Claims by a conservation group state that search engine giant Google has something in common with the illegal ivory traders in China and Thailand. The group said that the search engine is helping the illegal trade of ivory in Asia, which is killing several elephants in Africa.
The Environmental Investigative Agency (EIA), which is the conservation advocacy group in question, said on March 5, 2013, that there are about 10,000 ads on Google Japan’s shopping site which promotes the sale of ivory. Around 80% of these ads are for ‘hanko’, which are small stamps that are used in Japan to affix a signature on official documents. These objects have ivory-based writing on them as well.
Hanko is used for everything from renting a house to opening a bank account and these stamps that are made from ivory are legal. The EIA, while talking about hanko sales in Japan said, “Hanko sales are a major demand driver for elephant ivory (and) have contributed to the wide-scale resumption of elephant poaching across Africa.”
In en emailed response to the claims, Google said that the ads for products obtained from endangered species are not allowed on on the site. The statement from the search engine added that as soon as they find that the ads are violating any norms, they remove them immediately.