working to roll out large-scale encryption programs that could make it difficult for law enforcement to effectively find and intercept sexual exploiters of children and it could impact filtering for families and schools.


More details about Google’s encryption efforts (known as DoH, which stands for DNS over HTTPS.)

On September 17, 2019, 20 child safety and anti-trafficking organizations sent a letter to Congressional committee leaders raising serious alarms about Google and Mozilla/Cloudfare’s plans to centralize control of the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) system in a way that could undermine or block online child protection tools and services.

Google and Mozilla/Cloudfare are stating to rout DNS requests from Chrome and Firefox browsers, and Android mobile devices, through their own DNS system using a new encrypted protocol called DoH. In doing so, they will bypass the current DNS system, which is a critical component of ongoing efforts by ISPs, technology providers, and law enforcement to prevent, monitor, and prosecute crimes against children, such as the sharing of child sexual abuse images.

These changes could: 1) Make online crimes against children harder to track by law enforcement and Internet watchdogs, and; 2) Create confusion and make it harder to filter and remove illegal content normally blocked by network operators, ISPs, and other third-party DNS providers, including schools.

To be clear, we recognize the value of increasing security and privacy tools. However, across America and the UK, technology, sexual exploitation, law enforcement and child development experts are alarmed by the unilateral rollout of these changes without sufficient subject matter consultation.

These changes could impact 70% of the Internet and so we must closely examine the unintended consequences, especially on the most vulnerable in the realm of sexual exploitation and abuse.

.@Google and @mozilla / Cloudfare’s plans to centralize control of the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) system could undermine or block online child protection tools and services. They need to slow down and properly consider child online… Click To Tweet

Four Areas of Concern

Three Areas of Concern

Progress

Google Images Improves Search, Decreases Unwanted Porn Exposure

Google changed its policies and algorithms on Google Images to decrease exposure to hardcore pornography for users looking up unrelated or innocent terms. Now, Google Images will return educational drawings for most anatomical search terms.

Read More

Apr 21 2020

Safe Search

In 2018, NCOSE met with Google executives and asked for Safe Search to be put in the top right corner of Google Images. Google agreed and placed it in the top right of Google Images. Now more users will know the filter is available to them.

Read More

2018

YouTube Kids App

Feb 23 2015

Google AdWords prohibits explicit content

In June 2014, Google enacted policies for AdWords to no longer accept ads that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts or ads that link to websites that have such material in them.

June 2014

GooglePlay Cleaned Up

In 2013, Google announced that pornographic and sexually explicit apps would no longer be allowed in GooglePlay. This policy was enforced, with hundreds of apps removed from the app store, in March 2014.

Read More

2013

Robust Family Safety Center

Google regularly updates and improves the Family Safety Center with great tools and ways to protect children from exploitation and other online dangers. Check it regularly!

Visit the Google Family Center

Action

Email the Google Play App Store

While the Apple app store does not carry an app for the pseudo-dating prostitution site SeekingArrangement, the Google Play app store does! (learn more about Seeking Arrangement here.)

Email executives to tell them to stop hosting this exploitive app.

Google DoH child safety

Petition: Slow Down Google’s Large-Scale Encryption Efforts to Ensure Online Safety

Google is rolling out large-scale encryption efforts (referred to as DoH, for DNS over HTTPS.)

Sign the petition to stand with us!

These changes could: 1) Make online crimes against children harder to track by law enforcement and Internet watchdogs, and; 2) Create confusion and make it harder to filter and remove illegal content normally blocked by network operators, ISPs, and other third-party DNS providers, including schools.

Have your kids been exposed to sexually explicit content through their schools?

Submit Your Story

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Utilize the Built-in Controls

While we are demanding that Google to automatically turn on safety search and filters for all Chromebooks sold to schools, you can proactively make sure your child’s devices are safe. Share this information with other parents and with your school officials.

 

Tell Google to Remove Graphic Pornography from Images Search

Google: Thank You Petition

Google is a vast corporate empire, and there have been some important steps forward that Google has taken to combat sexual exploitation, including responses to NCOSE activism to remove pornographic apps from GooglePlay, ceasing pornographic Google Ads, improving WiFi filtering tools, and improving the visibility of the SafeSearch filtering option in Google Images.

Sign the Petition to YouTube

Help us urge YouTube to change the way they operate. They must use the necessary resources to decrease the sexually graphic content on their site.

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NCOSE's 2019 Victories and Highlights
Document explaining Google/Mozilla/Cloudflare's plan for DoH
proof-google-tech-cda (1)
Google lobbyist backpage sex trafficking

Updates

NCOSE Director of Public Policy Testifies in Front of Bipartisan Task Force

On October 1, 2020, Dr. Eleanor Gaetan, Director of Public Policy at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), testified in front of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. The task force, which includes Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Susan Davis (D-CA), Dave Joyce (R-OH), and John Katko (R-NY), was holding a virtual roundtable…

Corporations in the Classroom: What are Google and EBSCO teaching our kids?

Corporations and brands shape culture, and unfortunately their influence has permeated into our education system. Due to the steadily growing reliance on technology in schools—exponentially increased during the pandemic—already powerful companies are influencing and even determining the content our kids are consuming, shaping their young minds. Two corporate giants that dominate EdTech include Google and…

Join with NCOSE to Increase Internet Safety in 2020

*This blog is the second in a series for Internet Safety Month 2020. The first part covers current actions NCOSE supports in order to fight for internet safety. This second part covers progress that still needs to be made on this front.* As designated by the U.S Senate, June is National Internet Safety Month in…

Internet Safety

STATEMENT – Google Fails to Protect Kids on School Sanctioned Chromebooks

National Center on Sexual Exploitation Calls on Google to Create Safer Products for Kids Amid COVID-19 and Internet Safety Month Washington, DC (June 10, 2020) – In recognition of Internet Safety Month, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is calling on Google to make necessary fixes to Chromebook laptops to prevent children from easily…

STATEMENT – Google Images Improves Search, Decreases Unwanted Porn Exposure

Washington, DC (April 21, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauded Google for changing policies and algorithms on Google Images to decrease exposure to hardcore pornography for users looking up unrelated or innocent terms. Google was named to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s 2020 Dirty Dozen List in part because of…

Progress! Google Images Improves Search, Decreases Unwanted Porn Exposure

This time last year, Google Images, the site used by most people to find photos on the Internet, exposed children to countless graphic hardcore pornography images in less than 1 second, even for innocent or educational searches. Searches for basic anatomical terms did not yield scientific drawings but instead returned endless pages of images of…

Victory with Google concerning Google Images

7th Grade Girl Exposed to Porn on School Device

Excerpt from ky3 Some Springfield parents are concerned about inappropriate material that’s accessible on their children’s school-issued Chromebooks. They contacted KY3 News about those concerns, specifically that pornography being viewed by young children in an ad at the bottom of a web page. “I started teaching in public schools over 20 years ago, and for…

2020 Dirty “Baker’s Dozen” List of Mainstream Contributors to Sexual Exploitation Announced by National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Seeking Arrangement, Amazon, Twitter, TikTok, Among Top Contributors to Sexual Exploitation in America Washington, DC (February 6, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation today announced its 2020 Dirty Dozen List, a list of mainstream entities that are major facilitators of sexual exploitation in the United States. Watch the video announcement at DirtyDozenList.com. The…

2020 Dirty Dozen List graphic

Meet the 2020 Dirty Dozen List

In 2020, it is intolerable for a mainstream company or entity to facilitate, profit from, or normalize sexual exploitation—and that’s why the Dirty Dozen List exists. This list ensures that their promotion and collusion with sexual assault, sex trafficking, pornography, the eroticization of incest, and more, becomes public knowledge, and equips concerned citizens with information and…

2020 Dirty Dozen List graphic

Will YouTube’s COPPA Improvements Address Pedophile Comments on Kids’ Videos?

YouTube has long been criticized by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation for its inefficient efforts to remove sexually graphic and grooming material. In 2019, NCOSE researched claims of pedophile rings, child erotica, and child exploitation on YouTube and found alarming results confirming the original reports and continued use of the platform for exploitive purposes. Learn more…