UK & World News

  • 4 August 2014, 22:01

Google Reports Gmail User's 'Child Abuse Images'

Google has reported a man in Houston, Texas, to authorities after spotting images of child abuse on his Gmail account.

Its data-trawling algorithms noticed the Gmail userallegedlyemailingphotos of a young girl to a friend.

The search-engine giant tipped off a child protection agency which then alerted police, leading to the convicted sex offender's arrest.

Detective David Nettles told KHOU 11 News: "I can't see that information, I can't see that photo, but Google can."

John Henry Skillern, 41, is facing charges of possession and promotion of child pornography, said police.

The suspect, who worked as a cook at a Denny's restaurant, was arrested on July 11.

He is being held on a $200,000 (120,000) bail bond.

The arrest has prompted questions about internet privacy and the reach of Google, whose Gmail service has more than 400 million users.

Google updated Gmail's terms and conditions this year to acknowledge that email accounts were scanned for content to provide "personally relevant" adverts to users.

But the company has also won praise for its efforts with the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to scrub child porn images from online search results.

Google helps fund the Internet Watch Foundation, which is dedicated to finding and removing such photos from the web.

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