Google Spots Child Abuse Images in Gmail Users e-mails

John Hawes writes on the Sophos Naked Security website reports that Google has revealed the identity of a Gmail account to authorities in Houston, Texas, USA after finding child abuse images in e-mails. Google scans Gmail user’s e-mails to provide amongst other things targeted advertising; however, this is the first time that there has been a report of Google scanning e-mails for criminal activity.

The revelation raises concerns about privacy of e-mails and extent to which Google is involved in supplying information to Governments.

A later report on the BBC news website states that the BBC understands that Google does not scan e-mails for other types of criminal activity. However, the very fact that Google could at some future date scan e-mails for other types of content, illegal or otherwise is a concern as what procedures and safeguards are in place is not clear.

Subsequent to the Google story breaking it was revealed in a further report on the BBC website that Microsoft had also tipped off Police about child Pornography images after scanning a OneDrive cloud storage account used by a man in Pennsylvania.