It’s a well known fact that if you have a Gmail account, then Google scans all of your email messages.
So why would anyone be foolish enough to use a Gmail account to send images and videos that he really didn’t want anyone else but the intended recipient seeing?
The Guardian reports that a tip-off to police from Google about the contents of a Gmail account led to the arrest of a 41-year-old Texan for possession of child abuse material last week.
It said that Google tipped off America’s National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children about material that it detected in an email sent by John Henry Skillern, a registered sex offender from Houston.
Police later said that Skillern had child pornography on his phone and tablet, as well as text messages and emails that expressed interest in child porn
Google has always been open about its zero-tolerance policy for online child exploitation.
In a blogpost published last year, Google said that it had been working since 2008 on image scanning technology to help track down child pornography images, identify their creators, and help police to arrests.
And it is common knowledge that Google scans our Gmail accounts so that it can target us with adverts.
What the Houston case shows is that Google is applying its image scanning practices to email as well as to other online image searches.
So from now on, be very careful what you send in your email – just like Ceiling Cat, Big Google is watching you.
By Stuart O'Connor | August 5th, 2014