Pr0n filters are one thing. Political censorship is another.
"The Trump administration is considering imposing regulations on Google and its search service, White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday. His comments follow President Donald Trump's complaints that the search giant "rigged" its search results to show negative news stories about him."
This action seems rather dangerous.
Trump's original tweets on the matter.
An opinion piece from a while back predicting something similar ...
Another take from a minor left-wing liberal media ... the BBC.
Wow, I'm so dizzy from the profuse eye rolling...
The day something as trivial as search results are regulated by government signals the beginning of the end for me. And frankly, if _they_ are going to impose regulations on one they'll need to do it on others as well.
Seriously, hasn't his time on the ride expired yet?
something as trivial as search results
To refer to search results as trivial is to ignore the reality that marketing search results resulted in Google going from a college dorm start up to one of the behemoth companies in the world in less than ten years. That same phrase implies that there is nothing special about controlling search results. Hogwash.
Controlling search results can clearly be used to promote or bury product sales, to enhance or bury entire businesses or markets, to inform the public on news or to steer the public to bias, fraud, or lies. Controlled search results can lead people to legitimate business and government sites or to fraudulent phishing sites.
Search results are not trivial.
As to government regulation, consider that every government becomes involved in regulation of commerce and trade. The basic justification for government regulation of commerce is to protect the public, but in reality there are added reasons, such as imposing protectionist laws to ensure survival of favored businesses. Modern web-based search results are as intertwined into worldwide, national, and local commerce as can be, and that interaction is growing each year. It should surprise no one that Larry Kudlow, as the senior WH economist, is engaged in this conversation.
A strong case can be made for a need for transparency and regulation of web search. Google appears to have acquiesced to China's demands for such. In modern democracies, to include USA and EU, we probably need a conversation on how search regulation can best be overseen; that is, should regulation be self-regulation of the company, an industry consortium form of non-governmental regulation, or governmental regulation?
I infer from the overall comment that you are not a fan of the current President. I get that, and have no problem with you holding such an opinion. However, that fact that he is the one who placed the subject of search results on the table is no reason to pretend that it is not an important subject and should not be openly considered in modern society.
Separate the source from the idea, and discuss the idea.
The way we are today I think it’s likely possible to see a time when search so dominates as to subtly control a conversation, thoughts and beyond.
To the above ‘I think you should be nicer to me’ isn’t a very strong kicker for a ‘can something be done’ shadowy conversation is not terriblycredible, but Google, FB, Microsoft and Twitter demonstrably have power, and rather a lot really.
To Cragin’s point would we be able to tell if we were being subtly manipulated? Probably not.
Now, regulation wise would anyone want to let President Trump dictate what should happen? I’d humbly suggest on both sides of the partisan divide you’d sooner have Fantastic Mr Fox look after your chicken farm for the weekend. But the way the US is setup, it’s probably that there’s enough sensible people that it would work out ok anyway - and a veracity index from snopes on stories added in?
China has avoided a partisan divide by only having one party, and they are regulating. Probably not something that anyone should seek to emulate.
The rest of the world probably needs something as well - and I’d say the EU are nearly always looking at breaking up the dominant players in search.
It’s likley that humanity will need an open search capability very soon, and I’d say it’s bulked in with devices, OD, networks and everything else.