Are the Days of Adult Hosting Numbered
Google recently announced plans to eliminate child pornography from the web by setting up a new picture-sharing database. This database would make it simpler for child watch groups (and other companies) to report on potential child pornography sites throughout the Internet.
Once investigated, Google would take these sites down immediately.
While there's no doubt that child pornography sites (and the hosts that allow these sites) should be taken down, the proposed Google action raises some cautionary flags as well.
Are Adult Hosting Sites Doomed?
Some critics of the Google database plan have voiced concern that the elimination of child pornography sites will lead to the shutdown of all pornography sites. This might include adult hosting sites, and site that show adult explicit materials – a sort of Pleasantville-Internet, if you will. A place where nothing offensive would remain.
Google reps haven't gone on record with any direct responses to these fears, but they are real fears all the same. If Google has the power to wipe out any site on a whim, where would the “Internet clean-up” end? For obvious reasons, Google is receiving plenty of support for getting rid of sites that are suggestive of child pornography, but the fear that this will lead to further censorship is certainly there.
Are the Days of Adult Hosting Numbered: Will It Be An All-Out War?
Child sites that show abuse or pornography are illegal, and that's why Google can shut these sites down. The backlash might even reach to hosting companies that allow these sites to operate (it's not unheard of). But, attempting to shut down adult pornography sites and adult hosting sites is another thing altogether.
The future may look like a battlefield if the concerns that Google will go after a slew of sites turns out to be a reality. Cheap hosting sites allowing explicit sites to operate may be at the crux of that battle. It could be the end of adult hosting sites – or, it might just bring about the demise of Google.
Are you concerned that this type of censorship will go too far? Are the Days of Adult Hosting Numbered?
Photo courtesy of danielchalef via Flickr Creative Commons.