‘Under the Radar’ gun control = search engine censorship

Why have Google executives been meeting with DOJ and White House officials?

The company — and other search engine firms — have been working to make a huge donation-in-kind to their favorite politicians by providing gun-control-by-search-result. Since it is implemented by private companies, ostensibly on their own, none of the documents behind the search results ban are accessible to the public by FOIA or to Congress — not that Congress even gets the documents it’s supposed to.

The crackdown at Google begins with Ad Words — no longer available or working for firearms, accessories, and ammunition. July 1 it’s supposed to be implemented in Google Shopping, which last week let you comparison-shop Google advertisers for ammo and already this week won’t, as Google rolls out its anti-gun update across its server farms. (Hat tip: Steve at The Firearm Blog).

The thing is, it’s not just Google. On our own testing, Bing and Yahoo are also sending gun and ammo shopping results to the bit bucket.

So far, web search engine results have not been zeroed out, but who’s to say they’re not next? For most people, Google is their window on to what is on the web. If Google wants you disappeared (or if the Chinese secret police, who have a cozy relationship with the firm, want you disappeared), you disappear.

According to internet rumors, the quality of which can’t be easily assessed, the next step is censorship of gun videos on YouTube. They’ll do this in part by declaring them adults-only and ad-free, requiring interested parties to identify themselves (and be enemy-listed?) and starving merchants of revenue.

It’s all part of “under the radar” gun control, promised last year. In 2010, the search-engine vendors agreed with the white house to blackhole search engine results for unlicensed web pharmacies, and items that violate trademarks or copyrights. The initiative, under DHS, cited the search engines as “internet choke points.” A White House attorney, Victoria Espinel, said the following:

“It’s important that we act aggressively now before it snowballs into a bigger problem,” Espinel said in an interview. The U.S. aims to “put a challenge to the private sector, rather than have us regulate or mandate.”

It’s not so much that we don’t believe in Godwin. More like we’re agnostic that way….

Is applying those principles what Google is doing with gun-related web results? At least one Google lawyer, Hilary Ware, said of the pharma search-engine results-manipulation program:

“As the administration has made clear, no one company can solve this problem, so this new cross-industry group is a welcome step forward that we are pleased to support.”

Again, it’s not hard to see Ware, Google, and their BFFs at 1600 Pennsylvania applying this same “cross-industry group” to what they see as the “problem” of Americans who bitterly cling to want to own guns.

Google has a long history of hostility to gun owners (and again), even as it’s used the “X don’t kill people, people kill people”argument  to fend off regulation of its own business.

Eric Holder is laughing at us. He has been found in contempt for his cover-up of ATF gun smuggling to Mexico, but in the world of Washington kabuki theater,  he is responsible for prosecuting himself, which is not going to happen. Instead, he strikes back at his enemies — and make no mistake, he defines legitimate gun owners as his enemy, and such brutal criminals as the Mexican cartels and al-Qaeda as his friends — by zeroing out their internet results.

Google’s alleged motto is “Don’t be Evil,” but it’s a Silicon Valley nerd’s definition of evil, where “target shooter seeking ammo for sport” = “evil” and “Chinese secret police seeking dissidents for torture and extrajudicial murder” = “good”.

One is reminded of Inigo Montoya’s famous statement on the meanings of words. To use a reference a Silicon Valley nerd would get.

3 thoughts on “‘Under the Radar’ gun control = search engine censorship

  1. john jennings

    hmmmmm … how do we retaliate? it’s tough to blockade something as pervasive as google, especially when other geeks are in league with them. urge the NRA to organize a campaign to blockade their advertisers?

    1. Hognose Post author

      I don’t think “blockade” works here. We’re a minority and most of our minority is not political at all. Education is the key. Unfortunately the media, the schools in places like CA and the elite universities, which produce a disproportionate number of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, all are somewhat stuck in 1960s antigun attitudes. So how do we do education? We do it retail — one techie at a time. YMMV.

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