Google Starts Censoring BitTorrent, RapidShare and More

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by Terminator02, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. Terminator02
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    Terminator02 ヽ( 。 ヮ゚)ノ

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    It’s taken a while, but Google has finally caved in to pressure from the entertainment industries including the MPAA and RIAA. The search engine now actively censors terms including BitTorrent, torrent, utorrent, RapidShare and Megaupload from its instant and autocomplete services. The reactions from affected companies and services are not mild, with BitTorrent Inc., RapidShare and Vodo all speaking out against this act of commercial censorship.

    The entertainment industries’ quest to root out piracy on the Internet has yet again resulted in commercial censorship. A few weeks ago Google announced that it would start filtering “piracy related” terms from its ‘Autocomplete‘ and ‘Instant‘ services and today they quietly rolled out this questionable feature.

    Without a public notice Google has compiled a seemingly arbitrary list of keywords for which auto-complete is no longer available. Although the impact of this decision does not currently affect full search results, it does send out a strong signal that Google is willing to censor its services proactively, and to an extent that is far greater than many expected.

    Among the list of forbidden keywords are “uTorrent”, a hugely popular piece of entirely legal software and “BitTorrent”, a file transfer protocol and the name of San Fransisco based company BitTorrent Inc. As of today, these keywords will no longer be suggested by Google when you type in the first letter, nor will they show up in Google Instant.

    All combinations of the word “torrent” are also completely banned. This means that “Ubuntu torrent” will not be suggested as a user types in Ubuntu, and the same happens to every other combination ending in the word torrent. This of course includes the titles of popular films and music albums, which is the purpose of Google’s banlist.

    TorrentFreak contacted BitTorrent Inc. for a reaction, and Simon Morris told TorrentFreak that he believes the scope of this filter is too broad.

    “We respect Google’s right to determine algorithms to deliver appropriate search results to user requests. That being said, our company’s trademarked name is fairly unique, and we’re pretty confident that anyone typing the first six or seven letters deserves the same easy access to results as with any other company search,” Morris said.

    “A quick search for ‘BitTorrent’ currently returns a variety of legitimate and useful links, including company information, our software, our open-source protocol, and more. What Google may not realize is that our technology is used for many purposes that provide significant value to the technology industry, companies, artists and consumers at large,” he added.

    What is most surprising about the new filter is that the keywords appear to be picked arbitrarily. It includes BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent and Xunlei, but not BitComet and Vuze. While cyberlockers such as RapidShare and Megaupload are banned, prominent sites such as 4shared, HotFile and MediaFire are not.

    In addition, all the names of popular torrent sites including TPB are not included in Google’s banlist either. BitTorrent’s Simon Morris agrees that this is odd, to say the least.

    “There’s no reason for Google to throttle search results for our trademarks, including BitTorrent, µTorrent and torrent. Indeed, they do still enable autocomplete for many third-party clients that use the BitTorrent protocol, including BitComet, BitLord, and even sites like TPB and IH.”

    Morris further points out that the inclusion of Xunlei is a little hypocritical since Google is one of the investors in the Chinese BitTorrent client.

    “We’d also like to point out that while Google doesn’t enable autocomplete for Xunlei (China’s largest software client that uses the BitTorrent protocol) Google did invest $5 million in the company in 2006, according to reports,” Morris says, adding, “We sincerely hope Google will recognize the value of BitTorrent and reevaluate this decision expeditiously.”

    RapidShare is not pleased with Google’s new filter either, at least not with its current scope in today’s roll-out.

    “We knew about Google’s plans for quite a few weeks now. We embrace that certain search suggestions will not put a wrong complexion on RapidShare anymore, but we are concerned that at the same time the legitimate interests of our users will also be affected. We believe it was the wrong decision to remove the term ‘RapidShare’ from the search suggestions,” RapidShare told TorrentFreak.

    “RapidShare is one of the most popular websites worldwide. Every day hundreds of thousands of users rely on our services to pursue their perfectly legitimate interests. That is why Google has obviously gone too far with censoring the results of its suggest algorithm. A search engine’s results should reflect the users’ interests and not Google’s or anybody else’s,” the company added.

    Indeed, RapidShare has certainly touched a nerve here. It is clear that this filter is the result of pressure from the entertainment industries, which is not at all in the interests of users. Now that Google has begun proactively censoring their services for commercial reasons, more companies will demand the same. At the same time, the entertainment industries will continue to pressure Google to go even further, and censor the actual search results.

    Apparently Google has decided that its users should not be searching for the keyword BitTorrent, so why list any results then? It’s the beginning of the end.

    Jamie King, the founder of Vodo – a platform where artists can share their work with million of people at no cost – agrees with this assessment. Searching for one of their perfectly legal releases on Google used to suggest the word “torrent” with a link to the download page, but not anymore.

    “Google already showed it will censor for the highest bidder — China Inc. springs to mind. Now it’s doing it for MPAA & Co.,” King told TorrentFreak.

    “I guess it’s simple: our favorite search monopoly cares less about helping the thousands of independent creators who use BitTorrent to distribute legal, free-to-share content than they do about protecting the interests of Big Media in its death throes.”

    Indeed, Google is going down the wrong path by willingly and broadly censoring its services to please a few big companies. This is not the way to get rid of piracy, it’s the way to a corporate controlled Internet. Google may have been proud to leave China because of its political censorship, but it should be ashamed of promoting commercial censorship worldwide.[/p]
    [​IMG] Source (TorrentFreak)

    wth Google? u didn't even censor the more prominent torrent sites but u censor utorrent and bittorrent?
     


  2. Raika

    Raika uguu

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    The censor isn't really useful if we already know what we want to search for. O_O
    And if it really wants to censor something then it should be the search results, lol.
     
  3. machomuu

    machomuu Drops by occasionally

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    Still works with Google Chrome search.

    Though, I just use Vuze search to look for torrents. It's faster and safer.
     
  4. Wombo Combo

    Wombo Combo That Ain't Falco

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    Usenet ftw. Torrents are way to risky anyway.
     
  5. Terminator02
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    Terminator02 ヽ( 。 ヮ゚)ノ

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    it is not safer, and vuze is bloated
     
  6. Goofy Time

    Goofy Time GBAtemp Fan

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    Maybe they think it'll do something~
     
  7. machomuu

    machomuu Drops by occasionally

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    Safer than a Web Browser.
     
  8. Presto99

    Presto99 You slammin, bro?

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    I wonder how far they will take this....as for now, it practically does nothing. It's more of a statement than a real action. If you press Enter to search like you did (not long ago) before Google Instant came out, it will give you the real results anyways.
     
  9. Depravo

    Depravo KALSARIKÄNNIT

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    I suppose this mean curtains for the pirates who only know how to search with Google instant and autocomplete services.
     
  10. Terminator02
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    Terminator02 ヽ( 。 ヮ゚)ノ

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    the whole argument for implementing this is that if someone starts searching for a movie they could see the word torrent after it and think, what is that? then discover bittorrent and start illegally downloading stuff
     
  11. FireGrey

    FireGrey Undercover Admin

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    If they keep doing stuff like this, people will just go to other search engines to pirate, simple as that.
     
  12. Presto99

    Presto99 You slammin, bro?

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    I guess so. So this still has some uses. But if you are already a pirate it doesn't do much to affect you.
     
  13. SPH73

    SPH73 Banned

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    It wont stop with torrents and "piracy."

    Soon they'll censor unpopular political speech, or pretty much anything google finds objectionable.

    Uninstall your google browser and start using Yahoo. Otherwise you're just feeding the beast. And you're a big part of the problem. (In b4 bawwing.)
     
  14. TrolleyDave

    TrolleyDave Philosolosophising

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    Very well said and totally agree. This is merely them dipping their toes in the water to see if people will go along with censorship. Torrents have legal uses as well as their illegal ones.
     
  15. FireGrey

    FireGrey Undercover Admin

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    yeah like there is some free games out there that the makers make torrents of it so it's easier to download.
     
  16. TrolleyDave

    TrolleyDave Philosolosophising

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    And don't forget that most of the pupular Linux distros also use torrents.
     
  17. Snailface

    Snailface My frothing demand for 3ds homebrew is increasing

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    Hmmm, it's not censoring me. I tested several WaReZ oriented searches and Google autocompleted them all. Maybe Google reads my mind and knows my intent isn't malicious?
     
  18. Nujui

    Nujui I need something to do.

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    I agree, this is gonna lead to this.
     
  19. ShadowSoldier

    ShadowSoldier GBAtemp Guru

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    The thing is though, they can't exactly block search results or anything all together. Mainly because Megaupload, rapidshare and all that, there are real legal torrents for them. And blocking those... I think is illegal no?
     
  20. twiztidsinz

    twiztidsinz Taiju Yamada Fan

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    They're censoring the word from Autocomplete.

    Type in "torrent" "bittorrent" or "utorrent" and you won't get it autocompleted. Same with "rapidshare".