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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Google/ Schäuble Parody, and More

The youth organization of the German SPD party have created a parody site in the style of Google with the logo reading “Schäuble.” Wolfgang Schäuble is the name of Germany’s minister of interior of the CDU party. He’s often making news for wanting to have stricter “anti terror” laws, some of them by uses like remote-searching through computers of suspicious persons without court order (named “federal Trojan horse program” by media). Now this “Schäuble search engine” pokes fun at this by pretending to allow you to search “the web”, “this computer”, “your neighbor’s computer” or “all computers.” The copyright reads “© 2007 Surveillance State”.

Another, older German Google parody is called Zensoogle. “Zensur” is German for “censorship”. Any search query you enter will result in 0 results, telling you that your query was determined to be “bad”, forwarding you to a search result for the query “Google censors” (“Google zensiert”). Patriot Search in the meantime is an older satire of mine pretending to allow you to share your search queries with curious governments.

In other news, Franco Frattini, the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, demanded that online searches for bombs should be made more difficult as part of “anti terror” plans. “I do intend to carry out a clear exploring exercise with the private sector ... on how it is possible to use technology to prevent people from using or searching dangerous words like bomb, kill, genocide or terrorism,” he says. Asked whether this plan would possibly conflict with freedom of speech, Franco told Reuters, “Frankly speaking, instructing people to make a bomb has nothing to do with the freedom of expression, or the freedom of informing people.” The top result for the queries “genocide”, “bomb” or “terrorism” – the so-called “dangerous words” – currently lead to Wikipedia pages providing political or technical explanations. The query “kill” returns an website discussing the movie “Kill Bill”.

Already, search censorship is more frequent in Europe than in some other parts of the world, with Germany and France, and the search players within these countries, setting precedents for the world to follow.

[Schäuble parody via Spreeblick.]


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