An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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January 18, 2012

Google's Censored Logo

Google censored its homepage logo in the US to protest against two bills that could damage the Internet and destroy its core values. "Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA," explains Google.

Google's homepage also includes a link that asks users to "tell Congress: please don't censor the Internet." The censored logo is only available in the US, but the link is also displayed outside US.


While the new bills may seem to be well-intended, they're easy to abuse and they'll not stop piracy. "These bills would grant new powers to law enforcement to filter the Internet and block access to tools to get around those filters. We know from experience that these powers are on the wish list of oppressive regimes throughout the world. SOPA and PIPA also eliminate due process. They provide incentives for American companies to shut down, block access to and stop servicing U.S. and foreign websites that copyright and trademark owners allege are illegal without any due process or ability of a wrongfully targeted website to seek restitution," mentions a Google blog post.

Google's suggestion is to cut the funding for pirate sites. For example, ad services would be required to stop providing ads for sites created to infringe copyright and payment services would no longer be allowed to intermediate transactions between US residents and the company that owns the pirate site. I'm not sure that's a great idea because this law could also be abused.

Wikipedia and WordPress were a lot braver: they decided to make it more difficult to access their content. "For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia." That's the message you'll see today when you visit a page from the English Wikipedia (unless you press Escape before the page loads, you disable JavaScript, you visit Google's cached pages or use a plugin like Readability). Probably Google didn't want to divert all its search traffic to Bing and other search engines, but many top search results are Wikipedia pages, so Wikipedia's blackout will affect Google users.


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