Search term blocking

Copyright violations

There have been multiple calls from industry groups for search engines to be required to block search terms that, for example, use words like "free" or "download" in conjunction with the name of an artist or work.

Google does implement some form of control by not including terms that may been seen as inducing infringement in their autocomplete and suggestion features.

“Our algorithms prevent terms closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete.”'[1]

Child abuse terms

"Put simply, there needs to be a list of terms – a blacklist – which offer up no direct search returns."[2]

In July 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron MP called on the major search engines to commit to blocking any search that contained terms on a blacklist supplied by CEOP[3]. Results would be replaced by a screen warning users they face "losing their job, their family, even access to their children".

"If in October we don't like the answer we're given to this question, if the progress is slow or non-existent, then I can tell you we are already looking at the legislative options we have to force action."

On July 27 Microsoft announced that its Bing search engine would produce a warning pop-up when searches matching the CEOP list are used.[4]


The Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism's Prevent strategy paper states[5]

Among other initiatives, OSCT has secured agreement from AOL to assist in raising the visibility of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorism Hotline by ensuring it is presented when certain specific search requests are entered.

This request was presumably made to other search engines.

See also