Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Censoring the Search Index

Recently the high court of the European Union in Luxembourg decided that Google is required to "amend" search results to reflect "individuals right to be forgotten". Google has rightfully fought this all the way to the high court in the EU as they are not creating or controlling the content but simply indexing it. Google is claiming they are an "information aggregator" and not a "controller" of the information.

This amounts to censorship that hurts the Internet more than anything. Google would not even allow bad things said about it's own CEO to be removed from it's the indexes. As this would destroy the core idea that the Internet should be uncensored and uncontrolled.

I propose that Google and all other search engines simply remove their servers from any country that demands this type of censorship. If users want to utilize these search engines then they can still access them but will have to cross over political borders into "censor free" countries to do so.

Think of China. Long story short, Google went there and left. Do I need to say anymore on that?

So what is the solution. Censoring anything is bad. Text books, history, anything. If you did something bad in the past then you are going to have to live with it. Go to the content source and deal with them. Think of going to every library and forcing them to remove a newspaper article about something you did. You will fail miserably and rightfully so. There is no difference here other than its electronic.

The problem compounds that if someone can say (for example). "Hey, I don't want that inappropriate picture of me in the index, take it down!" and the index complies adding an exception. "Ok Google", now multiply that by millions of request and exceptions... Let me know how that works out for you and the hundreds of staff that you have to hire just to deal with these request. Plus how do you know if the request are legit? Why not rewrite history while we are at it.

Bottom line: Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any other reputable search engine. Don't give in to censorship EVER! If a country or government forces you to censor, pull your servers out of there. Again remember China.

Finally, as I personally have issues with authority (ask anyone that knows me). I say just ignore the court ruling. What are they going to do? Ban Google and any other non-conforming search index throughout the entire European Union?

Referenced article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmawoollacott/2014/05/13/europeans-can-now-force-google-to-strike-irrelevant-search-results/

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