Spreading Santorum, the website that helped popularize Dan Savage’s alternative meaning, was stripped of its top search result status two nights ago…
SearchEngineLand took a wonky look at what exactly happened, and came back with a pretty troubling response.
It seems Google has been working behind the scenes to implement new SafeSearch features that are left on even when you’ve turned SafeSearch off. One of these features prevents “adult” results from showing up when Google has deemed them irrelevant to the search.
In other words, if you’ve searched “Santorum,” Google “assumes” you’re not looking for frothy fecaled lube, but for the presidential candidate.
Another newly implemented feature aims to return “official sites” as the most relevant search result, and Google again “assumes” that Spreading Santorum is not Rick Santorum’s official site.
The US ranks 47 on Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index
The United States (47th) also owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.
Sometime in 2012, I will begin the ninth year of my life under an FBI gag order, which began when I received what is known as a national security letter at the small Internet service provider I owned. On that day in 2004 (the exact date is redacted from court papers, so I can’t reveal it), an FBI agent came to my office and handed me a letter. It demanded that I turn over information about one of my clients and forbade me from telling “any person” that the government had approached me.
National security letters are issued by the FBI, not a judge, to obtain phone, computer, and banking information. Instead of complying, I spoke with a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a constitutional challenge against the NSL provision of the Patriot Act, which was signed into law 10 years ago Wednesday.
A decade later, much of the government’s surveillance policy remains shrouded in secrecy, making it impossible for the American public to engage in a meaningful debate on the effectiveness or wisdom of various practices. The government has used NSLs to collect private information on hundreds of thousands of people. I am the only person from the telecommunications industry who received one to ever challenge in court the legality of the warrantless NSL searches and the associated gag order and to be subsequently (partially) un-gagged.
Judge Kermit Lipez, US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in a ruling in favor of Simon Glik, a Massachusetts man arrested for videotaping police officers with his cell phone as they detained another man. Glik was accused of illegal wiretapping, aiding the escape of a prisoner and disturbing the peace.
Kurt Vonnegut’s celebrated second world war satire censored along with teen novel Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.
The vote? 4-0. One of the four read the book.
Though blogger John (Johnny Northside) Hoff told the truth when he linked ex-community leader Jerry Moore to a high-profile mortgage fraud, the scathing blog post that got Moore fired justifies $60,000 in damages, a Hennepin County jury decided Friday. The jury awarded Moore $35,000 for lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress. The civil verdict culminated a nearly two-year legal scuffle between John Hoff, whose blog, The Adventures of Johnny Northside, has 300 to 500 readers daily, and Moore, former director of the Jordan Area Community Council.
A number of states passed remarkably popular laws banning protests at military funerals in order to stop it the hateful protests of the Westboro Baptist Church. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled one (and presumably all) of these laws unconstitutional.
It’s hard to think of a more loathed group than the Westboro Baptist Church. Probably Al Qaeda. Maybe the Taliban. If Westboro Baptist Church is no longer able to use other people’s tragedies as a megaphone for its hate, even the most ardent civil libertarians aren’t going to lose too much sleep. Except … you can’t ban Westboro Baptist Church without potentially getting other people with locally unpopular views in trouble.
That’s what happened in Michigan in 2007. A veteran and his wife were driving their van in a funeral procession for a soldier friend. The van had a number of anti-Bush signs taped inside the window. They’d been there for years. They said things like:
- Impeach Bush
- If you can read this, you’re not our president
- Bush: You Elected Him, You Deserve Him
They were arrested for “adversely affecting” the funeral procession and detained for about 24 hours.
When we ban unpopular speech we don’t like, we put speech we don’t mind at risk if somebody else doesn’t like it.