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two headlines from the "keep an eye on censorship" department

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  • two headlines from the "keep an eye on censorship" department

    did anyone catch these two news stories recently?

    Rewriting history under the dome
    Online encyclopedia allows anyone to edit entries,
    and congressional staffers do just that to bosses' bios
    The staff of U.S. Rep Marty Meehan wiped out references to his broken term-limits pledge as well as information about his huge campaign war chest in an independent biography of the Lowell Democrat on [Wikipedia]. ... Matt Vogel, Meehan's chief of staff, said he authorized an intern in July to replace existing Wikipedia content with a staff-written biography of the lawmaker. The change deleted a reference to Meehan's campaign promise to surrender his seat after serving eight years, a pledge Meehan later eschewed. It also deleted a reference to the size of Meehan's campaign account, the largest of any House member at $4.8 million, according to the latest data available from the Federal Election Commission.
    Google pulls 'we don't censor' statement
    Google's support centre has pulled an answer to the topical question "Does Google censor search results?" Since the answer clearly stated the company "does not censor results for any search term", and given the company's recent foray into the lucrative Chinese search engine market, it seems fair that the internet monolith would probably want to review that particular stance and relegate the offending item to cache. ... Democracy is not a word you want to be flashing about when you've just opened a big fat Yuan bank account.
    we so often marvel at how the internet and other facets of this era make the exchange of information that much easier... sadly, many don't consider as often all of the ways that these same technologies mask censorship and make it harder to notice. thank god there's still some semblance of investigative press left in the world.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    Well, when you're extending your business into China, then censorship will definitely become an issue. For the most part I commend Google for so far doing the best job of making the world's information accessible to all (I can see a future where we have electronic information directories all over cities, all with the name "Google" on them), and at the very least they're fighting the order to hand over their search records.

    As for Wikipedia, can't the article just be restored to its previous form? That would be hard to explain in an edit summary.

    EDITED BY: MattVogel
    EDIT SUMMARY: To make my boss look better.
    One Nation Under Surveillance
    "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength."


    • #3
      Originally posted by Samurai Drifter
      As for Wikipedia, can't the article just be restored to its previous form? That would be hard to explain in an edit summary.
      As they mention in the article, the intern-contributed content was extended to include the original information ... and someone in the House changed it again (supposedly without Meehan's authorization). Maybe I'm just a cynic, but haven't we learned that any enabling technology will be used for both good and ill? However, the fact that we aren't all still dwelling in caves leads me to believe that, overall, there is an uphill trend.

      By the way, the part that I found most interesting:

      In November and December, The Sun has learned, users of the House's IP address were temporarily blocked from changing content because of violations described by the site as a "deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the encyclopedia."