The Internet is still relatively young. As a result, not all of the kinks related to rules, regulations and responsibilities have been figured out yet. That’s been especially clear over the past few months as courts throughout the world have debated Google-related issues like whether or not people have a right to be forgotten. Now, the highest court in Argentina is debating whether or not search engines should be held responsible for pornography websites misappropriating pictures of models, actresses and random women.
I’m not sure anyone knows how many pornographic websites are on the Internet, but those who have spent any significant time surfing around can agree it’s a laughably high number. Many of these websites operate as legitimate businesses. They pay performers money to engage in sexual activities, and everyone goes on their way. A whole lot more of them, however, do not work in such an over the table fashion. Instead, they steal content from other porn websites and often use non-pornographic pictures that are of a sexual nature to advertise. It’s a shady little scheme, and it’s one that hasn’t sat well with Argentinian model, actress and television presenter Maria Belen Rodriguez after she discovered her own pictures being used in such a fashion.
She filed a lawsuit back in 2006 asking Google and Yahoo to pull all of her pictures that appear in pornographic search results. A judge awarded her $15,000. On appeal, that number was dropped to a little over $6,000. Now the case is before the Supreme Court of Argentina. Both Internet rights activists and executives from various search engines are fighting back and trying to explain why search engines shouldn’t be held responsible for the illegal activities of others, and she’s trying to explain why people thinking she does pornography isn’t OK.
Here’s what she told CNN…
They have ruined my life and now say what I’m asking for is censorship. It suits them but not me.”
And here’s the official statement from Google on the matter…
Search engines are neutral platforms that do not create nor control content on the web.”
In addition to her work on numerous television shows, many of which film in Italy, Belen Rodriguez is a mother and a wife. Obviously, not being used to publicize pornography websites is a fair expectation, but exactly who to blame is a really muddy and messy manner. Google doesn’t have the time, nor the resources to police the Internet. It’s simply too big and too much content is being created every day. That being said, the actual content creators are often very difficult to track down and operate in different countries that make prosecuting very difficult.
The Court is expected to rule sometime in the next few weeks.
To see pictures of Rodriguez as a model, click to the next page...