BEHOLD THE RAGE, as a couple of UK newspapers have twigged that adult material is on sale through the Google Play bookstore.
Newspapers including the Telegraph and the Daily Mail have reported on a letter from a parent to an MP that raised concerns about adult content being sold on the same website as children's books. Some of the material available is rather unsavoury, according to the Daily Telegraph, which has been party to communications from all sides.
"I feel they are not bothered about this problem. I don't think many parents are aware of this situation so [they] are unable to keep their children safe, as Google keeps advertising. I would like ... to find a solution through government to put a stop to this situation and make Google more responsible," wrote the parent in her missive to Stephen Barclay, MP.
"I am very concerned to discover this loophole in parental controls. My constituents want to do the right thing by taking responsibility for the way children use the internet. It is worrying that Google has simply brushed off this gap in their controls," responded Tory backbencher Barclay.
"It is important corporate slogans such as do no evil are not merely empty soundbites when it comes to profitable lines of business. It is inconsistent to promote those while turning a blind eye to other gaps in their defences."
The issue boils down to the fact that Google only asks that people declare that they are over 13 in order to shop in its store. The newspapers reported that seemingly innocuous terms can plunge websurfers into a world where books about incest are listed along with "children's television programmes such as Peppa Pig".
Google allows people to self-publish content and offer it through the Play store, and it told the Telegraph that shoppers are able to see all types of content listed while browsing through its catalogue of books.
"We remove books that violate our policies," it added. "We don't comment on individual books, but you can check out our policies for more information." µ
It's time for our regular two-step through the Google news
Bug bounty offer: accepted