Google Censors Autocomplete: Down the Slippery Slope We Go!

The following is a relevant and thoughtful comment, yes that's weird but there area few on the net that don't suck, on the whole 'Google censors torrent searches from their autocomplete form.'

"I think there's room enough for condemnation of Google for it's strategy of appeasement - but there must surely be lines Google can't really cross without getting into more trouble than if they simply stood up and fought.

What they've done here can be described as a minor gesture of goodwill towards content providers - if any court decides to regard such a gesture as an admission of guilt or culpability, it would logically open up a very big and nasty can of worms for any number of previously resolved cases.

Beyond this, there don't seem to be many more neutral steps Google can take to appease copyright holders. If they engage in direct intervention in the actual results of their own volition (rather than under legal obligation), then they would clearly be at grave risk of losing the 'mere conduit' status they rely on in order not to be sued for providing links to illegal or harmful sites. If they can censor one set of sites, why not all these others?

The law would then presumably require them to engage in wholesale censorship of all results - something that would undoubtedly cost a fortune (assuming it's even possible) and obliterate them as a credible search-provider.

Whatever else may be said about Google, I find it difficult to visualise them deliberately pushing the self-destruct button on behalf of their enemies."

Oh and also apparently if you hit space after typing 'torrent' in the search result lists start flooding back. So either it's a poorly done job (unlikely), or Google wanted to go 'oh we did what you wanted' without actually censoring anything (seems more plausible to me.)

Why get in a huff at all? As the quoted text more or less states once this step is taken then that sets a precedence that could be referenced and pointed to. Screws put a little tighter, more restrictions put in place. Google being forced to do more than censor autocomplete on piracy related materials and instead going after whoever the lobbyists want them to. 

This doesn't even take into account all the smaller companies that the media groups can bully into oblivion outright.

Oh it gets even more fun. Cory Doctorow actually wrote a very good story based on the idea of 'what if Google became evil' back during the Great Firewall of China debacle. 

For me, and probably lots of other people angsting, it isn't about looking for torrents. It's about somebody being able to strong arm the largest name in internet searching into bending against what the masses want.

Google. You defied China. Now tell the MAFIAA what they can go do with themselves.

The screwed up thing is Boycotte Google's services? Uh... Right. Blog hosted where now? Still. Google. I'm not going to be using you for searching for awhile. Maybe they see a big enough dip in searches used they might get the idea we don'twant eve na token act of submission. It leads to too dark a place if that chain of logic gets followed.

But wait. It gets even more frightening. Google's been wanting to move us to The Cloud. I've gotten a notebook as part of a test to see if this is viable. 

Google getting bullied into doing what the MAFIAA wants. 
All of your data being readily accessable and manipulatable by Google 
They can torch your data 'for your own good' and you can't do anything about it, or worse, they can get Google to hand them the data so they can find an excuse to sue you into oblivion and or bury you in legal fees even if you haven't personally done anything illegal.

I leave you with another quote I find highly appropriate:

I think the problem here is the US copyright law and its abuse. It is not Google's fault, maybe in the future another search engine will be forced to censor results... and will you boycott it? Will you say they are doing a bad practice?. Just think for a moment please...

And remember the USA is the nation of "freedom and democracy"... US companies trying to ban, or kill software freedom (free software), the FCC trying to kill net neutrality, the goverment trying to track Internet users, the MPAA and RIAA censoring the Internet... =(
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