Push to censor Google search inquiries

by Walter Olson on April 21, 2014

It’s being led by our perennial-favorite state-AG mentionee (D-Miss.)

Meanwhile: Houston judge reported to have issued what law professor Josh Blackman calls “blatantly unconstitutional” gag order requiring Google not only to remove all records of certain allegations against an individual, but also to refrain from discussing the gag order itself [Houston Chronicle]

{ 2 comments }

1 Bill Poser 04.21.14 at 12:46 am

Leaving aside the civil liberties aspects, the AGs don’t seem to realize that refusing to return results for queries like “buy foreign women” will not only impair searches by those wishing to traffic in women but also by those wishing to find out about such traffic or to join organizations opposing it.

2 Boblipton 04.21.14 at 4:44 pm

All to the good, Bill.

In a broad and unnuanced discussion, the government is an organization that seeks power. It is in competition with others who seek power — which, for the individual means money. Like all such beings, whether individual or organization, it seeks to expand that power at the smallest cost to itself. One of the techniques it can use is to create a demand for its product and convince the population that it needs that product and that only the government can supply that product.

In this particular case, the product is protection from the “white slavery” trade. The issue of whether the white slavery trade exists in any meaningful sense is largely meaningless. By convincing people that it does and that censorship on Google will ameliorate this problem, the government has come up with a low-cost way of dealing with the problem that increases its power — the right to control thought by censorship and the belief that the government is dealing with the problem by forcing Google to write and implement code — and reduces the power of its competitors — in this case, the individual who may wish to find out about such a trade to oppose it or join with others to oppose it outside the government structure, and Google, too, which becomes marginally less useful.

This is not to imply that the government is out to reduce you to a quivering mass of tax-paying consumers. Like the business monopoly that the government protects us from, it is an end-state. However, because it is the government and in that theoretical end-state will control all information flow to what it considers appropriate and useful, it will be a good thing.

Bob

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