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lunedì 13 marzo 2017

Google's rape pornography

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of videos appearing on pornography websites across the world show women being sexually abused, and search engines—including the world's most powerful site, Google — continue to do little to stop these disturbing materials from appearing on their websites.
In 2015, I began investigating the presence of videos that appear to show women being raped on three of the world's most popular and influential search engines: Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft's Bing. That investigation, which would continue into 2016 and earlier this year, revealed that hundreds of videos showing women being sexually abused currently exist and are readily available using simple search terms on search engines' websites, such as "passed out girl abused."
Most of the videos I discovered show heavily intoxicated and/or drugged women being raped, sometimes involving multiple men. Many of the women appear to be completely unconscious and therefore incapable of consenting to sex. Numerous videos show rapes occurring in public places, such as at college parties. The titles and descriptions of the videos identified claim the videos are genuine, and in many cases, there are no signs the videos have been staged or involve pornographic actors.
Although search engines can't control the videos posted on websites they don't own, they do have the power to control the content appearing on their search engines. Despite this power, many of the pornographic rape videos discovered not only appear as textual links on search engines' pages, they also appear in these websites' "Videos" section and typically include preview images that on occasion show the rape victim, including many instances where the victim appears naked. On the Yahoo and Bing search engines, viewers can even watch portions of the pornographic videos without ever leaving the search engines' pages.
In an effort to convince Google, Yahoo, and Bing to implement policies to ban websites that show these repugnant videos, I wrote a series of articles against the practice and e-mailed the websites to notify them of the videos' existence. I also catalogued 37 videos appearing to show women being raped, and I reported each of these videos in October 2015 or early in 2016 to Google using the site's "feedback" feature, capturing images of the disturbing videos and delivering them to Google. Throughout 2016 and in January 2017, I tracked the status of these videos in Google's search results and published my findings this month.
Despite my numerous warnings and media reportsof the 37 videos cataloged and reported to Google in 2015 and 2016, only two are no longer available. Nearly 95 percent of the videos identified one year ago or more are still present through Google's search engine, and there is no sign Google, Yahoo, or Bing plans to change its policies in the near future.
Many search engines don't accept advertising from pornography websites, but search engines profit directly or indirectly from increased traffic. In 2015, Google's revenues topped $75 billion, and $67.4 billion came from advertisements. Google profits the most from people going to its site and clicking on paid advertising, which means the more people who use the site, the more money Google ends up earning. Pornographic videos draw millions of viewers every day, making them a productive source of revenue for search engines. The 37 rape videos catalogued have been, combined, viewed more than 19 million times, and the videos I have found represent only a tiny fraction of the rape videos available through Google and other search engines.
Further, strong evidence suggests interest in pornographic media showing rape, both real rape and rape scenes created by actors, is on the rise. In a study published in the International Journal of Cyber Criminology by David Makin and Amber Morczek of Washington State University, the researchers found the use of search terms related to rape on Google has been increasing since the mid-2000s, with terms such as "rape porn videos" and "free rape porn" growing substantially.
In recent years, thanks to the efforts made by groups such as the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, states have begun to pass laws prohibiting "revenge porn"—pornographic videos and images published without the consent of all the people involved. Thirty-four states and Washington, DC now have laws addressing, to various extents, revenge porn, and state lawmakers in Mississippi and Missouri are currently considering similar measures.
These reforms are important, but more must be done to protect the rights of individuals, especially the countless women who have had their rapes videotaped and displayed to the world via the internet. As it currently stands, typically the only way to remove pornography from search results is if a victim of revenge porn requests the videos to be banned. This is problematic, because in the case of rape videos, the victim may not even know the video exists. Also, in many cases it's very hard to track down the first individual who uploaded a rape video on a pornographic website, which may not even be located in the United States, so revenge porn laws ultimately can't protect against many of these abuses.
There is no legal or moral justification for search engines allowing videos claiming to display rape on their websites, and it's unconscionable that Google and other sites have failed to take the necessary steps to ban websites that continue to post this illegal material. More must be done to protect rape victims.
Justin Haskins is executive editor of The Heartland Institute.

Google's rape-video crisis puts women's rights at risk JUSTIN HASKINS  3/8/17


'Abuse of passed out girl': How Internet search engines choose to ignore sexual assault 
Justin Haskins
 

The Dark Side of Internet Searches: A Macro Level Assessment of Rape Culture Makin, David A.; Morczek, Amber L.July 30, 2015

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