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First Amendment Protection For Search Results?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-search-for-fire-in-a-crowded-theater dept.

Google 76

An anonymous reader writes "A legal paper (PDF), commissioned by Google and written by Eugene Volokh and Donald Falk, makes the case that search results should be protected under the First Amendment, thereby making regulation of search results illegal. The authors say a search engine 'uses sophisticated computerized algorithms, but those algorithms themselves inherently incorporate the search engine company engineers' judgments about what material users are likely to find responsive to these queries.' Cory Doctorow's reaction: 'I think that the editorial right to exercise judgment is much more widely understood than the sacred infallibility of robotic sorting. I certainly support it more. But I wonder if Google appreciates that it will now have to confront people who are angry about their search rankings by saying, "I'm sorry, we just don't like you very much" instead of "I'm sorry, our equations put you where you belong." And oy, the libel headaches they're going to face.'"

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Google: "Corporation is a person"? (-1, Flamebait)

StarcraftWin (2630837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970343)

What GENIUS at Google's board approved this idea? Its not like the entire fing country is livid about the Supreme Court holding that corporations are people - which makes zero sense. But here, GOOGLE, is now not only claiming not only will *it* do no eeevil, but that *it is a person* and *it has Free Speech right*.

Is this the final legacy of Eric Schmidt, by any chance? Upset about being push aside, he's approving this kind of Google killing strategy?

The notion that an elected set of representatives would create a baseline secret test to check google's results is an excellent and needed one. a light weight check process could be easily designed and periodically launched to *measure* the results.

Likewise, all products gain from consistent quality measurements.

On top of that, Google themselves is silencing the release of research paper [thinkoutsidein.com] about Google+ and social networks. Talk about hypocrisy!

Google blocked me from publishing my book

Many of you have asked me why my book ‘Social Circles‘ was delayed, and why it has been removed from Amazon. I wrote the book in collaboration with Google, and in June 2010 they officially gave me written permission to publish it. The book content, the title, and the cover all existed prior to Emerald Sea (Google+). However, after the PR frenzy around the leaking of the project in July 2010, Google verbally rescinded permission to publish, and blocked me from publishing until after Google+ launched. I understood and respected their decision at the time. However, they continue to block it. Now that Google+ has launched, I honestly can’t see why they don’t respond to my emails requesting permission to publish. The book contains no proprietary information, it is based almost entirely on research from 3rd parties (mostly universities) and any Google research referenced is already in the public domain.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970449)

Right.
Google is only a corporation because the government GAVE them a license to incorporate. With any license comes restrictions on what can or can not be done (just as a drivers license in most states doesn't let you drive without a seat belt, or while texting on a cellphone). If google doesn't like those license restrictions, let it hand back the license and became a directly-owned company by a person.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (4, Insightful)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970899)

Google is only a corporation because the government GAVE them a license to incorporate. With any license comes restrictions on what can or can not be done"

While I disagree with the "corporation is a person" argument, I do recognize that a corporation is an assembly of persons who should not be stripped of their consitutional rights simply because they get organized. In fact the US Constitution explicitly guarantees the right to assemble to petition the government.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (2)

aztektum (170569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972361)

Yes, but it also guarantees the rights of everyone else. I remember in my 7th grade civics class learning that my rights end where another persons start.

When a corporation consolidates too much power, it can abuse others rights. We have every right to defend ours and if that means ripping that corporation apart, so be it. It is protecting the rights of those individuals that work there as well. Not everyone will work for Google, Apple and the other big dogs forever.

We need to protect individual rights of everyone. Not just those that choose to organize. Petitioning the government for a redress of grievances is different than lobbying for more laws to favor your position of power.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (0)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39976475)

Unless a corporation is controlling the government, then a corporation generally can't do a thing to abuse your rights. It can't take your land, it can't physically harm you. It can't take your money unless you willingly give it. It can't make you work unless you willingly take a job, and then it can't stop you from quitting and finding a job somewhere else.

Only the government can do these things, and it is you who is proposing to use the government to do these things to the people who form the corporation.

We do need to reform our government. But we shouldn't begin that process by taking away people's rights. We should reform our government by trying to take away its power - by limiting it to its Constitutional roles and by voting for people who promise to reduce spending and corporate welfare (did you vote for McCain, one of the few presidential candidates with the guts to oppose ethanol subsidies?).

Right now the Tea Party is about the only group out there with any momentum that is trying to push these kinds of reforms. No wonder the big corporations that have the government in their pocket hate them so much and use their news media to try to trash their reputation.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39972983)

While I disagree with the "corporation is a person" argument, I do recognize that a corporation is an assembly of persons who should not be stripped of their consitutional rights simply because they get organized. In fact the US Constitution explicitly guarantees the right to assemble to petition the government.

A big part of the corporate personhood debate is whether a corporation has a right to anonymous speech. The 1st Amendment doesn't specifically cover anonymity, so the courts have to weigh the pros and cons of accepting anonymous speech as protected speech.

For individuals, a big benefit of anonymity is not having the Pinkertons come and beat the shit out of you for speaking your mind about labor laws. This societal benefit outweighs the societal costs of protecting anonymous speech (increase in slander, libel, and the general spreading of falsehoods)

When it comes to corporations, however, the balance shifts. I do not think the benefits of protecting anonymous corporate speech outweigh the costs.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39993603)

Google is only a corporation because the government GAVE them a license to incorporate. With any license comes restrictions on what can or can not be done"

While I disagree with the "corporation is a person" argument, I do recognize that a corporation is an assembly of persons who should not be stripped of their consitutional rights simply because they get organized. In fact the US Constitution explicitly guarantees the right to assemble to petition the government.

My biggest problem with that line of reasoning is that's not how a corporation is assembled. The people at the top have a larger voice than the janitor, assuming he has any voice at all. A corporation is NOT an assembly of like-minded people and allowing them to petition the government like they are creates a huge tragedy of allowing a few rich people to dictate policy.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39995605)

A corporation is NOT ALWAYS an assembly of like-minded people

FTFY. The EFF, the NRA, PETA... these organizations are, legally speaking, corporations. Does that mean I think Apple or Coke or other like corporations should have equal voice to the EFF, the NRA, and PETA? NO! Only that, under present conditions, you cannot automatically dismiss all corporations.

Though ideally, corporations such as the EFF, the NRA, and PETA should be distinguishable in such a way that they may exercise their constitutionally-protected right to peaceably assemble and petition the government, while corporations such as Apple and Coke do not get that same right.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39995827)

>>>a corporation is an assembly of persons who should not be stripped of their consitutional rights simply because they get organized

False.
Just because you take-away Google's ability to speak, or limit its special under "commercial speech" laws, does not affect the google employees inside the building. They are still free to go to their facebooks or web forums and speak all they desire. The human beings do not lose any of their rights.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39996411)

Here, you left this part off of your quote-mine.

In fact the US Constitution explicitly guarantees the right to assemble to petition the government.

The human beings do not lose any of their rights.

Until you can explain to us how me and a couple hundred others all gathering together, calling ourselves the Fruit Fuckers of America, and petitioning our government to not infringe on our right to fuck fruit, is somehow different from what the EFF, the NRA, the NAACP, or PETA do, then we must conclude that you support taking away our first amendment right to peaceably assemble and petition the government [slashdot.org] .

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970533)

The notion that an elected set of representatives would create a baseline secret test to check google's results is an excellent and needed one. a light weight check process could be easily designed and periodically launched to *measure* the results.

Really?
Gadaffi was elected, as was Mubarak, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Kim Jong-il, ...

If you don't like Google search results go use Bing or Baidu.

In the mean time, I prefer results that are algorithmically determined based on the words I enter rather than some politicians idea of what I should be searching for.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (3)

StarcraftWin (2630837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970591)

Google's results aren't algorithmically determined, they handpick them too. Algorithms themselves are also based on Google's and their engineers political agenda.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971057)

Google results are algorithmically determined.

Only after their algorithms detect spammers gaming the system are some tiny fraction flagged for human review. This work is farmed out to Leapforce. They have lately been crowd sourcing the spam nomination process by algorithmically mining personal block lists. This has done wonders for filtering out the content scraper sites that provide zero original information, and simply hang ads all over other people's pages.

Sites that do not employ Spammer tricks or page rank manipulation techniques never get selected for human review. The engineers have nothing to do with it. Political agenda? Please. What political topic does not appear in search results?

Further, Much of this is dictated by law. Are you suggesting Google should violate the law serve up child porn to you? Wouldn't you be one of the first in line screaming if Google ignored the laws that force them to restrict some results? You know you would.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (0)

samkass (174571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972443)

Google results are algorithmically determined.

...for everyone who's not Google. Google boosts their own services to the top and provides links and HTML5 implementations of services for search results that encourage the users to stay with Google instead of going to one of the sites that Google has indexed.

Besides, "algorithmically determined" doesn't mean unbiased. That's like saying "we used science so we're impartial!"

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39973111)

so of course they are going to encourage you to use there service instead of their competitor.

lets say you run a used Toyota lot would and people come to you wanting to buy a pickup are you going to recommend that they go talk to the Ford dealership down the road because they have a better pickup? hell no. you are going to recommend your truck and display all of its good points, why because you are trying to make a profit. that is what businesses do. If you as the costumer are trying to ask the dealership how there product compares to their competitor you are being foolish you need to go to a neutral third party say consumer reports and compare them.

Choose your censorship flavor please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39976255)

People want to hear a "there is no censorship" story but they actually want stff censored. It just forces censorship groups to hide. Since there will be censorship of "obvious" offenses, pedophiles, terror, drugs, weapons, personal data, etc, I think the debate is really about what censorship policies, controls, people, etc do we want. Who gets to be the censor, and how are they chosen?

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971311)

Google's results aren't algorithmically determined, they handpick them too. Algorithms themselves are also based on Google's and their engineers political agenda.

I can plainly see that your hatred for Google is strong.
You are correct though. Google should make sure that their search results are approved by governmental regulators in each of the countries in which they are presented. Only through careful governmental committee approval can we ever find real truth.

P.S.
You are an idiot.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971891)

Hi Bonch. New sockpuppet already?

You're correct, the algorithms are handpicked by engineers. So you think you'd rather have politician's pick the algorithm, than engineers who spent years researching the problem? And where there is a very straight-forward check on how much bias they can inject (any other search engine)?

As someone else already said: "You're a moron." And that's a statement of fact.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (2)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971597)

There is no need for the Government to do any such testing. People do this for free and much better. Remember when Bing came out and the huge amount of press it generated when you searched for "Microsoft Sucks" and Google showed at the top of the list? That was nothing to do with some secret Government group, that was a bunch of normal people testing the search engine's capabilities.

Look, I'm no fan of politicians, massive corporations, lobbyists, etc... Capitalism in this case is something that works very well without regulation to curb bad players. Take note, you probably can't get me to say that about any other type of business.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972045)

There is no need for the Government to do any such testing.

Exactly.
Google is already crowd sourcing this filtration of the algorithmically selected results. They are doing this in response to spammers and page rank manipulators that scrape content or links, drape it with ads and foist it into google search results via a monstrous network of links pointing to it.

Google added the Blocked Site Feature [google.com] which lets you add these sites to your personal block list. You can remove blocks either permanantly or turn off blocking temporarily for specific search sessions.

Then they algorithmically harvest everybody's block list, and potentially add those sites to another spam algorithm. Clearly if 50% of searchers add Obama's campaign site to their block list Google can't automatically block it. On the other hand, useless screen scraper sites that get blocked by .5% of searchers probably do get spam blocked. That's where the human review comes in.

On your Google.com Blocking preferences page: https://www.google.com/reviews/t [google.com] page it clearly states

Sites will be blocked only for you, but Google may use everyone's blocking information to improve the ranking of search results overall.

I block all the useless site scrapers I can find.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970543)

So... where, oh shill-who-just-made-an-account-to-post-this-the-second-the-story-came-up (hi bonch!), does Google say they are entitled to 1st amendment protections because they are a person? Hint: they don't, because the 1st amendment doesn't just apply to people, it applies to, well, everything, including corporations. It has nothing whatsoever to do with corporations being "people." Please, there is enough to bash Google on without having to drag in completely irrelevant stuff.

And if that person was "blocked" from publishing, clearly he made an agreement with Google that required their permission to publish: otherwise, they wouldn't be able to block it. Clearly, he shouldn't have, and I don't know why you would.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970617)

He may not be bonch this time, remember there are MS shills operating on here too.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970853)

I propose that here at /. we equate "bonch" with "shill" as new slang.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971229)

No, he outed himself again here [slashdot.org] . He's getting more sloppy these days.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971313)

LOL

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970661)

Its not like the entire fing country is livid about the Supreme Court holding that corporations are people - which makes zero sense.

The overwhelming majority of the country couldn't care less. Corporate personhood is a simple concept, and it's been used for almost 200 years.

Re:Google: "Corporation is a person"? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971381)

Its not like the entire fing country is livid about the Supreme Court holding that corporations are people - which makes zero sense.

The overwhelming majority of the country couldn't care less. Corporate personhood is a simple concept, and it's been used for almost 200 years.

200 years?

Way too conservative.

Its been around at least since Roman times [wikipedia.org] . The very word corporation essentially means "embodiment" and the concept has ancient long before the advent of the US Constitution or the Supreme Court.

Originally, corporations were granted protection only for the purposes of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment (Equal protection clause so that they could own property). Only minor tweaks have occurred over time, corporations have no 5th amendment rights, can't vote, hold office. There is no clear right to free speech either, although they can dispose of their property (money) for any legal purpose including donations to political campaigns.

No, but commercial speech is protected (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970727)

It is well-established that commercial speech is protected under the first amendment. There are limits to that protection--it is not as protected as core political speech by individuals--but it is protected.

Look up the Virginia Pharmacy Board case.

Re:Go fuck yourself (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970753)

Just pick a damn account and stick with it will you?

We already know you are fucking shill, it doesn't matter which username you use, your posts let us know it's you. We know you hate Google and you have a molded copy of Steve Jobs dick up your ass.

Goatse is more acceptable than your posts since that is at least based in reality.

Re:Go fuck yourself (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970989)

It's [slashdot.org] fifth [slashdot.org] account [slashdot.org] like [slashdot.org] this [slashdot.org] in less than 12 hours. It's like they want to DDoS the /. users table or something.

Also, check this out: two first [slashdot.org] posts [slashdot.org] with the same timestamp as this article from two fresh accounts.

Re:Go fuck yourself (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39973211)

have you ever considered that maybe multiple people happen to share the same opinion? and that just maybe those people could disagree with you

Google is largely moderated now (-1, Flamebait)

flakas (2637233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970349)

As people often note Google has a large problem with spam results, but saying that the search results are selected with honest algorithm made by engineers is just lying. Google now employes thousands of people who's job is to check search queries and the results they get [chaddo.com] . They either moderate down the sites they don't like or completely remove them. This already makes Google heavily biased, and on top of that their algorithms highly favor their own sites.

Of course, while the paper is published by "independent" source, Google has commissioned it for less than honest purposes:

Google commissioned the paper, presumably to help ward off calls [arstechnica.com] for government regulation of its search results.

As noted previously, Google has come under TONS of scrutiny from different governments and several U.S. government agencies. They have used their monopoly to illegally promote their own other services, all hidden behind the old "but it is just our algorithms at works!".

As Google is maintaining strict editorial process of the search queries, I think it would be good to hold them to responsibilities for them too. Google has shown that they can remove content from their service. Just like newspapers aren't allowed to show illegal things, Google should not be either. If Google has a problem with this, they need to stop manually deciding what's good for people and use an algorithm that is actually fair and isn't biased.

Re:Google is largely moderated now (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970589)

I don't have any problem with Google filtering out information that they think I was looking for. At worst I can refine my search to fix that. Very few persons do look for spam and search-stuffed sites that effectively are useless.

What I do have a problem with is if there are filters that denies me information since something is deemed indecent or not matching what the government think is good for me.

Re:Google is largely moderated now (1, Offtopic)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970607)

Dear Slashdotters with mod points: first, check when the OP posted compared to when the story was posted (the exact same freaking time, quite an accomplishment for such a lengthy post), and second check his post history (all of, at this time, 2 posts). He is a shill, same as the poster right above him.

Re:Google is largely moderated now (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970649)

How do you think you train a search algorithm? Ask magic fairies to do it for you?

Hint: You hire people to do editorial review of searches and train on that.

Where are they going with this? (-1, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970381)

This seems to weaken their "algorithmically neutral" defense against antitrust scrutiny [bloomberg.com] regarding the placement of Google services on the search results page. Perhaps they're testing the waters for abandoning that position in favor of this one, sidestepping antitrust charges entirely by citing free speech protection. I'm not sure governments would find that convincing, especially the EU. Honestly, if Google toned down the pushing of Google+ and other services in search results (or included clearly relevant results like Twitter and Facebook), they'd probably be in less hot water, but they seem to feel they have no other way to compete with social networking.

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970831)

I'm not sure it weakens it at all, it more less says that it's not relevant for people to try and regulate results. If you don't like Google's answer, you are free to use a different search engine. The power of the consumer in this case ensures that Google's developers are doing the right thing. If they don't, or skew results then 'Ask', or 'Bing' would gain usage and Google would lose market share.

You can't tell me that dozens of people a day are not doing search comparisons and reporting results to see who's being naughty and who's being nice.

Re:Where are they going with this? (0)

StarcraftWin (2630837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970917)

That's mostly beside the point. Google's customers aren't those who use it to search, they are their advertisers. Google has largely abused this position to shut down their competitors. On top of that they have abused their position to place their other services on better places than their competitors. This is the relevant part about Google's antitrust issues, not how easy it is for users to switch services. Google isn't a traditional consumer-seller business.

Re:Where are they going with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971053)

Forget to sign back in as bonch?

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971349)

Wrong person, try checking the history of the person that posts before being a troll AC

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971389)

He has many accounts. He created five today.

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971393)

He wasn't responding to you. There's a bonch sockpuppet post at -1 between your posts.

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971621)

Oh shit, never showed until just now and I've been spamming refresh on this thread. Apologies to those offended (except for Bonch).

Re:Where are they going with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971653)

Speaking of sockpuppets, why aren't all you people modded Off-Topic? It's suspicious how you guys always reply to each other. How many HarrySquatter/GameboyRMH/etc. shill conversations could there be by "coincidence"?

Re:Where are they going with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971687)

Well, with us being regulars probably a few.

You see us around, replying to your comments, why you can probably recognize me even though I am AC much like I recognize you.

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971899)

What's even more pathetic is when bonch tries to smear you [slashdot.org] by claiming you support pedo porn after pointing out his Google bashing is wrong.

Re:Where are they going with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39971409)

*whoosh*?

Re:Where are they going with this? (0)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971143)

I would call your delusional, but you appear to be paid to write the bullshit you do.

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971461)

Paid for writing on /.? Hardly, as with the AC why not check the history of the person posting before being an ass? Oh wait, that may take thought and it's much easier to troll right?

You think that the market does not propagate losers when it comes to spewing monopoly propaganda? What got Google off the ground was the mass of proprietary search engines from the prodigy days that said "our way or screw you". Google was faster, and returned relevant results. They also did it for much less money.

Now is your beef with Google really related to the search results or something like having adverts for their other services on the top of the page? Including of course more Google services. That is a very different argument and extremely complex.

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971525)

I take it you do not browse at -1?

This is whom I was responding to.

http://slashdot.org/~StarcraftWin [slashdot.org]

This post is what I was responding to.

http://search.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2844371&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&pid=39970831#39970917 [slashdot.org]

That's mostly beside the point. Google's customers aren't those who use it to search, they are their advertisers. Google has largely abused this position to shut down their competitors. On top of that they have abused their position to place their other services on better places than their competitors. This is the relevant part about Google's antitrust issues, not how easy it is for users to switch services. Google isn't a traditional consumer-seller business.

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971921)

Thanks, and apologies! I killed the browser and now things show as replies to that post instead of me. Very odd

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971529)

Did you look at their history? It's a shill account whose only posts have been in this thread to troll. Their very long first post shares the timestamp of the post hitting the front page. This is bonch's M.O.

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971789)

I don't browse at -1, but with that said generally replies to the -1 are normally hidden also. Not sure why, but their posts show a reply to me. I'll clear disk cache and reload the browser.

Re:Where are they going with this? (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971937)

It's cool. :-)

bonch, a pro-apple/ms, anti-google corporate shill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970943)

This is yet another first post with a pre-made piece of anti-google propaganda that the marketing company behind bonch continuously floods slashdot with.

If you don't like corporate shills manipulating discussions then mod down bonch and other sock puppet accounts controlled by teh same people. It's teh difference between reading honest discussions and being forced-fed marketing bullshit by corporations such as apple and microsoft.

See:
http://www.waggeneredstrom.com
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/pr_contacts.mspx

Re:bonch, a pro-apple/ms, anti-google corporate sh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40008189)

I'm glad to see HTC is using them too. It explains the pro-android messages here. Damn shills..

Re:Where are they going with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970981)

Barloroth really thinks you're damn busy today there, bonch... see post above [slashdot.org] ...

First amendment protection for frist psots! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970403)

Niggers, niggers, niggers. I haaaaaaate niggers!

This frist pst is protected by the first amendment!

Not just the results... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39970501)

The search terms themselves should also be protected, no?

Stupid (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970509)

Once a search engine becomes any more advanced than the grep tool, there are algorithms involved to quantify relevance that make the results subjective.

It's also worth considering that the primary cause of censored search results in the world is DMCA takedown notices.

Googled (3, Funny)

rockbottoms (1393173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970695)

I just searched "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Am I ok?

Re:Googled (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972537)

Probably not, the light from your iPhone is going to piss someone off. You might go home bloodied.

What did you expect from Volokh? (2)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970779)

He seems to think that pretty much all expression should have First Amendment protection. It's almost as if he takes that "inalienable rights" and "Congress shall make no law" stuff seriously.

Re:What did you expect from Volokh? (1)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970945)

It's almost as if he takes that "inalienable rights" and "Congress shall make no law" stuff seriously.

You should ignore him then. He's probably one of those Tea Party whackos.


(almost forgot to mention, that was sarcasm)

Re:What did you expect from Volokh? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971209)

Surely you realize that "Congress shall make no law" is open to interpretation -- "no" obviously means "no, except when doing so will protect those who are in power."

That language was so ambiguous (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971831)

"Congress shall make no law"

"Shall not be infringed"

"The accused shall enjoy the right"

Mere suggestions, to be ignored at the convencience of the state.

Re:What did you expect from Volokh? (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972173)

The problem with this, as I see it, is that it cuts both ways. If search results imply that Glen Beck did something unsavory to a young girl in 1990, Google could find that they have to clean up those results as soon as someone complains about it. Even more so for autocomplete suggestions. This is an awkward and dangerous path for Google to try and walk. I really think they're better off by washing their hands of any editiorial culpability and hiding behind the shield of "proceedurally generated content".

Still, I really hope that Mr. Volokh gets nominated to the Supreme Court some day. There are some other members of the Volokh Conspiracy that I'd be happy to see on the court as well.

Re:What did you expect from Volokh? (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39995953)

He seems to think that pretty much all expression should have First Amendment protection. It's almost as if he takes that "inalienable rights" and "Congress shall make no law" stuff seriously.

Please correct me if I am wrong but my understanding is that it was never the case where "pretty much all expression" had First Amendment protection.

Several of examples off the top of my head are:
- Soliciting a crime
- Death threats and other forms of coercion
- Perjury
- Slander and libel

They get it both ways (3, Insightful)

swm (171547) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970795)

I wonder if Google appreciates that it will now have to confront people who are angry about their search rankings by saying, "I'm sorry, we just don't like you very much" instead of "I'm sorry, our equations put you where you belong." And oy, the libel headaches they're going to face.

Actually, they get it both ways.

If it is protected speech, then the gov't can't shut them down.

But when someone sues them for libel (or the like), they can equally claim that their search results are their opinion, which they are entitled to express, and not facts, which could be subject to dispute. As it happens, there has already been a case just like that. In their response, Google said something along the lines of

If plaintiff believes that there is some objective attribute of a web page called "page rank", then he is free to build his own search engine and report that attribute as he sees fit.

In that case, Google prevailed.

Re:They get it both ways (1)

flonker (526111) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971373)

From the perspective of the article, the only facts that Google is reporting are that the web page exists, and some content of the page. The "opinion" is the page rank, the choice in which content from the page is displayed, and the association of the page to certain keywords.

Libel is a written defamatory statement, expressly stated or implied to be factual. Truth and opinions are not actionable. One possible catch for Google is a court finding that Google implies that the pages in the results are factual. A larger problem for them is that the law isn't the same in every country, so protected speech in one country may be illegal in another.

Google Suggest (2)

killbill! (154539) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970891)

This piece may be a reaction to the "Google Suggest" lawsuits in France.

Google has been sued several times in France because of Google Suggest.
1. Google your name. If you're actually a crook, Google Suggest results will expose you as such.
2. Sue Google for defamation.
3. Profit!

French courts have repeatedly sided against Google and with the crooks, err victims.
Which shows how much such a provision is needed.

Re:Google Suggest (2)

killbill! (154539) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971003)

Latest case: Google sued (successfully) for having the gall to report a few celebrities of Jewish origin to be actually Jewish!

http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/05/french-group-sues-because-google-suggest-thinks-jon-hamm-is-jewish/

It's a product review ranking system (2)

seanzig (834642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39970969)

I don't see how it's any different than Consumer Reports, JD Power, etc. that do reviews of products. Sure, there are companies that might object to the final results and rankings especially when they have crappy products, but the bottom line is that these product review are protected by their authors' First Amendment rights. The only time libel might be involved is if they produced reviews without any factual basis. Google does have a factual basis for their search results - their ranking algorithms, which attempt to figure out for what a person is truly searching. And it's in there best interest to keep it that way, else people move on to another search engine.

Re:It's a product review ranking system (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39971639)

Please do not associate Consumer Reports/Consumers Union with JD Powers. The former is a non-profit organization which doesn't even take freebies for the products they review. They go buy it themselves anonymously.

And the latter, JD Powers & Associates, is a for-profit company and a paid shill, that will design survey questions/results in a such a way that the company paying them will always be coming out on top. And of course, their revenues comes mostly from the actual companies of the products they've reviewed, in either the form of payments for the actual detailed data they've gathered, or in the form of licensing deals where the company receiving their awards pays them for mentioning their public endorsement in their advertisements.

Re:It's a product review ranking system (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39972003)

OT: Sadly in the tech world there are very few honest reviewers any more. Tom's hardware used to be, but fell prey to loads of cash from Intel and MS. Now you can pay them and gift them to tell you turds are the next great quantum computer.

Tag (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39977217)

This was my idea. I'm glad it bore fruit.
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