Google helped circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

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: Browser, Collaboration, Google

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  • RE: Google helps circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

    Well, yeah, Google's cache probably does have the entire Wikipedia, lol.

    However, while it's not really blacking out, Google is informing people. On the Google search page is this:

    "Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web!"

    With a link asking people to take action against SOPA and PIPA.
    • RE: Google helps circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

      @CobraA1 Funny how a lot of companies are willing to back up their demonstration with their hip pocket but Google's insatiable appetite for Ad revenue can't even shut down their service for 1 hour. To add insult to injury they circumvent the other organisation efforts. Way to go Google!
      • RE: Google helps circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

        Google is used for productivity. They have to keep that in mind. Otherwise, we'd have to deal with services like Bing.
      • RE: Google helps circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

        @global.philosopher Way to go GREEDY Google. If no one takes a stand, where do you think we'll be in a few years? Sheesh!
  • RE: Google helps circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

    You know who else is showing how to circumvent wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest? Wikipedia. Seriously, click that little Learn More link on the redirect and they straight out tell you "If you really need Wikipedia, do this".

    And for those too lazy, the "Do This" is use mobile Wikipedia or turn off Javascript.

    Or hell, just press the stop button before it redirects you.
    • RE: Google helps circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

      @Aerowind Google employee?
      • RE: Google helps circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

        @global.philosopher , probably not. I've left similar comments myself, elsewhere. My hometown paper's opinion writer is clueless, and wrote an article about how Wikipedia bullied the world, and he was unable to complete his article because he couldn't access Wikipedia during the blackout. Anyone who bothered to click the link would have seen how to work around the blackout. The fact that a newspaper employee can't even be bothered to research the thing he's complaining about is what got me mad.
      • RE: Google helps circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

        I doubt Aerowind has any connection to Google, but I can state that *I* don't. Furthermore I was one of the participants in the Wikipedia protest decision. I can say with near certainty that no one at Wikipedia has any objection to Google's cache. Wikipedia's blackout was deliberately easy to get around, and the blackout page deliberately contained a link with instructions on how to get past the blackout page. I'd even say this even highlights just how bad SOPA is. Not only is SOPA grossly harmful, it would accomplish nothing. Anyone actually seeking infringing material would quickly discover just how easy it is to circumvent SOPA's censorship mechanisms. SOPA would do jack-squat to stop piracy, just as Wikipedia's blackout page was trivially easy to defeat.

        Furthermore the entirety of Wikipedia is free for anyone to download and host on the web. It is "free" as in free-beer and "free" as in free-speech. The price is zero, and Wikipedia deliberately gives other people the liberty to copy and redistribute Wikipedia pages. There is a small limitation on that liberty. In plain English the limitation is that you must give other people that same liberty. If you copy Wikipedia then you cannot deny other people that same right to copy your version on the exact same terms.

        This whole ZD article is a joke trying to manufacture some non-existent outrage. The only complaint that some of us at Wikipedia might have against Google is disappointment that Google's blacked out name and low-visibility info link was a soft sell approach. However itis hard to fault Google for their results. In less than 24 hours Google obtained FOUR AND A HALF MILLION signatures from the general public protesting against SOPA.

        SOPA proponents (which include the major News corporations) keep trying to cast this as some controversy between Media companies and Tech companies, but that's a crock. This is a conflict between Media corporations and the general public. In less than 24 hours over 4.5 million John Q. Public ordinary people stood up and said no to this atrociously bad bill.
  • Pretty soon we wont need the WWW

    We'll just need Googles.
  • RE: Google helps circumvent Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest

    Google is stuck as it provides the search application, and therefore susceptible to the proposed SOPA regulation it doesn't want. But Google also provides content via Youtube and so doesn't want pirated products appearing here or having its output pirated - so presumably wants some form of SOPA.
  • The Escape key is working for me.