Google helped circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

Summary:Google's little known secret is that it has copied the world wide web and hosts it on its own search servers...

Wikipedia is leading the US Internet community's protest of proposed SOPA legislation by blacking out its English-language pages for one day but that bold move is being circumvented by Google.

A visitor to Wikipedia site sees a black background landing page explaining its anti-SOPA position, and blocking the requested page. But most people use Google to access Wikipedia, and they are offered a perfect copy of any blacked out Wikipedia page. Google publishes a complete copy of the entire site, which mutes the effect of Wikipedia's protest.

This issue highlights a little known fact that Google has copied nearly the entire web and hosts it on its own servers. Anti-copying legislation would hit Google very hard yet its support for a national blackout day was surprisingly minimal

Google blacked out its own logo, that linked to a single landing page about SOPA but the rest of Google remained unchanged and open for business.

OpenDNS, for example, did blackout its search results using a random algorithm.

David Ulevitch, founder and CEO of OpenDNS wrote about the decision to censor some search results:

"... we’re fully aware it can, and will, create a frustrating experience both for our users, and for owners of websites being censored. But with 30 million+ users we have the equivalent of a megaphone on the Internet. We feel it’s our responsibility to demonstrate the near-random methodology SOPA and PIPA propose to determine those websites contributing to piracy, and also what the Internet would look like if their fate was to be blocked."

Foremski's Take: It's good to see an executive that understands that responsibility and power mix in equal parts otherwise there'll be big problems later.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Collaboration, Google


In May 2004, Tom Foremski became the first journalist to leave a major newspaper, the Financial Times, to become a full-time journalist blogger. He writes the popular news blog Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley. Tom arrived in San Francisco in 1984, and has covered US technology markets for leading comput... Full Bio

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