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Bytegeist Exclusive: Rep. Maloney Letter Blasting Google’s Larry Page Over Android Sex App Marketed to Students

This morning Bytegeist contacted Rep. Carolyn Maloney for a comment on the Google Android App Utoopi, which uses Google Maps to offer “all the paid sex of your city geogargeted.”

Rep. Maloney has now sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page regarding Utoopi:

September 18, 2012Mr. Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google, Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043Dear Mr. Page,

I have long admired Goggle and I am even more impressed by the statement on your investor relations page, that your motto is “also about doing the right thing…following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect.”

Your response to a recent letter to you from Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and myself about sex trafficking ads on Google certainly sounded like it was in keeping with that motto. Your spokesperson said that Google bans ads for sex trafficking, child pornography and prostitution and further that “it’s a constant battle against these bad actors so we are always looking at ways to improve our systems and practices — including by working with leading anti-trafficking organizations.”

It is with that in mind that I wish to draw your attention to a matter of profound concern to me as the Congressional Representative of New York’s 14th district. It involves Google and an application designed to be used in furtherance of illegal escort services. The app, marketed under the name Utoopi, is used for the purposes of advertising, soliciting and recruiting sex workers and is designed to operate on phones and pads that use your Android operating system.

The app promotes sex trafficking in four cities, one of them my own. The web site for Utoopi services in New York City features a picture of a street corner that is in my district.It is appalling beyond belief that someone would try to market an ‘app’ like Utoopi, which is about illegal escort services plain and simple. I urge you to ban the promotion of sex services and immediately remove Utoopi from the Android ‘app’ marketplace hosted by Google.

I look forward to hearing about your prompt action in this matter.

Sincerely,
Carolyn Maloney
Member of Congress

In an interview with Bytegeist, Rep. Maloney pointed to a section of the Utoopi website that clearly indicates it is marketing its “paid sex” app to young people:

The new escorts are on Utoopi, where both they and their clients have the information they need at hand. Now they can alternate between their studies or work and their services as escorts with complete privacy.

“This clearly seems to imply that Utoopi is engaged in an effort to recruit into the sex trafficking business those who are college age or younger” says Maloney. “In reality, sex trafficking is not the sanitized victimless crime presented in films like ‘Pretty Woman.’ It is grim and dangerous business that destroys the lives of tens of thousands of young women every year. It is in short, evil.

“Google needs to live up to its own stated promise to ban the promotion of sex services and immediately remove Utoopi from the Android ‘app’ marketplace hosted by Google.”

Update:  Google has removed the Utoopi App from Google Play.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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