Sunday, January 25, 2009

Google times are here again

Pangloss has found (via Google, how else!?) a rather interesting blog called http://blogoscoped.com/.

It contains a little gem called Google Robot which certainly makes you wonder just how sensible our current legal interpretations of the Google spider are.

"Frequently Asked Questions

Last update: November 1st, 2030

What are Google Robots?

Google Robots are our human-like machines that walk the earth to record information. They do no harm, and they do not invade your privacy.

What are Google Robots good for?

Our Google Life search website is powered by the Google Robot crawler program. On the Google Life website at life.google.com, you can:

  • Find out what menus the local restaurant offers at what prices
  • See a perfect 3D shape of all houses in your city
  • Know how crowded the bar is you want to go to tonight
  • Know what items to find at your local mall
  • Find out if your library has a certain book available (Also see: What's a book?)
  • Know what you said and who you met 3 weeks ago (this feature is available only to My Public Life™ subscribers)
  • Locate your friends (this feature is only available if your friends subscribed to My Public Life™)
  • And much more!

I saw a Google Robot entering a library and reading books in it. Is that legal?

Our Google Robots do not record private information. As the books in a library are considered to be public, our Google Robots reserve the right to scan them. However, we do respect the copyright of individual works, and will only show a "fair use" portion on our website." "

Another story off this site is that the German Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons has put a pro anorexia blog hosted on Google’s Blogspot on the index of youth-harming media. It is already well known that Google censors its search in countries like Germany and France according to local laws which prohibit spech often legal in other states (such as the USA). The interest for Pangloss is that this follows on from the news that Germany's Communications Minister is pushing for a UK IWF-style Cleanfeed system. (So is Belgium - bad week for free speech huh - oh and Romania. ) If the German scheme transpires, would URLs like this go on to it? That is pushing censorship past child porn, and an exact example of what I'm worrying about in the upcoming pornography chapter from Law and the Internet (3rd edn ) I quoted earlier.

John Ozimek of the Register whose coverage has lately been excellent, says "Undoubtedly, 2009 is going to be the year of the internet filter." Hmm.

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