July 27, 2004

Google and Supreme Court argument revisited

Walt Crawford has released yet another edition of his library 'zine (not blog) "Cites & Insights", for August 2004. He kindly mentions me, for Google and censorware discussion. I may write more later, but one quick note is apropos today regarding Google. In discussing my examination about the Google silliness of the Free Porn, err, Justice, Department "evidence" in the "COPA" Internet censorware law Supreme Court case, he notes:

These arguments took place in early March 2004. Solicitor General Theodore Olsen, arguing to overturn the injunction, used a web search (probably Google) to illustrate the extremity of "online smut." Type in the words "free porn" and you get a list of 6,230,000 websites, he said: "I didn't have time to go all the way through those sites."

The oral argument transcript confirmed that it definitely was Google being used:

I did the same, this again is outside the record, but I did this, anyone can do this, the same experiment over the weekend. I went to Google and I typed in disable filter and you push the button and you will get a screen full of programs that will tell you step by step how to dismantle the computer so your parents won't know about it. It is that easy, and you can put it back on.

Amusingly - or maybe not - Solicitor General Olsen is also wrong again here. While you can find instruction pages, they're way out of date, and so not exactly good evidence for anything. Don't believe everything you Google on the Web. Even if you're making an argument before the Supreme Court.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google | on July 27, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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