Google Blogoscoped

Forum

Why Is Stormfront.org Missing in Google Germany?  (View post)

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

Monday, July 24, 2006
15 years ago8,164 views

I think you've found a bug in the BPjM blacklist :-)

AN [PersonRank 3]

15 years ago #

Stormfront.org was one of the domains Regierungspräsident (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regierungsbezirk for what that position means) Jürgen Büssow ordered to be blacklisted by ISPs in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Search for jürgen büssow stormfront. Also see http://www.brd.nrw.de/BezRegDdorf/hierarchie/news/newsarchiv/2002/02Februar/Bezirksregierung_Duesseldorf_erlaesst_S422002.php
Maybe Google was unable or not willing to block sites on a state level, so they decided to block it in all of Germany.

viggen [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

interesting enough on Google Austria (which has similar laws then Germany) i can see Stormfront.org...

Matt Cutts [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

In your assessment, what's the most correct behavior in this situation?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

The FSM is voluntary and not state-driven, so I would not agree to it – as a company, by law you can either agree to the FSM blacklist or assign a Youth Protection Representative ("Jugendschutzbeauftragter"). Secondary, the BPjM is aiming to protect the youth, so if the list is implemented it must be triggering the SafeSearch part. Third, "pre-censorship" is illegal by German laws – censoring content before you know it – so it's not lawful to blacklist & filter a full domain, as new content is being created on it (I'm not a lawyer, but Google has lots of them, I wonder what they say).

I believe any search engine company should do everything in its power to censor as little as possible (if at all) and to make the potential censorship as transparent as possible, independent of country laws (because human rights are global, and Google and others are global). Making it easy for gov'ts to censor will support censorship and lead to more censorship, which unfortunately already happened. Schmidt defends China censorship saying "There are many cases where certain information is not available due to local law or local custom," mentioning Germany, and he makes a very good point... let's better analyze what happens in every country. Trying to censor as little as possible is not "arrogance" as Schmidt puts it, it's trying to support human rights, and I make a bet gaining the most possible user trust is even a commercial benefit for a company.

To make a better assessment of the situation we would need to know answers to the many questions we have in regards to why and how specific results are censored. I hope with posts like these, which don't take any position or demand specific actions, everyone can better make up their mind, because no matter your position it's an important issue.

Do you think Matt everything is done right in Germany, France and China? Does Google have a focus on lowest possible censorship, just as they otherwise have a focus on best possible ranking? And what about other countries that demand their blacklists being implemented?

Stephan Locher [PersonRank 9]

15 years ago #

Idea: Why not make a link to other google sites, where the corresponding censorship doesn't take affect.

At google germany inform that local laws or contracts had x results removed, but that this doesn't affect google.ch for example.

So interested users are able to follow the link and search again on an uncensored place->Choose the law which they think is the best.

If the government then want to block something, they need to ask the ISPs to block google.ch. This way you have the problem on a local base and it's easyier for people to fight against the censorship.
We know from the past years that a lot of ISPs in europe are fighting for civil rights.

(I'm not sure if my english is good enough to explain what I mean, if necessary ask questions and I try to explain it with other words or maybe even in german)

Martin [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

Philipp, you say >> "pre-censorship" is illegal by German laws <<. What laws do you refer to? If it is just the Grundgesetz (the constitution), then this has no relevance, as Art. 4 (1) GG solely deals with actions by government bodies.

If you go only by this, Google has all the legal rights to blacklist and filter whatever they like, just as you have any right to filter, block and delete whatever you like in your forum or the comments at your discretion and without having to explain yourself.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

The German word is "Vorzensur" Martin, this is from Wikipedia.

<<Nach Auffassung des Bundesverfassungsgerichts verbietet Art. 5 Abs. 1 S. 3 GG ausschließlich die Vorzensur. Als Vor- oder Präventivzensur werden dabei einschränkende Maßnahmen vor der Herstellung oder Verbreitung eines Geisteswerkes, insbesondere das Abhängigmachen von behördlicher Vorprüfung und Genehmigung seines Inhalts (Verbot mit Erlaubnisvorbehalt) bezeichnet (BVerfGE 33, 52 [1]). Dagegen soll die Nachzensur in den Grenzen des Art. 5 Abs. 2 GG erlaubt sein.>>
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zensur_(Informationskontrolle)

When I referred to "pre-censorship is illegal" then I didn't mean Google's actions, I meant the gov't-powered BPjM handing a blacklist to the FSM which then passes this on to search engines to do self-censorship. I'm no lawyer, but I suppose different lawyers will tell you different things whether or not this is correct (that's what a lawyer told me!) But I don't know any details of this blacklist (it is not handed out to the public)... maybe it contains full URLs not just domains?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Google finally replied to one of my several emails, with the usual form text ignoring my actual question.

<<Thank you for your note. It is Google's policy not to censor search
results. However, in response to local laws, regulations, or policies, we
may do so. When we remove search results for these reasons, we display a
notice on our search results pages.>>

Matt Cutts [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

"Does Google have a focus on lowest possible censorship, just as they otherwise have a focus on best possible ranking?"

I'm not a lawyer of course, just an engineer, but in my experience the answer is yes, we do have that focus. You do have to comply with local law and remove urls from time to time, but we try very hard to a) make sure that legal removals are because of a valid legal order, and b) try to make sure that there's a notice to let people know that a result has been removed for legal reasons. That helps to give context to searchers, so at least they know if there's information that Google is not allowed to return.

I'll be happy to ask around about this instance.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Did the order for removing URLs on Stormfront.org include removing all new pages on that domain as well?

Also, does Google always remove the pages based on orders, or does Google sometimes protest and put their lawyers against this, like what happened with the subpoenae for search queries?

Another question: what are the domains/ subdomains or pages Google censors in Germany, France and China? Can we get a list? I don't think this is a business secrets as Google competitors have access to the same lists.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Philipp: Remember, several people have worked on reverse-engineering the list. I actually have some material on this I haven't published, since nobody will read it as I'm not at Harvard :-(. Google has never been willing to talk much about it, though I suppose it's conceivable that their policy could change.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

> I actually have some material on this
> I haven't published

Why don't you publish it at your blog, or here?

Ben Dover [PersonRank 0]

15 years ago #

"I detest what you say, but defend to death your right to say it" seems to no longer apply in the 21st century

Forum home

Advertisement

 
Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About
Advertisement

 

This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!