Saturday, September 29, 2007

Google; Don't be evil

Googles censorship of the Internet through its biased search engine pagerank is undemocratic, but did we really expect any differently?
Google is well known for its censorship in China, which seems to contradict the very principles that Google - whose unofficial motto "don’t be evil" - was founded upon. The "don't be evil" principle, recognises that Google holds great power over the information the public relies on, and their fiduciary duty to uphold the public trust by refusing payments that would influence the information they provide to users.

Until January 2006, Google's Support Centre claimed that it "does not censor results for any search term", but removed this claim after reaching its deal with China. Which just goes to show that Google uses the "don't be evil" principle as a propaganda campaign to convince the masses that they aren't an evil malevolent corporation. However, there is evidence prior to the Chinese censorship 2006, which can be found in Europe.

On October 22, 2002, a study reported that approximately 113 Internet sites had been removed from the German and French versions of Google, who were complying with local laws by not including sites containing certain material in its search results.

In Australia on September 20, 2007 at 9:58am, the Australian Government tabled new legislation where ISPs will be required to "take reasonable steps" to prevent users accessing websites or content, by expanding the URL "black list".
The laws will, can and do extend to Google and their operation in Australia.
Googles search engine works using a "PageRank" system, wherby the more links to a website the higher it is ranked. This is undemocratic because the E-commerce people have recognized the direct correlation between high rank of their site, and more sales. Google also has a spider system that scoures the internet to add new web sites to its search criterea. However, deletion of critical sites from Google search results is decided by individual human beings according to company policy. Effectively google will target its search results based on the originating computer IP, making the results region specific.

You will notice when "googling" in Australia, the search engine automatically registers after hitting the search button. I found that after using google without a proxy server, NO result came upon this blog, however, after going through a U.S proxy, I was able top the list for anarchy down under. Here are the images:

Image 1: "Anarchy down under" not on any search page through Australian IP address

Image 2: "Anarchy Down under" top of list using proxy through U.S IP address

The following is taken from a Google Censorship FAQ:
Is Google transparent about their censorship?Google discloses what they censor when you hit on a specific search result (they didn’t always do this, but they regularly do since 2006). However, Google Inc does not respond to questions regarding how specifically they censor, how the process of censorship is implemented, which blacklists they use , which words are censored, which specific discussions they have with governments, and so on. Additionally, making censorship more transparent helps defeat its original purpose of hiding information, so it gives less incentive to governments to try impose such censorship regulations.

And there it is. Google uses blacklists and their search engines are region specific.

One way to get around this pagerank system and any of their blacklisting is to manually go and add your blog to as many directories as possible. The directories themselves cannot be blacklisted, thus, by adding your URL with enough tags (description), they will appear under a google search engine, regardless of regional filters.

Image 3: after adding this blog to the following directories:
Technorati, Bloggernity, Bloghub, Blog Rankings and Blogarama.

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