Google Safe Browsing Bans Malicious, But Not Infringing, Websites

Google Safe Browsing Bans Malicious, But Not Infringing, Websites
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Google Safe Browsing Bans Malicious, But Not Infringing, Websites
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Image by Google

In other news, downloading from pirating sites and illegal torrents remains unaffected by Google Safe Browsing.

Google is updating their safe browsing service.  Upgrades, of course, are always good and well, but probably not this time. Sites that are flagged as malicious will receive a warning.  After several warnings, the site will receive a “repeat offender” ban for a month if the site is marked harmful. Google’s Safe Browsing is used in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

The Safe Browsing service protects users from browsing to malicious websites.  Due to an issue with a smaller advertising network, The Pirate Bay received a warning at least twice in the past few months.  The website is in danger of being banned if it faces yet another issue with a rogue advertising network.

When users browse to “banned” sites, they will see a warning page that tells them the potential malicious dangers hidden in the site. The warning will remain in place for about a month. Even if the issues are addressed by site owners, Google will not remove the warning page until it “determines the site no longer poses a security threat to users.”

According to eWeek, the policy will punish website owners who are frequent abusers of its Safe Browsing requirements. This issue doesn’t only affect The Pirate Bay, but also smaller pirate sites. TorrentFreak explains.

This issue is more common on pirate sites as these only have access to lower-tier advertising agencies, some of which have minimal screening procedures for ads.

TF explains that Google has the option to transform the warning page into something “more permanent in the future.” However, this warning only applies to malicious websites, and not sites that willfully engage in copyright infringement. Yet, a hacked website used for malicious purposes is not considered a repeat offender. Brooke Henichen briefly explains,

“With regards to Safe Browsing-related policies, Repeat Offenders are websites that repeatedly switch between compliant and policy-violating behavior for the purpose of having a successful review and having warnings removed. Please note that websites that are hacked will not be classified as Repeat Offenders; only sites that purposefully post harmful content will be subject to the policy.”

One Response

  1. Kevin Madigan

    “….and not sites that willfully engage in copyright protection. ”

    I believe this should say copyright infringement, not protection.