Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Google Dilemma" by Grimmelmann

Jessamyn West, whose website proclaims that it "[puts] the rarin back in librarian," linked in her July 15, 2008 post to lawyer/law professor James Grimmelmann's talk on "The Google Dilemma." While fully footnoted, the talk is not a legal quagmire (which is even murkier than a doctoral dissertation swamp.) "The Google Dilemma" is a good introduction to Google-bombing and the mysterious workings of that search engine's ranking system, and the social/legal ramifications of both. There's a brief summary about the deletion of results based on a nation's laws -- China, Germany, and France being the example. The last two, like some other countries on the European continent, have anti-hate-crimes laws which require the deletion of any search results which link to hate-sites. In the case of Germany, the original laws (that may have been amended since first enacted) were mandated by the allies after World War II as an attempt (successful) to protect against the resurgence of the Nazi Party. I hadn't known that France had similar laws, and I don't know when they were enacted, but I wouldn't be surprised if at least some of the statutes had the same motivation as the German ones, although without a mandate from other countries.

China, one is tempted to say of course, requires the deletion of sites with certain political content. Grimmelmann has an interesting display of the results of searches for Tiananmen in Google Images and in the Chinese Google Images site. The results from the non-Chinese site include the by-now iconic image of the individual protestor facing down the tanks as well as other images from the protests, but the Chinese results do not.

Title of this post: just having fun with double letters.

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