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2003-06-18 9:54 AM
One of Google's Primary Rules: Don't Be Evil
Jenn just forwarded me this terrible link:
It talks about one of Google's primary rules of business, which is don't be evil. Then it goes on to talk about all the times they feel Google has violated this rule. Unfortunately, this article is extremely manipulative and focuses your attention away from the actual truth.
In March, lawyers representing the Church of Scientology requested that Google stop linking to a Norwegian anti-Scientology site called Operation Clambake. The church claimed the site, xenu.net, displayed copyrighted Scientology content and that by providing links to the information, Google was in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Much to the dismay of many First Amendment fans, Google caved, removing the offending pages from its index.
"Google caved" .. that's an interesting way of saying "Google was forced by US law." Unfortunately, I can't talk about everything I know because of NDAs and such, but the main reason why Google had to remove the links from the listing was because the xenu.org site was in another country and refused to get involved in US law. The DMCA provides a clause that would have let xenu.org deny the accusations and let Google relist them, but in doing so they are tacitly accepting the rule of US law and that puts xenu.org at risk, so they wouldn't play. Google didn't have a choice by law. However, instead of simply removing the links, they replaced them with links to another page that explains why they were removed and provides a link to xenu.org. This is actually explained on page 4 of this article, quite a distance away from the accusation.
One of the other big yellow journalism examples is the 3 paragraphs the author gives to how Google is helping communist China filter out non-government approved websites (e.g. sites that talk negatively about communism). After 3 full paragraphs of talking about how Google met with the communist government "half-way", they give one sentence to the fact that Google changed NOTHING on their servers. Unfortunately, this one sentence is crafted in such a manner to imply that Google is hiding something.
In late October, a report by two Harvard researchers revealed that Google had begun filtering its own servers to block users in Germany, France, and Switzerland from accessing sites carrying material likely to be judged racist or inflammatory in each country. Neither Brin nor anyone else at Google will talk about about the preemptive self-censoring moves in Europe.
Sounds pretty pompous and evil, doesn't it? Of course... Nazi propaganda is against the law in Germany... does the author admit this? Sort of... by quoting someone that implies that even though Google is only following the law in Germany, that they are still doing something wrong:
In the wake of these international incidents, members of Google's loyal, tech-savvy constituency began to question the company's motives. "I am a little on the fence about Google's latest actions," wrote Brian Osborne, a staff writer for Geek.com, a news site. "On one hand, I understand Google's stance that it must remain in compliance with German and French laws. Nevertheless, Google is putting itself on a very slippery slope."
The article, in my opinion, suffers from a great deal of yellow journalism. Google is a hot property on the web that is doing so well and actually being helpful to people that "news" about then doing evil gets good ratings. Unfortunately, so do tabloids and you can't believe everything that you read.
(except for this page, you of course can trust me implicitly *smile*)
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