Google Reports Man Allegedly Sending Child Porn In Email

A 41-year-old man in Texas has been arrested and charged with possessing pornographic images of a child, thanks, in part, to the sleuthing of Google.

John Henry Skillern was allegedly sending explicit images of a young girl to a friend through email when Google detected the photos and alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Houston news outlet KHOU 11 News reported on July 30. Police said they found child porn on Skillern's mobile devices, as well as messages "where he talked about his interest in children," the outlet writes.

"He was trying to get around getting caught, he was trying to keep it inside his email," Detective David Nettles, of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, told KHOU. "I can't see that information, I can't see that photo, but Google can."

Skillern was previously convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child in 1994, according to records.

The arrest of Skillern, who is currently being held on a $200,000 bond, is just one example of Google's detective work in nabbing possible sex offenders online. The tech giant has been working in tandem with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation to track down and delete images of child abuse online and help locate missing children.

As the BBC points out, Google automatically scans its users' email accounts to transmit information for tailored advertisements and customized search results, but the same scanning technology is also being used to catch online predators and remove child pornography from the Internet.

"Google is in the business of making information widely available, and we’ve always supported freedom of expression. But there can be no free speech when it comes to images of child sexual abuse," David Drummond, Chief Legal Officer of Google, wrote in a piece for The Telegraph in 2013. "Sadly, society hasn’t been able to stop their creation. But we must all work together to ensure they’re not available online - and that when people try to share this disgusting content they are reported and prosecuted."