Okay, this is getting to be ridiculous. According to a deeply disturbing story by Ars Technica's always informative Nate Anderson, a federal judge in Nevada has ordered hundreds of domain names "de-indexed" from Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, and any other service he and Chanel's lawyers can think up.
Yes, this is all because the makers of stank-fluid, Chanel, have decided to conduct a pogrom against suspected resellers of counterfeit perfume. Let's accept that counterfeiting is a problem, and companies do need to protect themselves. I've, personally, found sites all over the world reselling some of my work, and pocketing all the proceeds. It sucks.
The difference is that I'm not trying to break the Internet to collect a few extra kopeks. Chanel is.
And Chanel isn't the only one. The idiocy that's SOPA is designed to do a similar thing, shut down sites that are suspected of trafficking in pirated goods. The thing is, neither SOPA nor this situation in Nevada involve that oh-so-quaint concept we Americans call due process.
Oh, no. Judge with no clue issues order that can't be blocked, and shuts down domains. Worse, the domain holders don't get to find out about this until the domains have been seized -- and even more bizarrely -- transferred to GoDaddy.
Yeah, it just gets better.
But here's where it gets positively Monty Pythonesque. Once the domains were seized, said judge then goes on to order Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Bing, Yahoo, and Google to "de-index" the sites.
First off, it's not like this is something these companies are going to likely want to spend their time doing. Then, let's look at Twitter. How exactly do you "de-index" domains from Twitter's index? Do you go to Bitly and all the other URL shortener companies and demand they also de-index these domains?
What about other indexers, RSS feed aggregators, and so forth? What about Archive.org?
Can we, and should we, as members of the Internet society, simply allow sites to be "erased" without their day in court or due process, as if they were citizens living under Stalin in the old USSR?
It's a shame when our own companies, our own politicians, and our own judiciary are becoming a greater threat against the future of the Internet than all the nasty cybercriminals hiding out in China and Eastern Europe.
As an American, I truly hate it when we become our own worst enemy.
Is protecting this more important than protecting the Internet as a whole? I contend the answer is no.