August 3, 2014 8:21 pm -

John Henry Skillern of Houston was arrested by police for possession of child pornography because Google saw his email.

Police told KHOU-TV that Google has spotted three allegedly pornographic images of children in Skillern’s email and had tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“He was trying to get around getting caught, he was trying to keep it inside his email. I can’t see that information, I can’t see that photo, but Google can,” Det. David Nettles told KHOU.

Skillern, 41, who works at Denny’s and is a registered sex offender, was arrested after police obtained a warrant. Police say they found more evidence of child pornography on Skillern’s devices…

Google has never made a secret of the fact that it scans email content. Its Terms of Service was updated in April to explain that the company’s “automated systems analyze your content (including emails).”

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

42 responses to Google Alerts Police Because Of What It Sees In Man’s Email

  1. Eric Trommater August 3rd, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Never would I defend someone who posesses child porn. This is a case where digital technology trumped the right to privacy and good was done.
    In the future, however, there needs to be a debate about how much of our privacy we should be expected to keep in a digital world. This is obviously not that case.

    • Anomaly 100 August 3rd, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      I can’t defend a pedo. I just can’t.

      • Eric Trommater August 4th, 2014 at 10:57 pm

        I could never work for the ACLU. I respect what they do but I could never hold my nose and defend the people they do.

      • I_B_ME August 4th, 2014 at 11:19 pm

        I agree, that is why I have problems with men of a certain religion marrying 12 years old girls, can we say Allah likes them young.

        • Anomaly 100 August 4th, 2014 at 11:32 pm

          We can also say that some Mormons like them young, too.

          • I_B_ME August 4th, 2014 at 11:35 pm

            Oh, I had forgot all about the white shirt and tie jehadies, you are so right.

          • Anomaly 100 August 4th, 2014 at 11:44 pm

            This is why as a Christian, I do not consider myself to be religious. Spiritual is the way to go IMO. Religion is a dominate factor in predatory practices. It always has been that way.

          • I_B_ME August 4th, 2014 at 11:52 pm

            100 people in a circle and at it’s center is a candle, the candle is the light of truth, the 100 people represent 100 different religions. Each see the light, but some, say that the way the others see the light is wrong. Those are the religions that wish harm on the soul, for the light is seen by all, each from each individual perspective. Me, I lit the candle.

            “Words of Wade”

          • Anomaly 100 August 5th, 2014 at 12:10 am

            I see God. They see God. We’re all worshipping the same creator yet we hate each other.

          • Eric Trommater August 5th, 2014 at 1:10 am

            I don’t hate anyone, not even internet trolls.

          • Anomaly 100 August 5th, 2014 at 11:29 am

            I loves me some trolls. They’re like chew toys.

          • Tammy Minton Haley August 5th, 2014 at 10:59 am

            i learned a long time ago to separate the two–

            religion is man-made…spirituality is of the universe…

          • Anomaly 100 August 5th, 2014 at 11:29 am


    • tiredoftea August 3rd, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      As he is a registered sex offender, his privacy rights are subject to scrutiny, same as a parole officer’s visit to his residence. Had it been someone not previously convicted, different story.

      • M D Reese August 3rd, 2014 at 9:29 pm

        Thanks–I was just going to say that.

      • Tammy Minton Haley August 5th, 2014 at 10:57 am

        excellent point…

    • Mike August 4th, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Since you think this is so wonderful maybe we should allow the cops to search everyones homes once a week, I’m sure they are bound to catch something in such a wide net and idiots like you would be all for it.

      • AttilatheBlond August 4th, 2014 at 9:00 pm

        Private homes are NOT the same as a free email account hosted on a privately held company server.

        Keep in mind, when the product is free to the user, the user (or their info) is actually the product.

        • Eric Trommater August 4th, 2014 at 10:55 pm

          A god point but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss my right to privacy even though I acknowledged giving it up the moment I went on line. There is a debate to be had here. This just isn’t the type of case it should be made about.

      • Eric Trommater August 4th, 2014 at 10:53 pm

        Is defending a pedophile so important to you that you need to put words into a stranger’s mouth and then call him an idiot? Your comment had nothing to do with anything I said. It’s not even a straw man it’s a complete falicy.

  2. uzza August 3rd, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Only somewhat related, … Man Accidently Joins Al Queda

    • Anomaly 100 August 3rd, 2014 at 9:14 pm


    • tiredoftea August 3rd, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Not even the Onion! That was great!

    • Nicholas Russell Harris August 5th, 2014 at 8:37 am

      How in the hell do you do that pn ACCIDENT!? ROFL

  3. Chinese Democracy August 3rd, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    well considering the fact that Google buried the fact that they read your email in its 400000000 word Terms of Service. He basically agreed to let them read whatever they wanted. If you want privacy I wouldnt use google anything.

    • tiredoftea August 3rd, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Or, you or me when commenting on where our privacy has gone! Does Snowden have room for us in Moscow?

      • Eric Trommater August 3rd, 2014 at 10:34 pm

        Things are actually worse over there. The free market and the black market are almost the same thing. People like this guy don’t work at Dennys they work your local street corner. In Soviet Russia pedophiles Google you!

        • tiredoftea August 3rd, 2014 at 11:01 pm

          Well, actually, he would be working for Putin.

    • Eric Trommater August 3rd, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      You aren’t wrong. I won’t make that arguement in this particular case but you aren’t wrong. Civil liberties are tricky when you have to grant them to people like this on the one hand but then what about the rights of his victims and future victims? It’s not cut and dry.

  4. Denise August 3rd, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    he’s a pervert, I am glad he was caught.

  5. Deepak Dutta August 3rd, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    How did Google amass a large number of child porn images for their image recognition software to find a hit. I wonder how many porn images the researchers and testers are viewing a day?

  6. Augy August 3rd, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    This is a blatant violation of civil liberties. With civil liberties we don’t get to pick and choose who gets them. That’s the point! Everybody gets them. “Oh, but we don’t like what he was doing.” You can say that about anything. Plus, all we know is that he was looking at images. And I don’t think they were images of him raping a 4-year-old at the Sunshine Center Day Care. The point is that he was viewing something, not acting on it,as far as we know.

    • viva_democracy August 4th, 2014 at 10:35 am

      I agree. If this sicko was enjoying child porn, I hope he’s caught and punished, but not this way because it shows they’re watching ALL OF US, regardless of whether we’re lawbreakers or not.
      I almost fear the Google’s, Facebooks, etc., more than the NSA. I think they know more about us than the Government.
      There are other, legal, ways to catch POS’s like this, but we don’t need to ALL give away our freedoms for it.

  7. John David Peer August 4th, 2014 at 12:01 am

    A couple months ago, National Geographic Magazine featured some beautiful photographs of some Amazon jungle inhabitants. Among the photos were a few of an obvious 11-12 year old young girl in a traditional costume. She wore only some light painting above the waist. Of course, unlike you Americans, the rest of the world is not breast-obsessed, but if I were to email, say, Anomaly100 (of the Newport 100s, I assume?) one of those stunning photographs…you think Google should forward our email exchange to what, Interpol?? The FBI?

    You know, if you want to catch ALL the “bad guys”, all you need do is kick in every door…

    • FreedPeopleDescendant August 4th, 2014 at 11:58 am

      I would suspect these images involved some type of sexual pose or act featuring a child.

    • Tammy Minton Haley August 5th, 2014 at 10:55 am

      just to play devil’s advocate, i would assume there would be a marked difference in salacious child pornography and anthropological images of a “primitive” culture…i would yet then assume it would be easy to tell the difference…

      you know, “i know it when i see it”…

  8. Alex August 4th, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    This man is in serious need of some mental health treatments.

    • I_B_ME August 4th, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      hopefully it will be a Lobotomy, and COMPLETE CASTRATION

  9. tj123 August 5th, 2014 at 3:30 am

    the question nobody is asking is why is google allowed to possess illegal porn?

    • starr August 5th, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Do you still beat your wife?

      • tj123 August 5th, 2014 at 3:30 pm


  10. Nicholas Russell Harris August 5th, 2014 at 8:35 am

    A good example of the good, but also the ill that can come from this form of monitoring. As a result I am not too sure what to make of it