Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Summary: As an American, I truly hate it when we become our own worst enemy.

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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.

Seriously. Seriously?

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.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Browser, Google, Networking

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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40 comments
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  • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    China or US, what is the difference?

    China the government suppress. US, corporations suppress.
    tatiGmail
    • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

      @tatiGmail Dude, that's deep.
      David Gewirtz
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        @David Gewirtz : Don't blame him; that is what passes for education today.
        jbruckner@...
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        @David Gewirtz
        The point remains. Oligarchy vs. totalitarianism. In the long run, there is no difference.
        hoaxoner
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        Please @hoaxoner... don't be simplistic and exaggerated. Well, if I were to compare both strategies of control, I'd take a more psychological angle: American culture controls people by indulging their every desire(associating them with products) and drowning all facts in an ocean of irrelevance. China is still oldschool in that aspect, they believe in opposing people's desires in order to control them.
        cameigons
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        @hoaxoner, you hit the nail on the head. There is absolutely no difference between secular/religious totalitarianism and oligarchy when it comes down to it.

        Both need to be gotten rid of totally in the world today, but unfortunately too many people have been brainwashed with the bullhockey that "YOU CAN BE RICH ONE DAY!" to take our system to task for it's failures.
        Lerianis10
    • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

      @tatiGmail ,,, Not really too far off the mark there. There have to be unmentioned violations of tos, aup and whatever else they want to call their policies, that makes this work for them.
      Because I have an aup that says any spam will result in so and so, and I get a spam, if it's from China, then China will never again be allowed to access my site/s, that could happen to me? I don't THINK so! Actually, their interference looks like a big cash law suit to me, especially if they did the things claimed here.
      Becasue of the foregoing, assuming I made any sense at all, they have to have a good backing for the legal community or they'd simply be sued out of business themselves. The whole thing sounds like a lot of lies by omissions. Let's have some real data to go along with this; more than a couple of biased bloggers & miscreants. This is the second attempt I've seen here to not "ruin the 'net" by allowing illegal activites to continue; I don't liike it.
      tom@...
    • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

      @tatiGmail Now don't willy nilly go and blame corporations per se. The corporation did not make the order. The government made this order not the corporation. It is the manipulation of government for any number of various parties up and down and left and right on the political spectrum that is causing this problem. Let's stop letting judges, legislators, bureaucrats, and presidents pick winners and losers. As long as that situation exists, various interest groups are going to try to get ahead by using the government instead of trying to play fairly in the market place. <br><br>On the other side of this equation is the number of people who will make and buy pirated material. If you do this then don't complain when companies try to protect their product lines and revenue streams using whatever means necessary. It is one thing to see the speck in someone else's eye, but do you have a log in your own? <br><br>Without responsible individuals no one will have freedom.
      littlemas2
  • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    Maybe its the same judge that resides over some of these bad software patents :P
    Frenz9
    • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

      @Frenz9 - No, he's in Texas, the judge for this article's issue is in Nevada. They may be kin though.
      PollyProteus
  • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    Fools, in all branches of the US Government, think they can legislate everything...They are wrong.
    right_on_the_one
    • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

      @right_on_the_one: Someone needs to send that judge the story of King Canute.
      apoor
  • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    Bureaucrats by definition are stupid.

    [i]~~~~~~~~~~
    Bureaucrats cut through red tape - lengthwise
    {Not a bureaucrat}

    The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.
    ~ Patrick Henry

    Where you find the laws most numerous, there you will find also the greatest injustice.
    ~ Arcesilaus

    If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.
    ~ Winston Churchill

    That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.
    ~ Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 ??? July 4, 1826) was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the third President of the United States of America[/i]
    WinTard
    • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

      @WinTard

      Winston Churchilll's statement is false. The fact is that sometimes government NEEDS ten thousand regulations to keep businesses and corporations from weaseling out of their responsibilities.

      If judges were more willing to take corporations to task for playing 'legal games' and read laws a little more expansively in some cases, we wouldn't need 10K+ regulations.

      In the real world however? We do need them.
      Lerianis10
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        @Lerianis10 Actually, if corporations were not allowed to influence government and legislators at all, then the market would dictate which ones were acceptable to society. Ergo, Churchill's statement would hold true in that no other government regulations would be required. Let the masses decide which corporations remain solvent! Tell the government to butt-out!
        David A. Pimentel
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        @Lerianis10 I disagree. 10,000 regulations leave a gray area that allow corporations to loophole.
        Bodazapha
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        @Lerianis10 the regulations wouldn't be necessary if we didn't have corporate personhood - where a company assumes rights, and the people running them acquire immunity from their actions.

        If a company commits crime, no person is responsible or punished under our current laws. The company will be financially burdened by fines, but no person, committing crime by using the company as a tool will go to prison.
        Kallepash
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        @Kallepash that's not true. In criminal instances a judge can and will tear aside the corporate curtain to prosecute the miscreants. First you must prove intent to commit a crime and that is often very tough. Once that's done you get Enron. Those guys went to jail as have many others in the past.
        wizardjr
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        @Lerianis10

        9,999 of those 10,000 regulations are loopholes, exceptions, and special benefits of the corporations and super-rich who actually control this country. Churchill was right, and you haven't been paying attention.
        bblackmoor@...
      • RE: Ridiculous: judge orders sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

        @Lerianis10

        Furthermore, managing 10,000 details typically buries the lead. Increasing the sheer number of regulations doesn't protect anyone and increases the cost of doing business. It's essential to increase the quality of the law, not the number of bureaucrats administering it.
        tkejlboom