#AmbersArmy: We Write Letters

Report: We’ve set up a petition to try to gain support for the issue of changing Google’s reporting protocols as they apply to crimes against children, including distribution of child pornography. Please sign and share the petition of you agree. I am working on getting some executive e-mails so that the petition can be e-mail to them at the appropriate time. In the meantime, various office holders are being made aware of the problem.

Because we cannot reach Google executives directly (let alone Google support), we have decided to launch an old-fashioned letter-writing campaign. We need to let them know in whatever way we can that they are not doing enough to address the problem of child pornography on their websites, and propose positive solutions that they can take. We are recommending that the members of #AmbersArmy (and supporters)  write letters and send them via registered mail to the following executives:

Attn: Larry Page (CEO)
Google, Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Attn: Sergey Brin (Co-Founder)
Google, Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Attn: David C. Drummond (Chief Legal Officer)
Google, Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

I am mailing my letters tomorrow. I have uploaded a rich text format version to this blog if you would like to use mine with your name and signature instead. It’s in the blue and white box directly to the right of this post. Just click it, save it, edit it, print it, and mail it! Thank you!

Click here to read the text of the letter/copy & paste from WordPress:

November 02, 2011

To: Larry Page (CEO), Sergey Brin (Co-Founder), David C. Drummond (CLO)

Regarding: distribution of viral child pornography on YouTube and Google websites

From: (Add your name here)

Dear gentlemen,

I am writing to you because a problem with moderating and flagging content on your websites for child pornography has been brought to my attention. On October 17th a video of a 14-year-old girl engaged in a sex act went viral on Twitter. The original video was hosted on YouTube and Facebook. #AmbersArmy was created to coordinate volunteers to track the video and flag it, asking that it be removed.

This was a battle we could have won, as we were successful in having the video removed from every website we found it on that was located in the US, except for YouTube. We had effectively pushed it underground, where more sophisticated measures would be required to access it. However, we could not keep up with the continual distribution of the video on YouTube. We cleaned up this mess every night for two weeks, but it is still being uploaded to this day.

This is doubtful the last time that child pornography of this type will go viral, and Google, and especially YouTube, have a responsibility to develop a plan to address this situation in particular, and future potential episodes. The videos in this case can generally be founding doing a search on “Amber Cole” and assorted key word combinations including “14-year-old” and “sextape,” etc. YouTube needs to review and monitor those and related keywords to remove the offensive, illegal content.

We learned a lot from our campaign and we have developed some recommendation for your company so that Google and the public can work together to ensure that Google indeed does “no evil.”

  1. Allow users to flag directly for “child pornography” or “child abuse” and develop the software to prioritize those flags for immediate action.
  2. Do not require text verification when videos are being flagged for crimes against children. This is critical in a viral event, as text verification discourages reporting and limits time.
  3. Set up an e-mail address to report child abuse and child pornography distributed through any of Google’s products so that it can be reported directly, i.e. cp@google.com. Prioritize reports to that account and act immediately.
  4. Develop and implement a zero-tolerance policy for distributors of child pornography. Accounts found to have distributed child pornography, whether aware or not, should be removed.

These are low-cost easy solutions for Google to put into action. They are in line with Google’s motto “don’t be evil,” and the policy to be a good corporate actor in the nation and the world. It is critical that Google and YouTube act in this case and change practices so that there is some way to address the distribution of child pornography and child abuse on Google websites.

Sincerely,

(Add your name here)

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