Google has changed its mind about banning sexually explicit blogs on its Blogger platform.
After a ton of feedback the firm has decided to continue with its current policy instead, it says.
Explicit blogs must continue to identify themselves as adult . This means a warning page is shown before readers are transferred to the site. Google also reserves the right to add an adult tag to Blogger blogs if it feels the description is
The acceptable use policy link currently redirects users to a posted message which reads:
We've had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities.
So rather than implement this change, we've decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.
As long as bloggers have correctly identified their adult blogs they need take no further action, the message adds.
Google plans to enable people to flag revenge porn so that it can be excluded from its internet searches in future.
Amit Singhal, a senior vice-president, announced in a post on the Google public policy blog on Friday that the company would soon issue online forms through which members of the public will be able to request that revenge porn content involving them no
longer show up in Google searches.
Links to such images will not be included in Google search results on that person, though images will remain online.
The step is a major shift for the leading search engine, which normally resists attempts at censorship on internet content showing up in searches. But Google decided to make an exception regarding the unauthorised sharing of nude photos, images often
posted by ex-spouses or partners or extortionists demanding money to take down such pictures, all without the consent of the people shown.
It is not clear if Google will implement an appeals procedure for the inevitable false claims that will be generated.
Google has been getting more aggressive about redirecting users from Google.com to the the national versions of the sites.
According to a person close to Google, this move to redirect users is part of the company's attempts to persuade judges and lawmakers that applying any censorship orders on a national level is sufficient. This person, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, suggested the company is hoping to demonstrate that, in countries like France and Germany, relatively few people now go to Google.com in the first place -- which obviates the need for broader orders.
Given the recent decree in France, however, this strategy appears to be coming up short. The fallback strategy, then, is to employ a more technical solution: Using IP addresses (which reveal a person's location) to censor Google.com on a
country-by-country basis. This would entail Google configuring its search results to detect that a person is in France -- and blocking any offending search results accordingly on Google.com -- while at the same time displaying the missing results to
Google.com visitors in Norway, the United States, and elsewhere.
Google is not employing such measures yet, but comments by the company's top lawyer, David Drummond, suggest it is willing and able to do so.
Indonesia's Ministry of Communications and Informatics spokesperson Ismail Cawidu told Reuters that in March, the Ministry aims to issue a new law to streaming and messaging providers, as well as social media websites. He cited national interests on
taxes as well as controlling terrorism and pornography-related content as the main reasons for the proposal. He added:
If they do not comply, Indonesia will reduce their bandwidth or block them entirely..
Meanwhile, Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara said that the Ministry estimated that the country's digital advertising sector was worth about US$800 million in 2015, but the business was left untaxed because of loopholes in regulations.
Google has an office in Indonesia, but digital age transactions do not go through that office. That is what we're looking to straighten out.
Google is now reported to be blocking the searches of would-be ISIS recruits and sending them to anti-ISIS websites.
That means that if you search for keywords like the Isis slogan baqiya wa tatamaddad (remaining and expanding), the deferential term al dawla al islamiya (supporters of Islamic State), or ISIS media sources like Al-Furqan and Al-I'tisam,
you'll end up seeing videos on why ISIS is bad.
All very commendable but now doubt the censorship capability will be eyed by not such shining causes. How long before searches for your local chippie get redirected to government dietary websites, or how long before searches for escorts get redirected to
vintage car auctions.
Given that the holocaust is historical fact with massive amounts of historical evidence, then it hardly seems likely that
authoritative websites will feel the need to debate the existence the event. The debate only exists on contrarian websites. You wouldn't really expect wiki to lead with the phrase: yes the holocaust really did exist.
So searching for the phrase : did the Holocaust happen? is hardly likely to strike many close matches on authoritative websites. And yes it will find many matches on the contrarian websites, after all they are the only websites asking that
A Guardian commentator, Carole Cadwalladr, asked that question and was somehow 'outraged' that Google didn't return links to an entirely different question that was more in line with what Cadwalladr wanted to see.
It would be a bad day indeed if Google dictated only morally upright answers. Searches for porn would return links to anti-porn activists and a search for local pubs would return links to religious preachers. People would soon seek other solutions to
their searching. Even holocaust campaigners would get caught out, eg if they were seeking out websites to challenge.
Surely nobody would gain from Google refusing to comply with search requests as written.
Google has now responded to the Cadwalladr article saying that it is thinking deeply about ways to improve search. A spokesman said:
This is a really challenging problem, and something we're thinking deeply about in terms of how we can do a better job
Search is a reflection of the content that exists on the web.
The fact that hate sites may appear in search results in no way means that Google endorses these views.
Editor of news site Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan, said Google was keen to come up with a solution that was broadly applicable across all searches, rather than just those that have been noticed by users:
It's very easy to take a search here and there and demand Google change something, and then the next day you find a different search and say, 'why didn't you fix that?' Hate speech