×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Patents Country-Specific Content Blocking

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the two-steps-forward-one-step-back dept.

Patents 106

theodp writes "Today Google was awarded US Patent No. 7,664,751 for its invention of Variable User Interface Based on Document Access Privileges, which the search giant explains can be used to restrict what Internet content people can see 'based on geographical location information of the user and based on access rights possessed for the document.' From the patent: 'For example, readers from the United States may be given "partial" access to the document while readers in Canada may be given "full" access to the document. This may be because the content provider has been granted full rights in the document from the publisher for Canadian readers but has not been granted rights in the United States, so the content provider may choose to only enable fair use display for readers in the United States.' Oh well, at least Google is 'no longer willing to continue censoring [their] results on Google.cn.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

106 comments

Patenting ACTA? (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154532)

Step 1: Read leaked ACTA documents.
Step 2: Patent technologies and software logic that must follow to enforce ACTA.
Decision Gate A: Do you want to be stinking rich or fight for internet liberties? For stinking rich, proceed to step 3a. For valient political statement proceed to step 3b.
Step 3a: License patents under reasonable royalties and hire a legion of lawyers in countries around the world.
Step 3b: List licensing fees of one trillion dollars per patent and hire a legion of lawyers around the world to enforce it. Sit back and watch ACTA defeat itself (assuming it covers software intellectual property worldwide).

Re:Patenting ACTA? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154562)

Step 3b(I): Get forced to "grant" compulsory licenses in most countries which have that option in their patent system (for the common good, ofc).

Not in ACTA (3, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154812)

Step 3b(I): Get forced to "grant" compulsory licenses in most countries which have that option in their patent system (for the common good, ofc).

The purpose of the parent's funny strategy (3b) is to let ACTA self-destroy on its own playground.
Of course some countries have way to circumvent too broad and/or stupid patents, but patents are not a problem in these countries to begin with because they can be circumvented.
But in country where all patent even the stupid one are followed, will have to follow that stupid patent too.
Until they start adding exception to their patent system, at which point the goal *is* achieved - If *Google* can be forced to give out a patent on a core technology of the web, any patent troll should be forced the same whenever they try to stifle fundamental and important innovation.

Re:Patenting ACTA? (1)

jcwayne (995747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154742)

If ACTA were open source this recursive bug would never have made it to a stable release.

Re:Patenting ACTA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155264)

It is only a U.S. patent, so your "hire a legion of lawyers around the world" is moot. Google could only enforce it here in the U.S. I think Slashdot should give a patent primer so that people don't freak out and misunderstand patent related issues all the time.

Re:Patenting ACTA? (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 3 years ago | (#31156882)

it's common for companies to request a patent in multiple countries at once, and nothings tell you that they haven't tried for them.

getting patents out of ACTA (0, Troll)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155284)

Getting patents out of ACTA is probably a very achievable goal. When we were working on an EU directive to criminalise violations of "IP", we raised a stink about the idea of becoming a criminal for violating any one of the 50,000 software patents which nobody could be expected to read.

That directive, like ACTA, was being pushed by the copyright industry. The second we make them nervous about the whole thing crumbling over patents, patents will disappear over night.

That's what's achievable, but only if we work on it. One very easy way to help is to document what's happening in ACTA regarding patents, and why software patents are terrible:

swpat.org is a publicly editable wiki, help welcome.

prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155998)

united hackers association
i block country traffic and other specific ips all time

ya know where good and great people live

like to see this enforced in court mister google
as the saying goes
just cause you can do a thing doesn't mean you should

Re:Patenting ACTA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31158598)

So much for Google not censoring searches based on government policy.

"Do No Evil" must be in smaller font further down on their home page these days, eh?

Re:Patenting ACTA? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164004)

Eminent domain applies to IP.

anyone pulling that crap would probably have his patent confiscated in the interests of national security.

Frist Ps0t!111 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154560)

Frist Ps0t!!!1 =)

Not Censorship (4, Insightful)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154566)

Strictly speaking, this is access control, not censorship. Censorship is prohibiting access based upon some moral or other judgment about the content itself. Access control is restricting the ability to obtain content based upon permissions.

Re:Not Censorship (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154640)

That's a pretty meaningless technical distinction. Differentiating between the country that demands the censorship and the company that actually implements it is like the classic case of the mass murderer who defends himself with "I was only following orders." Google, Yahoo, etc. have used the "We have to follow the laws of the country we're in" defense for a lot of stuff recently. But that's false on many levels. First of all they don't HAVE to do business in that country, they CHOOSE to. Secondly, even if you did, that still doesn't excuse the immorality of the actions. Even an Iranian business that must turn over dissidents for execution is still morally culpable for their role in that system.

They don't have to do business at all. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154696)

First of all they don't HAVE to do business in that country, they CHOOSE to.

Once enough developed countries adopt moralist access control laws (such as censorship laws in China or Australia) or protectionist access control laws (such as the copyright laws that leaked ACTA drafts appear to require), this becomes "First of all they don't HAVE to do business, they CHOOSE to." Then the Amish win :p

Even an Iranian business that must turn over dissidents for execution is still morally culpable for their role in that system.

What do you expect to do? Sponsor everyone's emigration from Iran?

Re:They don't have to do business at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154824)

And we can't let the Amish win! I hear they were plotting to crash a horse and buggy into the Pentagon!

Re:They don't have to do business at all. (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155074)

What do you mean "plotting"? They already left - just after Christmas! They'll be at the Pentagon in around April, give or take. You've been warned!

Re:They don't have to do business at all. (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154856)

What do you expect to do? Sponsor everyone's emigration from Iran?

No, I would only remind the companies doing business there that the day may come when they have to answer for their actions. Personally, if I was in a position where I had to do stuff like turn in dissidents, I would quickly seek another line of work. Even if you're not worried about the moral implications, the day could easily come when the existing government is overthrown and you could find your neck on the bad end of a noose.

Obligation to turn in dissidents (0, Flamebait)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154952)

Personally, if I was in a position where I had to do stuff like turn in dissidents, I would quickly seek another line of work.

Unless every line of work remotely related to what you're trained in carries an obligation to report certain acts to the police. For instance, teachers and medical professionals in the United States are obligated to report to the police their suspicions of "questionable disciplinary measures" applied by a child's parent. So it's either turn in one set of dissidents or emigrate to a country that requires turning in a different set of dissidents.

Re:Not Censorship (2, Interesting)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154884)

technical maybe. But meaningless? I don't think so.

I don't think you could call it censorship if e.g. your company denies the janitors access to payroll documents.

Re:Not Censorship (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#31161954)

Can you give a similar example where access is denied 1) on the Internet, and 2) based on the country from which the request comes, which does not involve censorship?

Re:Not Censorship (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 3 years ago | (#31162128)

In my last company, our chinese sales guy had definitly more blocked documents when he logged in.

Perhaps it becomes censorship when published works are affected?

Re:Not Censorship (2, Informative)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155502)

It kind of looks like from the article that it's designed to be used to restrict access to content based on the wishes of the publisher, not of third parties like governments.

Of course it could be used to censor content, but google(and for that matter the governments themselves) can do that anyway. It's not like China can't(and doesn't) block access to certain web locations it doesn't want its citizens to see. It doesn't stop back channel distribution of course, but neither does this.

Re:Not Censorship (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31164046)

I think this patent isn't about censorship but about copyright differences around the world and youtube/google books. If you look at different countries Project Gutenburg (I'm only familiar with the US, Canadian and Australian ones) you'll see a wide variety in what can be legally obtained in each country.

Re:Not Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154878)

Access control is one of many methods available for enforcing censorship.

Re:Not Censorship (1)

bdrewery (1317617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155090)

Exactly. This is just like Hulu blocking Non-US. It's more about licensing and less about evil guys.

Re:Not Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155398)

But what is the difference between information that the people cannot access because it is censored, and information they cannot access because they cannot afford it?

Re:Not Censorship (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155782)

It depends who provides the information. If it's government it's cencorship and generally bad, no matter how you try to brand it. If it's non-government entity then it's just business strategy and possibly bad only for the entity's reputation. In the first case, if you are not living in democratic country then you are out of luck. In the last case, well, you are out of luck :)

Re:Not Censorship (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 3 years ago | (#31156116)

What governing body do you think claims it has to think of the children for us because we might think of them in the wrong light? The governing body in question most probably influences law, and without people to speak out against their idiocy, they dictate our permissions.

Re:Not Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31156582)

ok and for sure China will not use this as CENSORSHIP, just high sensitive materials

he he he HEuloooo!!

Re:Not Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31159276)

Strictly speaking, "prohibiting access based upon some moral or other judgment about the content" is a form of access control. E.g, the State decides you don't have the rights to access dangerous literature or information, therefore helps you by limiting your access.

A police state will never admit it is censoring its citizens, it will always have a very good reason to prevent the access.

Dan

Re:Not Censorship (1)

lonecrow (931585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31165182)

Prior art.

If countryFromIP(IP) = 'CA' then
response.write "My content"
else
response.redirect("sorry for canucks only")
end if


I have web applications that make extensive use of country specific branching. For example the name of the region I live has a name that is similar to one in Australia. So if the user's IP is from Australia I place a link at the top of the page to a partnering site in AU. If someone is posting a classified ad I reject it if they are not from Canada (its a local site).

So is this just an overly broad patent or is there some specific technique (other then IP address) that they are patenting?

News flash! it is borked already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154570)

They are calling it a proxy server.

The tables have turned my friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154574)

the content provider has been granted full rights in the document from the publisher for Canadian readers but has not been granted rights in the United States

Re:The tables have turned my friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154912)

Win.

Prior art (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154584)

Thomas Bowdler

Re:Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31156558)

The patent wording does not specify how the user's location is being determined, so every single location based service from before 2004 is to be considered prior art.

I am quite certain i have used weather widgets before 2004, that would determine my location based on my IP adress

Yay ! (5, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154604)

I just filed a patent today too ... if it pans out, I'm gonna be rich.

"A method by which the mechanisms described in US Patent No. 7,664,751 can be circumvented by any fool who has access to a proxy server, thus making the payment of any licensing fees to Google an exercise in futility".

Proxies are not usable in large scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154900)

A proxy can be used to download a small amount of data, but what about e.g. streaming video? Who will pay for the proxy bandwidth you are using when circumventing country-blocking?

Re:Proxies are not usable in large scale (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154984)

Well apart from the obvious "open" proxy lists like Samair etc, you could always just Google for a Virtual Private Server with Unlimited Bandwidth for about $8 a month.

Whether it's really unlimited or if they cut you off after 28 days for abusing the policy, for $8 you can afford to swap to a different provider every month. Any that supports PHP or CGI should be enough to whack out a little proxy script to do you downloading for you, either real time or temporarily cached in the 50 or so Mb of disk space the allocate you.

Now never licence or use it. (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154606)

Better yet donate it to some freedom loving international society with the rule it never be implemented, so some future shareholder won't be temped to make money with it. Then all the other companies can say "Sorry government, can't limit access because that is patented." Ok that's silly, the guys with the guns can do what they want, but maybe this patent can keep us free another 17 years.

Re:Now never licence or use it. (2, Insightful)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154632)

I do not think that means what you think it means ... if the boys with the big toys decide they want us to be free for less than 17 years, then there's nothing a Google pwned patent can do. Capisce?

Video and Books (2)

Giltron (592095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154658)

Makes sense they are doing this with Youtube and online video rentals. Also could work for Google hosting book content online and only having the rights secured in select countries.

Google may not intend to use this patent. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154712)

This may seem like a far stretch, but what if Google's intentions with this patent were in fact to disallow anyone from doing that? It seems rather surprising to me that the giant would suddenly switch sides like this, so I'll hope for the best.

Re:Google may not intend to use this patent. (1)

crazycheetah (1416001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154800)

It's not really switching sides, even if they do use it. This is more the people who give Google certain content not allowing it in one place or another. Or laws being more complicated or whatever b.s. is involved in the political realm of it. But this seems to be more about following copyright law more thoroughly as opposed to following any censorship laws.

Re:Google may not intend to use this patent. (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155260)

I don't know why you were modded funny. If Apple patented ad-based OS and ad-based phones, why Google cannot patent mechanisms to block people from accessing data. If some believed that Apple patented that, to discourage its use, why Google wouldn't do the same.

So, with the current growth of people trying to make money out of advertisement, then Apple came with its patents. With the explosion of people making money with locked devices, why not profit out of it?

Re:Google may not intend to use this patent. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31157388)

First, IAAPL (I Am A Patent Lawyer).

In order to prevent someone from patenting and abusing a technology, there is no need to get the patent yourself. Simply publishing a document about the technology in sufficient detail (i.e. what you would disclose in the patent) creates prior art, preventing anyone from patenting that technology. To ensure the USPTO (or any other patent office) sees the article, make it as public as possible. This creates the prior art, invalidating the patent application on novelty and/or nonobviousness grounds.

IBM has been doing this for decades for technology it doesn't feel is worth the effort to patent, but wants to be sure to not be excluded from. The USPTO even searches IBM's publishing database when reviewing patent applications, as it generates so much in the various fields.

Thus, there is no incentive to obtaining a patent (high cost) to ensure people's ability to use the technology. Publishing alone does that (low cost). The reason to get a patent is to profit from it (or at least intend to profit from it).

Ok, Google is really starting to creep me out... (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154718)

Can anyone suggest a decent provider for email that doesn't have the privacy concerns? Should I just suck it up and move to my ISP's mail? Calendar and all that I can do without and find alternatives for easily enough, but setting up my own mail server is a fair bit beyond my experience...

Re:Ok, Google is really starting to creep me out.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154816)

i got a domain and small server room for not that much from godaddy, there are also othe companies that have the same service as thay have.

for me it's kinda nice to hava an email that is myname@familyname.net And it aint that expencive. Sure gmail offers more n bit more simple but it aint hard to fix it. Anyway cheap is almost same as free.

when iTools at Apple became .Mac and started to cost money i simply got my self my own domain, with email package.

Re:Ok, Google is really starting to creep me out.. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154860)

Can anyone suggest a decent provider for email that doesn't have the privacy concerns?

I run my own servers, I don't trust 'free' providers and after seeing the quality of service done by 'paid' providers, I don't trust them either.

Re:Ok, Google is really starting to creep me out.. (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155164)

Is it that big a pain to set up with decent security? I've looked at running one on the Ubuntu box I have at home (supposed to be a fancy server, but it's just a network drive at the moment), but from what I've read, the process scares me--it took me two full weekends just to get the samba shares working right and with what I hope are the proper permissions and group settings, and I spent a full day last weekend trying to get apcupsd to talk to my UPS (I get "on battery" and "power restored" messages, but I can't view status and I haven't yet gotten around to testing auto shutdown). I still need to set up remote desktop, regular backups, and hopefully some way to auto decrypt at startup... Obviously, I'm not very good with linux, so I'm afraid setting up a mail server would take me a solid month or more...

And what do you do about server downtime?
 

Re:Ok, Google is really starting to creep me out.. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155668)

Is it that big a pain to set up with decent security?

It is not easy. A professional can do it without much pain, because he already knows what goes where. But if you have no such experience you may make mistakes that will cost you.

Generally mail servers aren't that bad to configure (unless you want sendmail.) Some are easier than other; I like Postfix. You probably want an IMAP server too. But one problem you need to solve is spam control. Google, however evil it may have become, has a good spam filter. You, OTOH, will eventually be drowning in spam. I don't know what is the best solution for that today.

And security-wise, you'd want to make sure your firewalls are properly configured. You will need to test them, and you will need to keep the software on Internet servers up to date.

And what do you do about server downtime?

Email is not very sensitive to downtime; however if you have other services, like Web, then they will certainly stop working. You will need to come to wherever the server is, and fix it.

So all in all, it's not impossible to have your own server. You can run other services there if you want. But if you aren't interested in doing all that, then perhaps you need to get a non-free email account from a provider. For example, Hover offers their largest package with 6 mailboxes for $60/yr. You probably will burn more money than that on electric power to run your server.

He said posting from a windows machine (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155426)

Quick, tell me, you being creeped out, has that stopped you from using Windows? No?

Rather selective in your creeping out aren't you?

Notice that MS has NO problems censoring with Bing. Neither does MS link to chillingeffects when it is forced to censor something.

Re:He said posting from a windows machine (2)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155894)

First, I'm trying to move from windows as much as possible. This process is made difficult by the excruciating difficulty of relearning an entirely new OS and the consequent hours spent on every step of the process (see my other post regarding my home server). Don't think I'll ever move away from it completely, though, as I have a few programs for which there is no linux version available at all or within my price range, and no equivalent product exists. But for most tasks (ie, everything outside of CAD, Matlab, and a game or two) I want to move to Ubuntu.

Second, what bugs me most about Google isn't the censorship (though it does still bother, and I know MS does it too, but I don't use Bing) but the datamining of their services. Gmail, documents, calendar, and their new facebook thing... I want to transition to something else. I know I'm a little late in the game realizing this stuff, but I actually want to try and fix it. Snarky holier-than-thou replies aren't helpful.

And just to vent... if linux is so easy and ideal for everyone, why the fuck does every step of every tutorial not work? I expect every now and then that some tasks might be more difficult than others... but every single one? Say what you want about Windows, and it certainly has its faults... but at least stuff generally works the first time, without having to spend hours digging through forums, searching websites and blogs, and dicking around with config files and cryptic command line inputs at each step of the process. And that's on a fresh install, too!

This is ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154770)

How do they expect to license or police this? I'm sure companies have been controlling content based on geolocation long before google. i.e. the BBC / CNN etc.

Next they will be trying to patent the 'IF' statement.

Re:This is ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154922)

Not to mention that the top 10 online video service sites other than YouTube already have this implemented in some way too.

It would be nice if Google went to enforce this such that region blocking ends up being un-done, so I don't have to do the proxy server run-around just to watch vids that are blocked from U.S. viewing.

But then again, a lot of the region blocking is done on servers outside the U.S., so what good would a U.S. patent do?

Re:This is ridiculous (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 3 years ago | (#31156094)

Not to mention that the top 10 online video service sites other than YouTube already have this implemented in some way too.

So does Youtube. They have been offering streamed movies and TV series for a while now. Some are not available in the UK, so regional restrictions are already in force. The user submitted stuff may be unlimited, but Youtube does way more than that these days.

Google on my DoEvilList (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154838)

Now google got on my EvilList.. Before it contained Microsoft and SCO.

Not so, Google has reinstituted blocking in China (4, Informative)

unixfan (571579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154844)

A month after the much discussed attack on Google, google.cn continues to censor search results, though it appears to be less than prior to this incident. Ref. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/10/google_china/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Not so, Google has reinstituted blocking in Chi (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155108)

Think that many have to do with their algorithms rather than censoring? When you search for sensitive terms atm it gives proper results, so maybe the register is being a bit jumpy?

tank man [google.cn]
falun gong [google.cn]

Seems to be right.... The reason that LESS images of tank man show up in the .cn version compared to the .com version is likely that the tank man image is not featured as commonly in Chinese media. This makes perfectly good sense, and really should be obvious. The falun gong results are nearly EXACTLY the same.

Re:Not so, Google has reinstituted blocking in Chi (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155970)

Have you tried searching those queries from within China? Google does know how to do IP geolocation, you know.

Re:Not so, Google has reinstituted blocking in Chi (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#31156328)

Through a proxy gives interesting results. The initial web search shows the images in the preview but when you switch to the Google image search you get the following message: "" - "According to the local legislation laws and regulations and the policy, the search results will not show."

So it is sort of part way between their old position and their big change of heart. (From what I've heard, I never tried to proxy before.). Wish I checked by proxy over the last weeks.

Re:Not so, Google has reinstituted blocking in Chi (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155196)

Hey, but at least they're now the only ones allowed to do it!

(Yes, I know everything that was wrong with that statement.)

No mechanism proposed (2, Interesting)

feenberg (201582) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154848)

The patent makes no sense, because it includes no description of a mechanism for achieving the stated objective. You should be able to get a patent on a particular method of doing something, but since when can you patent all possible methods of doing something? Especially when there aren't any. We have been doing this at work for over a decade, using IP address information from whois servers. It isn't very accurate, but it works well enough for us.

Daniel Feenberg

Re:No mechanism proposed (2, Interesting)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155226)

The patent makes no sense, because it includes no description of a mechanism for achieving the stated objective. You should be able to get a patent on a particular method of doing something, but since when can you patent all possible methods of doing something? Especially when there aren't any. We have been doing this at work for over a decade, using IP address information from whois servers. It isn't very accurate, but it works well enough for us.

No, it's got a pretty decent description, sufficient that one of ordinary skill in the art of computer programming could implement it, without undue experimentation. What, you want code?

Re:No mechanism proposed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31156768)

Actually yes. Most physical implementation patents describe in enough length what is being patented. Why should software/business-methodology patents get to be more vague? Since its the mechanism that is patented, describing the mechanism with pseudo-code would be appropriate for a software patent.

Re:No mechanism proposed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31158086)

"since when can you patent all possible methods of doing something?"

You can't, but what you can do is patent all possible mechanisms used to perform a certain method, and that is what this patent is doing.

Time to rearchitect the net (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154852)

To protect the free flow of information which is at the core of a free society and an efficient and stable economy, location information must be eliminated from the network protocol.

Re:Time to rearchitect the net (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155244)

You can't totally eliminate location information in a network. After all, routing tables are necessary to point to your host, which has to be physically located somewhere. And IP is a lot better than, say, plain old telephone numbers or other location-prefix based addressing schemes, because nothing prevents you from spreading an IP netblock all around the globe. But yes, evil stuff like GeoIP needs to go.

Re:Time to rearchitect the net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155418)

A server doesn't need to know where the client is. It needs to know an identifier which the network can use to reach the client. With the current architecture (and even more so with IPv6), it's efficient to assign IP addresses in congruence with the network topology. A less direct addressing scheme is needed so that the easiest and most efficient implementation does not reveal the location of the client to the server.

Enforce It (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31154870)

I hope Google enforces the hell out of this patent. No, really - enforce it rigorously and we may have an internet that actually is a world wide web. Perhaps then I'll be able to view content on Hulu, for example. I may think patents are borked beyond saving but I'll be more than fine with this one being enforced.

Bogus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31154886)

This patent is completely bogus, the whole internet is an example of prior use...

HULU violates Google's patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155004)

Hey that's great!! Now HULU can't block US content from reaching Canadians without violating Google's patent. Litigation should start immediately and I hope the settlement is in the billions. It will probably be cheaper for HULU to pay the licensing fees to the US based producers and just send the content over the border, which is all Canadians have been asking for.

Do less evil. (1)

Cobble (1116971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155038)

Do no less evil.

Re:Do less evil. (1)

BOFHelsinki (709551) | more than 3 years ago | (#31156270)

By the way, "Do No Evil", as touted by Google fans for a decade now, has never been the company's "motto". The phrase appears in item #6 on their list of 10 principles. It relates to the way they place and present ads. Nothing else.

Mod this up if you're sick and tired of the "Do No Evil" hype. Google didn't start that so they shouldn't be blamed of hypocrisy on account of that.

(Then it's a completely separate issue what kind of company they are or purport to be. No comment on that in this post.)

AWESOME IDEA (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155232)

This is very very good for pain in the ass to get free speech. Why? Because if Google has everything up in Laos that Americans can't see and everything in America that Laotians can't see then all you need is a proxy to see anything. So Google Books for example could become what it really should be. A library with all books (proxy required). Youtube could keep up pretty much all videos, needing to get a cease and desist from every country.

Oh and it needn't be used to do extra censoring to hurt freedom of speech. There is nothing stopping Google from doing as it has with China, ignore w/e rules there are and push freedom of speech.

I'm all for... lowest common denominator censorship. This seems like it would have little effect to people getting censored. And it would really damage the MAFIAA, people in first world countries could bypass the bought and paid for laws.

Disclaimer: If countries successfully find a way to stop proxying it could suck. But I find that unlikely.

Re:AWESOME IDEA (3, Insightful)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155306)

...all you need is a proxy to see anything...

Great. All we have to do is maintain proxies in nations all over the world, and we can be treated fairly. Now if we could just teach everyone on the planet how to use international proxies, no one would be victimized by censorship. Surely governments will never try to close *this* hole. I feel like the world is a better place already due to poor implementations of evilness.

Re:AWESOME IDEA (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155624)

Point is that Google is already ignoring certain countries laws on what they can show, by showing politically sensitive things, supporting freedom of speech. So foreign countries are already benefiting from Google, I don't expect that to vanish. At the moment though people in first world countries are not benefiting. If Google uses this patent as a way to remove censorship from things (Such as Google Books) then it could be a good thing for us.

Also, not everyone needs access to the proxies, proxies are holes in a wall. Only a few people need to go through and get the information to spread. But again, it all matters whether Google uses this to censor more or censor less. Also, having this particular patent is meaningless, since they were already censoring by region, Canada not getting access to many things Americans do. It might signify some kind of shift, and with the recent China change I am hopeful that it is for the best.

Re:AWESOME IDEA (1)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 3 years ago | (#31156132)

So you're saying Google might be intentionally implementing circumventable censorship to appease China while simultaneously helping the oppressed, because a more direct refusal to cooperate with censorship would be doomed to be crushed the Chinese government? I hope you're right. What might be the purpose of patenting this process? ...hmm, Perhaps they believe it is inevitable that the Chinese people will eventually realize that they are being oppressed, and when that happens, Google wants a monopoly on delivering non-censored information ...which would make them loads of money. ...if that whole "follow the money" mantra really works, then you must be right.

Re:AWESOME IDEA (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#31156584)

"Google might be intentionally implementing circumventable censorship"
Honestly I think Google wants to follow local laws rather than the laws of everyone at the same time, or perhaps just American laws. Google books is disheartening for me in Canada because books that are out of copyright are blocked ... since US copyright extends back to when people wrote on scrolls. Following local rules would make it much more friendly.

"I hope you're right." - me too haha....

And I don't think the patent means anything at all. It would be hilariously indefensible. They can't use it to break the law obviously so it doesn't help them there. And the amount of prior art on it goes back forever. Lastly all of the companies they'd want to harass with it are big and have the legal teams to knock the flimsy patent down no problem.

Re:AWESOME IDEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31156054)

Surely governments will never try to close *this* hole.

It sounds like you're either being sarcastic, or are critically underestimating how desperate institutions can become while they suspect something is a threat to their continued establishment. Just look at the U.S. against any nation who'd like to make a stand and refuse to sell themselves out to US interests and corporations...
And I think we both know how the free flow of information provided by the internet is a prime weapon against illegetimate institutions. So I'm quite sure that they WILL try - actually, quite a few countries have already started their campaign, such as Austrialia, New Zealand, China, the UK, and a handful of others, trying to move the developped world (and thus also dragging the rest of the world with it) towards totalitarian control and censorship of the net.
Whether they succeed, however, depends on whether citizens (among them the informatics/communications community) dare to fight the measures that these governments may try to inflict on the internet. Well, do you feel lucky, punk? Do you?

How is this different? (4, Interesting)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155256)

Recently, working on a paper, I came across some papers on the National Bureau of Economic Research website that said they were $5 to access for me, but they are free for anyone in a developing or undeveloped country. I didn't try to find a proxy in Azerbaijan so I don't know how the site looks if you are from a country that gets free access, but I am curious how that works and how it differs from this patent.

Re:How is this different? (1)

oaksey (585738) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155526)

American patent might not cover it but don't BBC also already do this for people inside/outside the UK?

Re:How is this different? (1)

skremon (1746830) | more than 3 years ago | (#31156898)

Agree with you, actually this seems too general to be a patent to me, and I believe a lot of other popular web-sites are already doing it in some form (Hulu for example).

Need better granularity (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155276)

Content filtering at the nation-state level. Yawn.

How about content filtering at the individual consciousness level? Show me what I wish to see, and nothing else.

So basically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155298)

... Google patented access by geolocation, used by tons of video sites (like youtube, veoh, vimeo, etc) for limiting certain videos to certain countries (mainly the USA it seems...)? Geolocation is also used by a couple of websites to present a certain document in a different language... does that count?

Oh how I long for Google to call me and ask for money when I do that.

So amusing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155382)

I love how people actually believe it when corporations say that they won't do anything evil. It might be sooner, it might be later, but it'll always, always happen.

Poison Pill (1)

scottzak (398384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155638)

Patenting censorship. How can this be bad?

So, Mister Ballmer, if you want to filter Chinese search engine results, you must license our patent. The license will only cost you ten schmazillion dollars.

What? The price is too high? Then I'm afraid you won't be able to legally filter your results, now will you?

What? You don't think this is a valid patent? Maybe all business process patents are invalid. Let's litigate it.

. . . and so on . . . or maybe something far less hopeful.

sphincter recognition system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155650)

I'm going to apply for a patent on my sphincter recognition system.

Can they do the same for Yawni? (1)

Tony (765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31155716)

Google Patents Country-Specific Content Blocking

Cool. I'm glad someone's taking a stand for decent music everywhere.

Two wrongs DO make a right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31155832)

For once, something we don't want gets patented and withheld from the public.

Would /ignore *.tr be prior art? (0, Troll)

Mad-Bassist (944409) | more than 3 years ago | (#31156194)

I mean, we had to exercise that ability one night on IRC. It's right up there with /kline *@aol.com :aaaaah!

Adsense patent from 2002 is prior art (1)

barwasp (1116567) | more than 3 years ago | (#31157020)

Taken from Googe's own patent [uspto.gov]

For example, if the content of the advertisement includes "Buy honda cars at the lowest prices of the year!", the terms "honda" or "honda cars" may be extracted from that content. The targeting information may also include other demographic information, such as geographic location, affluence, etc. Thus, the targeting information is simply some information from which a topic may be derived.

. . .

Among the other things that could be provided by an advertiser through ad entry and management component 210 are the following: one or more advertising creatives (simply referred to as "ads" or "advertisements"), one or more set of keywords or topics associated with those creatives (which may be used as targeting information for the ads), geographic targeting information, a value indication for the advertisement, start date, end date, etc.

htaccess: deny from .au = country blocking (0, Troll)

barwasp (1116567) | more than 3 years ago | (#31157814)

Here is another technical prior art from the usenet (for the public record)

Usenet group: de.comp.lang.perl.cgi
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 19:27:42 +1000

Title:.htacess problem

Path: archiver1.google.com!news2.google.com!news1.google.com!newsfeed.stanford.edu!news-spur1.maxwell.syr.edu!news.maxwell.syr.edu!nntp-relay.ihug.net!ihug.co.nz!news.tig.com.au!not-for-mail
From: "rodw"
Newsgroups: de.comp.lang.perl.cgi
Subject: .htacess problem
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 19:27:42 +1000
Organization: The Internet Group (Sydney)
Lines: 22
Message-ID:
NNTP-Posting-Host: p201-tnt7.syd.ihug.com.au
X-Trace: bugstomper.ihug.com.au 1002619553 5302 203.173.144.201 (9 Oct 2001 09:25:53 GMT)
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2615.200
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2615.200

Hi all,

Im trying to block a country from viewing my site buy using .htaccess but am
having no luck. I am using the code below but when I put it on all domains
seemed to be blocked as I get a "500 internal error", any ideas?

AuthName "Blocking"
AuthType Basic


order allow,deny
allow from all
deny from .co.nz
deny from .net.nz
deny from .gov.nz

Rod

Google Search Language Preferences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31158014)

Anyone else notice the change to Search Language Preferences after the Google/China incident? It may just be a coincidence but the "Search for pages written in any language (Recommended)" option is no longer the default or an available option. The only option now is "Prefer pages written in these language(s)" with one of the languages sometimes selected and unselectable by default depending on your "Interface Language" setting or which localized version of Google you visit.

Do What I Say, Not What I Do (1)

kidphoton (575170) | more than 3 years ago | (#31158166)

A variable user interface based on where the request is coming from. When you do that to Google, don't they call that cloaking?

Prior art (0, Troll)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31162512)

This has been going on for years namely any time anyone tries to download content that the the US government considers military in nature including encryption software.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...