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Google Under Fire Over Racist Blogs 567 567

Posted by samzenpus
from the dreamtime-racism dept.
AcidAUS writes "Google is being accused of refusing to remove racist blogs targeting minority groups in Australia. Google, whose corporate motto is "don't be evil", says it will take the blogs in question offline only if ordered to do so by a court."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Under Fire Over Racist Blogs

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  • by tverbeek (457094) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @07:52AM (#16591264) Homepage
    The question is which is the greater evil: racist speech or censorship? The evil of racist speech can be effectively countered with anti-racist speech, but the evil of censorship can't be easily repaired.
    • by localoptimum (993261) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:00AM (#16591334)
      I totally agree with this comment. I'd rather listen to/read a different perspective, albeit completely orthogonal to my own views, than see a suppression of the freedom of expression (especially in the f***ing internet).
      • by Jessta (666101) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:19AM (#16591524) Homepage
        Yeah, Let the idiots have their blogs.
        The great thing about the internet is that, to be offended by something on the internet you actually have to intentionally search for it.
        • by indifferent children (842621) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:31AM (#16591674)
          How would you like to be Google? You cave in to the legal (not 'good', but legal) demands of the Chinese government to censor content, and you get slammed. You refuse to censor blogs in Australia, you get slammed. Maybe they need to add a line to their mission statement, "Don't be neutral."

          (Insert Zapf Brannigan quote here).

          • by mgblst (80109) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:40AM (#16591790) Homepage
            OK, everybody else doesn't want to be google, I will be google.

            This is what happens with every slightly complex issue, there are always two sides to an issue. Governments get this all the time. Reducing taxes is good and bad. Invading Iraq is good and bad (ok, mainly bad). Even at a personal level - buying a new car is good and bad, having a baby is good and bad. We all need to weigh up the benefits, and you will probably be critised no matter you do.
            • by Smidge204 (605297) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @09:30AM (#16592402) Journal
              Sorry for going slightly offtopic but the whole "two tone vision" thing bugs the hell outta me. Nothing is ever as simple as "good or bad."

              There are as many ways to look at a problem as there are people looking at it. If you find anyone who agrees 100% with another person on some issue, then that person has obviously not bothered to think about it for themselves.

              There are never "two sides" to an issue. If you were to represent any social/political/economic issue as a 2D geometry, the best example would be a circle not a line.
              =Smidge=
              • by kent_eh (543303) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @09:43AM (#16592568)
                Sorry for going slightly offtopic but the whole "two tone vision" thing bugs the hell outta me. Nothing is ever as simple as "good or bad." There are as many ways to look at a problem as there are people looking at it. If you find anyone who agrees 100% with another person on some issue, then that person has obviously not bothered to think about it for themselves. There are never "two sides" to an issue. If you were to represent any social/political/economic issue as a 2D geometry, the best example would be a circle not a line.
                Someone give this guy a +5 insightful.

                I get sooo frustrated with the "the only way for me to be right is for you to be wrong" binary thinking cop-out. No question always demands an absolute yes or no answer.
                We have an analog computer between our ears. The answer can be "maybe, sometimes, sort-of, or with added caveats".
                </rant>
                • by critter_hunter (568942) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <retnuh_rettirc>> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @10:35AM (#16593272)
                  Nice irony there. You get frustrated ... because you're right to see things in shades of gray and they're wrong to see things in black and white? Nice binary thinking mr analog!
              • by Dread_ed (260158) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @12:47PM (#16595600) Homepage
                Show me even "two sides" of genocide, or homophobically motivated violence, racial prejudice, or slavery, much less this circle plot you refer to.

                I won't apologize for stating that there are some things that I put in the category of "right" or "wrong" and I won't accept some high minded excuse for not making a value judgement and sticking to it. Principles can be as clear as black and white, even though the whole world may dissent.

                Sure gray has a place. There are many complex issues (most of them) that deserve a gray/in-between rating. However to deny that some things are strictly wrong or inherently right invalidates the whole idea of value judgement and evaluation on a moral basis. If that is invalidated just go with what feels good and what profits you most, with every other concern to be damned.
                • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:35PM (#16598926) Homepage
                  Show me even "two sides" of genocide, or homophobically motivated violence, racial prejudice, or slavery, much less this circle plot you refer to.

                  Genocide: Frees up resources, eliminates political opposition. Can bring great personal fame to a leader. Can lead to outside investments and attention to an otherwise ignored region.

                  Homophobic Violence: Discourages homosexuals to publicly state orientation, thus marginalizing their influence on society. Can bring great personal fame to perpetrator. Creates incentive for homosexuals to continue living in dishonest marriages/families, which may be beneficial to the family.

                  Racial Prejudice: Promotes self-esteem and stronger community in each racial group. Can be used to justify unfair treatment of others, which brings financial and social advantages to yourself and your group.

                  Slavery: Provides low-cost labor force. Creates trade and political connections between regions that otherwise would be separate.

                  If there weren't another side to these problems, they wouldn't still exist as problems. And if you refuse to understand the other side and simply write them off as evil, you'll never eliminate the problem, another person will come along and create it all over again because the benefits are still there.
          • by varmittang (849469) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:49AM (#16591912)
            Zapf Brannigan quote inserted

            Zap: "So, a neutral plot to assasinate a weird looking alien with scissors... But rock crushes scissors! But wait... Paper covers Rock! Kif?"
            Kif: "mugghh"
            Zap: "We have a conundrum. Search them for paper... And, bring me a rock."
          • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:52AM (#16591958) Homepage Journal
            If the article is correct and the blogs themselves are breaking the terms, then shouldn't google close them down?
            Does it matter whether somebody is a serial telltale with an agenda or not if the end result is the same?
      • by mjjw (560868) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:22AM (#16591552)
        Google are damned if they do and damned if they don't. They are evil for supporting racism or evil for censoring free speech.

        Conversley their PR machine can say they are supporting free speech or acting against racism. Ultimately they are in a no-win situation and choosing to let the courts decide is (IMHO) probably the least damaging route.

        • by deficite (977718) <joshtaylor.mail@gmail.com> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:35AM (#16591714)
          "The act of censorship is always worse than whatever is being censored." - Chandon Seldon
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by CheshireCatCO (185193)
            Ah, but: "A witty saying proves nothing." -- Voltaire.

            I think most will agree that the real world cannot be boiled down to such absolute statements. There are certainly times and places where censorship is a lesser evil than what it's meant to prevent. However, we all probably agree that those times are few and far between and probably agree that this case is not one of them. But I for one would not over-generalize from this.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by hemorex (1013427)
          Google hosting a blog does not imply that Google condones the content of the blog.
      • by Malfourmed (633699) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:52AM (#16591960) Homepage
        In principle I agree, however the situation can get murky.

        For instance, from the article:
        The blog posts photographs and full names of anti-racism activists from Australia and New Zealand, in effect making this information available to those who wish to do these activists physical harm.
        and a different site contains:
        numerous posts that include photos, street addresses and even phone numbers of various [anti racism] activists.

        Not quite crossing the line perhaps ... but if not, then getting dangerously close.

        And it's not like Stokes, the anti-racism activist, doesn't see the opposing view:
        "I think what Google intends is not to restrict people's freedom of speech," Mr Stokes said. "But we're talking about bashing up brown people and defaming them. This isn't politics, this is terrorism."


        And, finally two points also worth mentioning. Firstly the blogs may be in contravention of the blog providers' terms of service:
        Both blogs appear to violate Blogger's user agreement, particularly Red Watch NZ.

        and secondly, they may also be illegal under Australian law:
        "The Racial Discrimination Act [federal legislation] and Anti-Discrimination Act [state legislation] both prohibit racial vilification. It doesn't make that a criminal offence, but it does make it unlawful for a person to do an act which is reasonably likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group. As long as that act is done because of the person's race..."


        So at what point does the expression of a "different perspective" become an incitement to violence or intimidation?
    • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:03AM (#16591354)
      Exactly and starting censorshop is a slippery slope - where do you stop? Almost every country, individual or group will have something that they take offense to. You can't please everybody and trying to do so is only going to cause a problem to pop up somewhere else
      Oblig. joke: And I for one welcome our Google non-censoring overlords.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aka.Daniel'Z (586849)
      Just a point to keep in mind: that could be the case, until someone goes out there and kills a member of one of those minority groups, motivated by racist speech. Then it can't be repaired at all - can't bring them back.
      • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:14AM (#16591472)

        Right! Exactly why we should ban violent video games! Oh, wait... no, we should ban murder.

        By the way, in the US - which is just about as liberal as it gets when it comes to free speech - you are allowed to say anything you want about a group, but you are never allowed to call for violence. For instance, you can say "White people are evil and stupid." You cannot say, "Everyone go out and kill a white man." I used white people because I'm white :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Maelwryth (982896)

          "I used white people because I'm white :)"


          And you used man because you are a woman.......on /.?


          Seriously though, you probably used white because you have been made to feel guilty for something you never did to people who are no longer alive. Isn't the media wonderful!
        • by amliebsch (724858) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @11:02AM (#16593738) Journal

          You cannot say, "Everyone go out and kill a white man."

          You are incorrect. You certainly CAN say "Everyone go out and kill a white man," and even mean it 100%, so long as your saying does not create an imminent danger and is likely to do so. (This was settled in Brandenburg v. Ohio.) So, saying it to an angry mob of radicals who you expect to follow your orders - probably not OK. Giving orders to a criminal enterprise - not OK. But saying it as your opinion in a speech, editorial, or yes, on the internet - that is your right as a free man.

      • by malsdavis (542216) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:28AM (#16591622)
        Shouldn't we therefore ban cars as well?

        They kill over 40,000 people and leave hundreds of thousands with permanent disabilities every year in the USA alone! Kind of puts the relatively few racist, paedophilic and even terrorist murders into perspective.

        At the end of the day though I think it's only the freaks who commit such acts who should be punished not whatever they claimed "motivated" them or else we'd see everything being eventually banned. For example: sometimes computers just piss me off (and I'm sure millions of others) so much I could kill! ...so ban computers?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vexorian (959249)

        Isn't that kind of retarded? Do you really think that the only reason that person needs to kill someone is racist speech? If so, wouldn't him be some kind of psycho? In that case he would end up killing anyways.

        I am a member of an often targeted race myself, but I'd rather let racist blogs exist than put free speech on peril, it is easy to screw freedom of speech starting with 'good intentions'. I am afraid that people who think they got the right not to ever be offended are the biggest danger to freedom

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by freedom_india (780002)
      Are U crazy? The evil of censorship can be easily countered: There is NO evil in censorship according to our esteemed Attorney General. The COPA is meant to save the children and if it results in censorship so be it.

      I read in the book Presidential Anectodes an incident about a US president and a European Prince visiting the prez: The papers, especially one specific editor was vitriolic about his anger and spewed venom in his paper against the Prez (venom that today would land him straight in Gitmo). The E
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aussie_a (778472)
        Atleast Google is standing up....
        No they're not. All they're saying is "we aren't going to do it because some random person tells us to do it. We want the government to tell us to do it." How is that standing up against anything within your post (which is about censorship by the government, not voluntary censorship).
    • by hey! (33014) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:14AM (#16591450) Homepage Journal
      John Stuart Mill would argue that even wrong ideas serve an important purpose. Unless the truth is challenged, it becomes empty doctrine.

      I think the recent history of the Balkans show this. Yugoslavia was unified, but on a superficial level. As soon as the force of censorship was removed, the country flew apart.

      This is precisely why hate speech is valuable. It forces us to confront ugly ideas. While this makes us uncomfortable, it also makes us stronger.
      • by aussie_a (778472)
        This is precisely why hate speech is valuable. It forces us to confront ugly ideas. While this makes us uncomfortable, it also makes us stronger.
        Unless you're from Yugoslavia :P
    • by smoker2 (750216)
      The evil of racist speech can be effectively countered with anti-racist speech, but the evil of censorship can't be easily repaired.
      Score -1 Glib

      Good luck at the next Nazi boot boy rally.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by testadicazzo (567430)

      This is a no brainer in my book, but apparently not in everyones. Making it difficult or illegal to discuss racisim certainly doesn't remove it.

      The best strategy is to create an environment where being a racist is 'uncool' (for lack of a better word). This is one arena where the rest of world can, I think, learn quite a bit from the United States. Although the U.S. still has a huge racial problem, it has improved vastly since 1950. Maybe it's getting worse again under the new administration, I don't

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I know different countries have differing attitudes toward freedom of speech issues and the fomenting of violence (racial or otherwise).

    But I have to admit, if you take out uncovered meat and place it outside, without cover, and the cats come to eat it -- then whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat's? This case is no different.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "But I have to admit, if you take out uncovered meat and place it outside, without cover, and the cats come to eat it -- then whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat's? This case is no different."

      Uh.. You can get uhm.. a good look at a steak by sticking your head up the butcher's ass.. er no, that's not it. The bull's ass. No, er...
    • by fabs64 (657132)
      hehe, geez i wish i had mod points for funny atm. +1 for current-affairs reference
    • by sbrown123 (229895)
      then whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat's?

      Definitely it's the meats fault. ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222)
      The alternative is to have the hate groups operate completely underground, or using euphemisms in their writings. Then there is no opportunity to debate their beliefs - no chance to counter their message.
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      I find it disgusting that you've been modded Insightful. Bravo.
    • Explained (Score:5, Informative)

      by brian.glanz (849625) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:48AM (#16591900) Homepage Journal

      For all the non-Australians with no idea where the uncovered meat reference came from, an Australian sheikh has just managed to more or less publicly blame scantily clad women for inviting rape [abc.net.au], causing an uproar there. Condemnation has been quick; John Major already chimed in to call the comments "preposterous."

      Having said that, Google has said content would need to be illegal, e.g. spam related [blogger.com] before they would actually remove it. Anyone else read this and hear echoes of user 606117 writing yesterday, "Don't come to Australia" [slashdot.org]?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by garyok (218493)

      But I have to admit, if you take out uncovered meat and place it outside, without cover, and the cats come to eat it -- then whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat's? This case is no different.

      Ideas aren't meat and sentient, thoughtful humans aren't instinctive predatory felines. Total bloody nonsense. Reasoning by analogy is the sort of bollocks that kept western civilisation in the Dark Ages. It's intellectually bankrupt posturing that can lead to the most specious arguments appearing to h

  • by gd23ka (324741) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @07:53AM (#16591270) Homepage
    Let's have the courts sort it out and not the providersm carriers etc.
    • Exactly. According to the article, the people who want this material removed seem to be just in the preliminary stages of that process. And that's fine--there is no harm in politely asking Google to remove the content first.

      If the jurisdictional issue of "Where are the Google Blogger servers?" is decided, and those people get a court order demanding the removal of the content, then and only then should Google comply.
      • by mikerich (120257)
        As the article points out, some of the postings appear to be in violation of Google's own policies; which include: "Member agrees not to transmit through the Service any unlawful, harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, or harmful material of any kind or nature. Member further agrees not to transmit any material that encourages conduct that could constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any applicable local, state, national or international law or regulation."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 26, 2006 @07:54AM (#16591274)
    People can either decide for themselves what they want to believe or have someone else decide for them what they should read. I'd rather decide for myself and tolerate some hate blogs than have my internet censored, thank you very much.
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      I'd rather decide for myself and tolerate some hate blogs than have my internet censored, thank you very much.
      Then Google isn't your friend because they'll aid and abet any government that seeks to censor the internet, if the money is right.
  • Easily Solved (Score:3, Insightful)

    by taff^2 (188189) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @07:56AM (#16591306)
    If you don't want to read Racist blogs, don't google for them.

    The best form of censorship is self-censorship.
    • On a place like the Internet, that's totally true. But how about when racism is shown on TV? Is censorship ok then?

      On the internet, it's very easy to only see what you want to see. There's enough content to satisfy anyone, without having to risk stumbling onto someones hate-site.

      It's a tricky problem. Is censorship worse or better than racism and hate?
  • Subject (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 19061969 (939279) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @07:56AM (#16591314)
    Google: "We host blogs"
    World: "Some are racist - you're evil!"
    Google: "We won't remove them unless a court tells us"
    World: "You're letting them stay? You're evil!"
    Google: "Okay, we'll take them down."
    World: "Infringing freedom of speech like in China, eh? You're evil!"
    Google: "Okay, we won't take them down."
    World: "But they're racist. You're evil!"
    Google: "Okay, we'll wait for a review by a court."
    World: "So you're condoning racism? You're evil!"

    Sometimes even I feel for corporations...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aussie_a (778472)

      Sometimes even I feel for corporations...

      I don't. Google has shown time and again that their motto should truly be "Do no illegal activities" rather then "Do no evil." Although there's no pleasing everyone in this case, they are backing their "do nothing illegal" policy, rather then a "do no evil" one. After all if they sought to do no evil either they would leave the blogs online no matter what, or they would remove them no matter what. At the moment they're just doing as little as they're legally obligate

      • That is rediculous. How do you want to objectively define "evil" if not by the law? Do you have a revolutionary, unambiguous, objective measurement of "evil"?
        • Re:Subject (Score:4, Interesting)

          by aussie_a (778472) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:18AM (#16591510) Journal
          How do you want to objectively define "evil" if not by the law?
          How I define it isn't important. What is important is what those who made the motto "official" (is it?) and set their other policies by it feel is and isn't evil. Now if they think following the law at all times is "doing no evil" that's fine. At least they're not hypocritical (hardly a revolutionary ideal though for a business, although yes many do manage to break the law) and are consistent within their own morals. However I'd personally find such people's morals reprehensible as it would mean that they would have no problem turning Jews into the Nazis that ran Germany in the 1940s, but hey. At least they would be acting moral by their own morals.

          IMO if "do no evil" is to be more then a clevert piece of marketting it does need to mean more then "do nothing illegal" and does need the owners of Google to enforce it regardless of the law.
        • by giorgiofr (887762)
          Yes, I have one. It's not revolutionary. It's called freedom. Let the bloggers do as they like. This is Not Evil(tm). It is not ambiguous: any intervention is evil. It is objective: any intervention is evil.
          Then again I agree that, if we look at their action, their motto should indeed be Do Nothing Illegal. That's fine and all, they can do as they please with their own company. But there *is* a way to define "evil" when it comes to freedom of speech-related things.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by asliarun (636603)
        "if they sought to do no evil either they would leave the blogs online no matter what"

        You are now defining "evil" by your own standards. Even in the same society, a traditional hacker's ethos and value system is very different from that of an ordinary person or even a new-age hacker. Furthermore, different people, societies, and countries have their own concept of evil/moral or good/bad.

        The only realistic way in today's world for a Google to retain its "integrity" is to do exactly what it is currently doing
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Sometimes even I feel for corporations...
      "You're Evil!"
  • by endemoniada (744727) <(nathaniel) (at) (endemoniada.org)> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @07:59AM (#16591326) Homepage
    They would be if they were to remove blogs just because someone finds them offensive. The only difference now is the amount of people finding the matter offensive, but that shouldn't really make a difference. Censorship should be taken very seriously, and I don't find that yelling "RACISM!!!" at the top of your lungs is really grounds for censorship.

    It's true that racist blogs and propaganda do alot of harm, and in a perfect world there wouldn't be racism at all. But to take away someones free speech 'just because' is equally bad.

    It's like someone once said:
    "I don't like what you say, but I'll fight for your right to say it!"
    • by repvik (96666)
      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" -- Voltaire
  • be consistent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wmeyer (17620) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:01AM (#16591338)
    You cannot, on the one hand, take Google to task for caving to the demands for censorship by the Chinese, and on the other, for their failing to cave in to pressure to remove blogs.

    While their failure to take a stand in China is questionable, their refusal to remove blogs is on much more solid ground. As has been said, racist hate speech can be countered, but censorship is just simply evil. And worse, were they to indulge in censorship in the free world, there would be no end to the reasons people would demand more of the same.
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      You cannot, on the one hand, take Google to task for caving to the demands for censorship by the Chinese, and on the other, for their failing to cave in to pressure to remove blogs.
      I don't see anyone at Slashdot (except possibly AcidAUS) taking Google to task for failing to cave in to pressure to remove blogs. Now sure, those doing the pressuring are. But who knows what they believe when it comes to Chinese censorship and Google.
  • A price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:02AM (#16591344)
    The price of freedom of speech is the unfortunate ability to be surrounded by stupidity.
  • Good for Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ParraCida (1018494) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:03AM (#16591362)
    It's a good thing that google is not removing racist blogs. Fact is that any content, is highly subjective. If you start removing something because a certain party finds it offensive, you might as well blank the entire internet. Yeah it's a shame that such measures also include things like racism, but that is in my opinion a small price to pay for the greater value of free speech on the internet.
  • Public hate speech has no more protection under freedom of speech laws (or their analogue) than shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater. That is, if what you are saying is designed to forcibly infringe upon the rights of others, it should not be guarded. However, these weblogs are not similar to the aforementioned example in that nobody is being unwillfully subjected to their messages. Is that definitive enough to determine that these weblogs should not be removed?

  • I agree with Chomsky (Score:5, Interesting)

    by farker haiku (883529) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:17AM (#16591494) Journal
    Just like in the Faurisson affair [wikipedia.org], where Chomsky wrote the following:

    Faurisson's conclusions are diametrically opposed to views I hold and have frequently expressed in print (for example, in my book Peace in the Middle East, where I describe the Holocaust as "the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history"). But it is elementary that freedom of expression (including academic freedom) is not to be restricted to views of which one approves, and that it is precisely in the case of views that are almost universally despised and condemned that this right must be most vigorously defended. It is easy enough to defend those who need no defense or to join in unanimous (and often justified) condemnation of a violation of civil rights by some official enemy.

    Google is right, submitter is wrong for attempting to start a flame war. 'Nuff said.
    • Chomsky? Linkavich Chomsky? [cinematical.com]

      Either way, I would take the freedom of someone saying the most racist hurtful things on the planet to me directly over censorship any day. Google is right. The funny part is they've got more balls to do what's right regarding freedom of speech than the US government these days.
  • Whiners. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:22AM (#16591544)
    "Blogger is absolutely insensitive to complaints about racist and neo-Nazi content," said Brian Stokes, co-founder of FightDemBack!, a group that monitors the activities of racists, fascists and other such offenders operating in Australia and New Zealand.


    This is the Internet, not a damn kindergarten. People are going to say things you don't like, and you can't stop them. Live with it. If they show up at your front door or start harassing you, there are already laws to handle that.

    I hope Google doesn't back down. I figure they'll just move the blogs to a server in the US (assuming they're in AU) if challenged in court, though.
  • Don't you know a blog on which you can see new racist posts every day and that might suffer if anyone could force a blog to be closed because he dislikes what he saw on it.
    hint: I'm posting on it right now.
  • by Antifuse (651387) <[slashdot] [at] [ryanwaddell.com]> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:33AM (#16591696) Homepage
    "Google caves in to pressure in Australia, evilly censors blogs. So much for that 'don't be evil' motto, guys!"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm quite interested in the differing definitions of 'hate speech'. In my experience they all appear to come down, in the end, to the person's (not me, the other person's) mind-readership of the thoughts and intentions that was behind the statement, which in practice makes it impossible for me to spot hate-speech since I obviously do not have the same thought-radar.

    How about this statement:

    'I'm not sure what's the better description - that Lebanese are assholes, or that Lebanon is the assy country and Leban
  • Google has long history of removing sites [searchengineguide.com] it considers different from what the majority of its workers think. Since it is a non-US government entitiy it sure has the right to do that; and yes censorship is not the correct word for this subject.
    Since google does it already, when its works want to promote a certain way of thinking, what is really wrong with its customers trying to force them, ie protest, that they think the company should do something they want, and if they can get enough support probably f
  • by drac0n1z (824583) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:38AM (#16591768)
    It is the job of the courts to decide what is racist. I live in South-Africa and it is racist to call someone a "kaffer" but not racist to call someone a "boer". I'm offended when a black person calls me a boer since most of the time its said in a derogatory manner, but most people in South-Africa, which are black, will deny that they can even be racist because they black. Racism is subjective and Google's opinion is not nessarily that of the majority or correct.
  • Shame on Google. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:45AM (#16591848) Journal
    <sarcasm>Standing up for freedom of speech. Who do they think they are? Don't they know that it is evil to give people a forum for unpopular opinions? Next thing you know, they will be refusing to hand over people's identifying data!</sarcasm>

    See the problem most people have with freedom of speech is not that it applies to them, but rather that it applies to people with ideas they dispise.

    You can not limit speech to just speech you like and/or agree with and still say you have freedom of speech.
  • "don't be evil" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AviLazar (741826) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @09:03AM (#16592076) Journal
    You know, I am getting tired of people throwing the "don't be evil" phrase in their face all the time. It is old, tiring, and played out so many times in the wrong way.

    I don't like racism, but in our country -and google is based in our country- our laws let people spew whatever trash they want to trash as long as it doesn't cause harm....and while racism may infuriate me, and hurt people's feelings - it does not cause actual harm (yes someone will argue it teaches young people to do stupid things, but the harm came from the young kids).

    All in all, Google is correct for letting people have their free speech.
  • Read the article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @09:13AM (#16592184) Homepage Journal
    Read the article, including short description of Google policy [blogger.com] on that matter referenced therein.

    While the article states:

    Mr Stokes said his group had reported numerous discriminatory Blogger journals to Google, both through the "flag" [blogger.com] button that appears on each blog and through an email form that Mr Stokes said was "buried in their site, very hard to find".
    the referenced "flag" article on Google does not mention anything about "removal" of questionable blogs in the case of hate speech. The only actions Google might take are:

    The "Flag?" button is a means by which readers of Blog*Spot can help inform us about potentially questionable content, so we can prevent others from encountering such material by setting particular blogs as "unlisted." This means the blog won't be promoted on Blogger.com but will still be available on the web -- we prefer to keep in mind that one person's vulgarity is another's poetry. Or something like that.

    and

    When the community has voted and hate speech is identified on BlogSpot, Google may exercise its right to place a Content Warning page in front of the blog and set it to "unlisted."

    Indeed, there is a "removal" clause:

    For more serious cases, such as spam blogs or sites engaging in illegal activity, we will continue to enforce our existing policies (removing content and deleting accounts when necessary).

    but it applies only to the activities I put in "bold". Prove that the blogs are engaged in "illegal" activities in court, not by appealing to Google, and Google surely will obey the order of the judge. The problem is of course that this is international matter, but this is a general problem for all Internet activities.
  • by mrjb (547783) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @09:34AM (#16592452)
    Aside from the fact that I get a bit tired of the internet being blamed for social problems, whereas in reality it only makes them more visible.

    I basically see two options:

    - Censorship. Take offline the racist hate speech, forcing said racists to continue their business underground. However it continues to exist.

    OR

    - Let the racists (and everyone else) ventilate their hate speech. It only makes them more visible. Which makes the problem so much simpler to solve than if they remain underground. At some point they will say something punishable by law, at which point they can be arrested.

    Google obviously once again faces a situation where it has to choose between the lesser of two evils.

    I feel racism is also largely solved by educating and creating understanding between groups. I propose a third option, the opposite of censorship - Adding a warning to certain pages rather than taking them offline:

    "Warning- Racist content. This page contains racist statements. Before accepting these statements, consider the primitive state that your country would be in without worldwide cooperation between countries and cultures."
  • by J.R. Random (801334) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @10:41AM (#16593374)

    From the evil, racist Australian blog:

    "We ... hope to preserve and defend our heritage, culture, customs, traditions, morals, and values, as well as our blood itself, against hostile alien elements that are destructive to who we are and we as a race hold dear."

    That was written by a white man. Had it been written by an Australian aborigine, it would be a civil rights web site.

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