Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Google Defense

What is sexually explicit material?

That's tricky - it's a great big ol' diverse country. What's merely tacky in San Francisco (lotsa average looking nekkid people at the link - you have been warned)is going to get you a ticket, jail and rode out on a rail in my home town.

Community standards is the answer. Thanks to a creative lawyer, Google may be changing the way we define those standards.

In a novel approach, the defense in an obscenity trial in Florida plans to use publicly accessible Google search data to try to persuade jurors that their neighbors have broader interests than they might have thought.

In the trial of a pornographic Web site operator, the defense plans to show that residents of Pensacola are more likely to use Google to search for terms like “orgy” than for “apple pie” or “watermelon.” The publicly accessible data is vague in that it does not specify how many people are searching for the terms, just their relative popularity over time. But the defense lawyer, Lawrence Walters, is arguing that the evidence is sufficient to demonstrate that interest in the sexual subjects exceeds that of more mainstream topics — and that by extension, the sexual material distributed by his client is not outside the norm.

Well that's about - pardon my simplicity - damned dumb. People do a lot of stuff in private they'd rather not see in the community - that's why they do it inside.
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