Google Activates “Right to Be Forgotten” For Victims of Revenge Porn

June 30, 2015
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Google Activates “Right to Be Forgotten” For Victims of Revenge Porn

It would seem that there might be a little light at the end of the tunnel for victims of revenge porn. While there is no official “right to be forgotten” in the United States, Google is still taking steps to make it harder for people to find victims of revenge porn through their search engine. The “right to be forgotten” is a concept that has been active in the European Union since 2006, and allows Europeans to petition Google to hide search results about them that they don’t want seen.

“Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women,” senior vice president of search Amit Singhal wrote in a statement posted to Google’s public policy blog.

While Google can’t remove the images from the sites, it can make sure that it is no longer listed in their search results. To those who are fighting to empower victims of non-consensual pornography, this step makes a bold statement that sexual information should be ours to control – just like all other aspects of our lives.

According to Carrie Goldberg, a lawyer a lawyer who specializes in online privacy and helping revenge porn victims, who spoke to Daily Dot, “In one month alone, Google directed an average of 27 million views to one of the more popular revenge porn websites. It’s going to save so many people from so many unnecessary views.”

Because of the First Amendment, it’s tricky for the U.S government to force someone to take a photo offline, however that doesn’t mean companies like Google can’t refine its search results as it sees fit. In the following weeks Google will set up a web form that will allow victims to request their images be removed from Google Search.

I can’t imagine how relieved victims of revenge porn must feel. Imagine going through something as awful as having your private photos displayed on some crummy website and then knowing that anyone who searches for your name can find it. Imagine the stress when applying for a new job, or going on a date or meeting new people (because we all Google!!). So it’s really nice to see Google taking the initiative to help victims of revenge porn in this manner. Now if only there was a way to get people to stop posting the photos or stealing them from people’s computers!

Google Activates “Right to Be Forgotten” For Victims of Revenge Porn 2 votes

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