It’s great news that Google and Microsoft have agreed to take a sensible attitude when it comes to the more dubious elements of the search marketing fraternity (those who promote illegal pornographic images), but as many of the experts pointed out, this is only part of the problem.
People searching for banned images will now find that the searches reveal nothing but a broken link, or a warning message. But the people who hide such material are still out there. The internet is a force for good in so many ways, but it has a deeply disturbing and dark side. If you are determined enough, you can find material on anything you want, from hard pornography, to terrorist guides.
For many years, the big search engines have preferred to stay on the side-lines. They have claimed – and their argument has a certain logic – that they are not there to police the internet. It is not up to them to decide what people should see, or not see.
They have a valid point, but the internet has broadened beyond a reference point for responsible adults. Potentially anyone can now go online, so there has to be new ground rules – no longer can the internet be a free hunting ground. The Genie cannot be put back into the bottle. The internet founders’ dreams of maintaining a wild frontier, a hands-off area for all to use, is a harking back to more halcyon days.
But, argues the team at clickmate, whatever your hopes and fears about the internet, it has to be good that some are prepared to stand up and be counted, and take the necessary action.