In the event that you think big brother isn’t watching you, the case of John Henry Skillern may well help dissuade you from that notion quick smart.
Big brother in this case happens to be google who took to alerting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children after John Henry Skillern, 41, a Houston, Texas resident and a registered sex offender (dating back to 1994) was noted by the outlet of harboring child abuse images in his emails.
The tip off would lead to cops conducted an extensive search of Skillern’s home and technology where they would uncover a wealth of emails and text messages concerning Skillern’s pedophilia. Police found child pornography in the home and perhaps most disturbingly, they found cell phone videos of children visiting the local Denny’s where Skillern worked.
Although the likes of John Henry Skillern augers the necessity that such individuals be closely monitored, the latest actions of google does raise concerns regarding citizens privacy both online and off.
examiner: Sex crimes against children is very clearly a cut-and-dry issue but many people wonder where exactly the line is drawn for less black-and-white cases. Google’s history with the privacy of its users is shaky at best but unlike government branches such as the CIA and the NSA, Google is a privately owned and operated company, they also just so happen to be one of the largest companies in the world. Google theoretically has much more right than government agency to watch its users, even though Google isn’t always clear about its privacy guidelines.
So where does this leave the average user? Does one give up certain privacies for the greater good, or is what someone does online entirely their own business, even if it’s illegal? Only time will tell, but hopefully if Google is watching they’ll continue to help put men like Skillern away. But then don’t necessarily assume all the watching that google is doing just for the sake of what many would consider clear cut instances of improprieties.
What do you think? Is google as a private entity going too far? Is this price one ought to be prepared to pay if they use their services or should one just assume that one is being watched anyway and be ever mindful of ever sharing ‘sensitive information or details‘ (define sensitive) that could possibly compromise them if ever released?
Reiterated google in a 2013 blog post: ‘We’re in the business of making information widely available, but there’s certain ‘information’ that should never be created or found,’
‘We can do a lot to ensure it’s not available online—and that when people try to share this disgusting content they are caught and prosecuted.’
Ponders vr-zone.com: Could technology corporations and intelligence agencies join hands to become a real-life version of the ‘Thought Police’?
Skillern has since been charged with one count of possession of child pornography and one count of promotion of child pornography. He’s being held on a $200,000 bond.
And then there was this comment on the web that made me wonder:
What if something you cared about was criminalized, though? Obviously I’m no longer referring to child porn at this point, but to, for example, negative statements about the government, or indications that you were homosexual? Is it ok for your private correspondence to be monitored then as well, so you can be arrested for “inciting rebellion” or “moral indecency”?