While Google won a similar lawsuit in France, down in Argentina, a court has ordered Google to censor the “suggested search” feature on searches that lead to certain sites that have been deemed offensive. It has also ordered Google to remove those sites from its index. Honestly, if it was going to order Google to remove the sites from the index anyway, I wonder why the suggested search was even an issue. Once they’re out of the index, the suggested search issue becomes meaningless.
Either way, this definitely seems to be a growing global trend of placing the liability and blame for content that people don’t like on the intermediaries. Even if we can all agree that the content is offensive and ignorant (and, hopefully, we can), is this really the most sensible response? Personally, I’ve always found that attempts to censor such content only empower those who already believe in it, because they feel like they’re revealing such an important “secret,” since others feel the need to shut it down. I tend to think that the best way to respond to bad or offensive speech is with more speech, in order to educate the ignorant.
Either way, putting the responsibility on Google seems silly. Google is just indexing the content. It’s not responsible for it. When we seek to put censorship ability on the intermediaries, it feels like we’re not dealing with the actual issues. Rather than responding to ignorant speech with more speech, it’s trying (and almost certainly failing) to sweep the ignorant and offensive speech under the rug. I greatly prefer a world in which we deal with realities (such as the fact that there are ignorant people out there), rather than hiding them and pretending such people don’t exist.
Sourced from: TechDirt
- China Rejects Internet Censorship Lawsuit Filed in US (censorshipinamerica.com)
- Piracy Politics Fuel Internet Censorship (censorshipinamerica.com)
- Fox Tries to Censor Its Own Censorship (censorshipinamerica.com)