Ministries of Truth, Unite!
I wasn't the first to leap on the yahoo/msn/google search engine censorship story
, and was far from the last. Some 3800+ stories were in the news media
about it all, with many a pithy quote from Congress, and various bloggers. My favorite comment on the whole debate was a silent one. The Chinese press's website
, usually so prominent in on news.google.com
's search results - has said not a peep.
How eloquent an undefense is that? How can you talk about the things you can't talk about?John Battell puts one problem in a nutshell
Google's first big editing job? Deciding which sites to exclude because they might offend the Chinese government. There's still time to pull out, guys. I've read your rationalizations, and Uncle Bill's as well. I don't buy them. I don't buy that this is what, in your heart, you believe is right. Sure, I understand the logic. But, well....in your heart, is this what you wanted to do? No? Then why did you do it?
I've mellowed towards google's actions in recent days, in part because in publishing google.cn and google.com they allow everyone to see what's being censored. MSN and yahoo weren't doing even that, and AT&T and Cisco have been enabling the Great Firewall
for years, so I'm even madder about that. Still, the thing that stings the most was the mission statement that google dropped down the memory hole:
...but I can't find it, as archive.org doesn't have it!
Is that the google everybody owns a piece of
at 400 bucks a share?
I, at least, still believe in the fundamental democracy of the web. What changed in Cyberspace between Google's IPO and last month?
I imagine google's representatives are being flooded with keyword suppression requests by now from every two bit dictator and repressive regime, the NSA, the KGB, every righteous church group, left leaning wingnut, PETA, and gun toting georgia cracker - so many requests that they have to setup a hotline. But hey, why setup a hotline when you can outsource the work? I can imagine someone setting up a censorship service much like the ones that promise to get your url listed on the various search engines, except that this one promises to get your embarrasing facts out of them!
Dial 1-800-ICENSOR now. Operators are standing by!
I also imagine that after all America's political public posturings were over and done with, the search engine representatives got called into a meeting in some dark room of Congress and asked how they (the representatives) could get some more embarrassing truths wiped from the record... like the facts on various campaign promises?
Could Orwell have predicted that the Ministries of Truth would be privatized?
And meanwhile, the Patriot Act inches on towards renewal. Am I the only one tasting the irony of all this?
It looks like Winston, of 1984, has some burgeoning job prospects. Censorship is IN, man. I'm going to have to update my resume on how I use privoxy
as my own personal censor! There's Tons O' money in suppressing information. Why didn't I realize it before? What a brave new world this is!
Site of the day: Gaaagle
Laughter is the only thing that keeps us separate from the animals, and me out of the clink.