2002 October 24 Thursday
Google Filtering German and French Versions

See this ZDNet article for details:

"To avoid legal liability, we remove sites from Google.de search results pages that may conflict with German law," said Google spokesman Nate Tyler. He indicated that each site that was delisted came after a specific complaint from a foreign government.

The fact that they even filter a site that opposes abortion seems more than a little odd:

The study found that among the banned sites are a "white pride" site, Stormfront.org, and a fundamentalist Christian site opposing abortion, Jesus-is-lord.com.

Testing revealed that 65 sites removed from German google.de were also removed from French google.fr results with an additional 48 sites removed only from google.fr results.

But on closer inspection there are so many interesting things bing said on the Jesus-is-lord.com site that it might have been put on the filter list for all sorts of reasons. Here are a couple of excerpts from their main page:

Muslims are killing, raping, torturing, mutilating, kidnapping, and enslaving Sudanese Christians in their Islamic jihad ("holy war").

"ROMAN" Catholicism is the MOTHER of harlots and abominations (She's not a daughter, the Bible says she's a MOTHER--the one CONCEIVING, GESTATING, BIRTHING, DELIVERING, AND REARING HARLOTS, WHORES, SODOMITES AND OTHER ABOMINATIONS)

Some Sudanese Christians really are enslaved but perhaps stating the obvious in that case is considered to be prejudicial against Muslims. Or perhaps the site's rather anti-Catholic tone caused offense? Look at what mischief ensues when governments put themselves in the business of judging and regulating hate speech. Of course now that the Harvard Law folks have drawn attention to this list many of these sites are going to experience big bursts in traffic.

You can read the original report by Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman and published by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School by going here. Check out the bottom of the page where you can use the form they provide to compare the google.de and google.fr results with google.com to look for more filtered sites:

Second, anyone interested can use the Real-Time Testing System, below, to test google.fr and google.de filtering of a specified site. Note that uses of this system are logged for future study, analysis, and publication.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 October 24 11:30 AM  Media Critique


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