Google wrongfully blocked a parent for child pornography after scanning his cloud photos without his knowledge

A US man has been permanently blocked by Google on all of its services for what the company says is child pornography. Despite San Francisco authorities finding the man not guilty after he took photos of his son’s pelvic area to send to a pandemic doctor for analysis because of rashes in that area, the Google company is refusing to give him back access to his Google account and phone number on the Google Fi network.

Although authorities understand the situation, Google refuses to unblock his account

The man, who is referred to by the New York Times only as Mark, took photos of the irritated area on his son’s skin in 2021 in February to send to his doctor to prescribe treatment. But the photos were uploaded to his Google Photos account, presumably as a backup, where the company automatically scans the photos. If they include impermissible content of minors, they are automatically flagged as CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material) and a complaint is sent to the NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) in the US.

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A police investigation took place and the man was not charged as he did not photograph his son for child pornography. However, more than a year later, Google still refuses to reinstate the man’s access to his accounts, which have been closed without appeal. He no longer has access to his Google account, which includes his contact list, private messages, email and photos stored in the cloud, nor to his phone number on Google Fi, the company-operated telecom network.

“We follow US law in identifying what constitutes CSAM and use a combination of technology that scans for hash values and artificial intelligence to identify content and remove it from our platforms,” said Christa Muldoon, a Google representative.

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Last year, the company reported 621,583 cases to NCMEC’s CyberTipLine, of which 4,260 were further reported to law enforcement.

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