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Encyclopedia > Criticism of Google

This article covers the various criticisms and controversies that internet search company Google has been involved in. Image File history File links Mergefrom. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Criticism of Google. ... This article is about the corporation. ...

Contents

Copyright issues

A number of organizations have used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to demand that Google remove references to allegedly copyrighted material on other sites. Google typically handles this by removing the link as requested and including a link to the complaint in the search results. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which implements two 1996 WIPO treaties. ... Copyright symbol Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. ...


There have also been complaints that Google's Web cache feature violates copyright. However, Google provides mechanisms for requesting that caching be disabled. Google also honors the robots.txt file, which is another mechanism that allows operators of a website to request that part or all of their site not be included in search engine results. The U.S. District Court of Nevada ruled that Google's caches do not constitute copyright infringement under American law in Field v. Google and Parker v. Google.[1][2] Web caching is the caching of web documents (e. ... The Cathach of St. ... The robots exclusion standard or robots. ... United States copyright law governs the legally enforceable rights of creative and artistic works in the United States. ...


In June 2004, Google Watch revealed the details of a contract between the University of Michigan and Google to create digitized copies of the copyrighted materials stored at the University's library. This contract is part of Google Book Search's effort to digitize millions of books and make the full text searchable. There are claims that it is a violation of copyright laws to use copyrighted material for profit by placing search ads beside the search results of these digitized books. Also, Google is setting a new precedent by making digital copies of copyrighted material on a wide scale without explicit permission from copyright holders. Meanwhile, Google claims that it is in compliance with all existing and historical applications of copyright laws regarding books. The contract between Google and the University of Michigan does make it clear that Google will provide only excerpts of copyright text in a search. The contract says that it will comply with "fair use", an exemption in copyright law that allows people to reproduce portions of text of copyrighted material for research purposes. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Public Information Research. ... The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (U of M, UM or simply Michigan) is a coeducational public research university in the state of Michigan, and one of the foremost universities in the United States. ... This page is a summary of services and tools provided by Google Inc. ... For fair use in trademark law, see Fair use (US trademark law). ...


Privacy

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Critics have pointed out the dangers and privacy implications of having a centrally-located, widely popular data warehouse of millions of Internet users' searches, and how under controversial existing U.S. law, Google can be forced to hand over all such information to the U.S. government, or any other government of a country which Google serves.[3] Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... This article describes the government of the United States. ...


It has been claimed that Google infringes the privacy of visitors by uniquely identifying them using cookies which are used to track Web users' search history. The cookies possess notably distant expiration dates and it is claimed users' searches are recorded without permission for advertising purposes. In response Google claims cookies are necessary to maintain user preferences between sessions and offer other search features. The use of cookies with such distant expiration dates is common. This article is about the HTTP state mechanism. ...


Some users believe the processing of email message content by Google's Gmail service goes beyond proper use. The point is often made that people without Gmail accounts, who have not agreed to the Gmail terms of service, but send email to Gmail users have their correspondence analyzed without permission. Google claims that mail sent to or from Gmail is never read by a human being beyond the account holder, and is only used to improve relevance of advertisements. Other popular email services such as Hotmail also scan incoming email to try to determine whether it is unsolicited spam email (which Gmail also does), but do not scan emails to improve relevancy of advertisements. Chris Hoofnagle, then associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, DC warned that, "As courts become more frequent integrators of electronic records, there is a greater risk of Google ... becoming a serious privacy threat."[citation needed] For other uses, see Gmail (disambiguation). ... Hotmail is a free webmail e-mail service, which is accessible via a web browser. ... Electronic Privacy Information Center or EPIC is a public interest research group in Washington D.C.. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values. ...


In early 2005, the United States Department of Justice filed a motion in federal court to force Google to comply with a subpoena for, "the text of each search string entered onto Google's search engine over a one-week period (absent any information identifying the person who entered such query)."[4] Google fought the subpoena, due to concerns about users' privacy.[5] In March 2006, the court ruled partially in Google's favor, recognizing the privacy implications of turning over search terms.[6] The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C. “Justice Department” redirects here. ...


Google's online map service, "Street View" has been accused of taking pictures and coming too close inside people's private homes and/or people who walk down the street not knowing they are being watched on Google's service.


In its 2007 Consulation Report, Privacy International ranked Google as "Hostile to Privacy", its lowest rating on their report, making Google the only company in the list to achieve that ranking. [7] Privacy International (PI) has been instrumental in establishing the modern international privacy movement. ...


European Union

European Union (EU) data protection officials (The Article 29 working party who advise the EU on privacy policy) have written to Google asking the company to justify its policy of keeping information on individuals’ internet searches for up to two years. The letter questioned whether Google has “fulfilled all the necessary requirements” on the EU laws concerning data protection [8]. The probe by the EU into the data protection issue, as of 24 May, 2007 is continuing. On 1 June Google admitted its privacy policy is vague [9].


Norway

The Data Inspectorate of Norway (Norway is not a member of the EU) has investigated Google (and others) and has stated that the 18- to 24-month period for retaining data proposed by Google was too long.[10]


PageRank system

Google's central PageRank system has been criticized. Some, such as Daniel Brandt, call it, "undemocratic". Common arguments are that the system is unfairly biased towards large web sites, and that the criteria for a page's importance are not subject to peer review. PageRank is a largely automated system which is impartial insofar as it knows no personal bias. However, Google's system also relies on a certain degree of human oversight, and use of company names on Adwords [citation needed]. Furthermore, the deletion of critical sites from Google results (for example, sites critical of Scientology[11]) is decided by individual human beings according to company policy. It remains unclear whether any process could assert the importance of a page in a way that would draw less criticism than the current PageRank system. How PageRank Works PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of measuring its relative importance within the set. ... Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a scholarly process used in the publication of manuscripts and in the awarding of funding for research. ... Doctrine Practices Concepts People Public outreach Organization Controversy Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by American pulp fiction author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 as an outgrowth of his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. ...


The system is also susceptible to manipulation and fraud through the use of dummy sites, such as the use of Google bombs or spamdexing. Doorway pages are web pages that are created for spamdexing, this is, for spamming the index of a search engine by inserting results for particular phrases with the purpose of sending you to a different page. ... A Google bomb (also referred to as a link bomb) is Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine, often with humorous or political intentions. ... Spamdexing or search engine spamming is the practice of deliberately creating web pages which will be indexed by search engines in order to increase the chance of a website or page being placed close to the beginning of search engine results, or to influence the category to which the page...


In September 2007, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has brought a two-pronged case against Trading Post and Google - including subsidiaries Google Australia and Google Ireland - for potentially misleading consumers by selling its rankings to commercial companies rather than sorting them by relevance. [12]


Digital rights management

Announced on January 6, 2006 at the CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Google Video store sells copyrighted content at the Google Video website. Initially, this service is restricted to the United States and certain other countries. To protect the copyright of such popular shows as MacGyver and The Twilight Zone, Google created a Google DRM (Digital Rights Management) lock for certain paid content. The fact by itself that Google was using DRM was enough to cause criticism by some bloggers, even before Google Video was launched. The design of the system also has minor privacy implications that Google does not make explicit on their Video site; namely, Google learns who purchases each movie and what computers they watch it on.[13] is the 6th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Vegas redirects here. ... Google Video logo Google Video is a free video sharing and video search engine service from Google that allows anyone to upload video clips to Googles web servers as well as make their own media available free of charge; some videos are also offered for sale through the Google... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Twilight Zone title. ... Digital rights management (DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to access control technologies used by publishers and other copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices. ...


Agence France Presse dispute

In March 2005, Agence France-Presse (AFP) sued Google for $17.5 Million, alleging that Google News infringed on its copyright because, "Google includes AFP's photos, stories and news headlines on Google News without permission from Agence France-Presse."[14] It was also alleged that Google ignored a cease and desist order, though Google counters that it has opt-out procedures which AFP could have followed but did not. AFP logo Paris headquarters of AFP Charles Havas Agence France-Presse (AFP) is the oldest news agency in the world, and one of the three largest with Associated Press and Reuters. ... ISO 4217 Code USD User(s) the United States, the British Indian Ocean Territory,[1] the British Virgin Islands, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Panama, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the insular areas of the United States Inflation 2. ... Google News is an automated news aggregator provided by Google Inc. ... Cease-and-desist is a legal term meaning essentially stop: It is used in demands for a person or organization to stop doing something (to cease and desist from doing it). ...


It is possible that AFP will make additional arguments in court that it has not yet made in public, but currently, many pundits are confused by the decision to sue because Google does not display the full article on its site, provides a link to one of AFP's 600 online clients such as Singapore's Channel NewsAsia (which presumably benefits AFP because more people view the article and advertising), and because the articles are available via the providers' websites regardless of Google's actions.[15][16] It was also argued that had AFP wanted to prevent free use of its articles, it should have asked its providers to require subscriptions rather than suing Google. Additionally, "in 2002, a federal appeals court ruled that websites may reproduce and post 'thumbnail' or downsized versions of copyrighted photographs", so Google News' thumbnails are likely legal. Still, AFP argues that the headline and first sentence of an article constitutes the "heart" of the work, and therefore their reproduction constitutes copyright infringement. Channel NewsAsia (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; abbreviated CNA) is a pan-Asian news channel based in Singapore and owned by Mediacorp. ... The ThumbsPlus image file manager showing folder tree in the upper left and 12 thumbnail-size images to the right. ...


According to the Canada Free Press, "Google Inc. is now attempting to remove all postings of Agence France-Presse material from its site, although AFP spokesmen say that even if this is done, the lawsuit will continue. It seems that the basis of the lawsuit is just the abstract notion of copyright without any real damages to justify the action." The article concluded, "It would be a sad day for those who look to the Internet for news if AFP is successful in limiting what Google can display. AFP's lawsuit, if successful, is bound to have a major impact on how news is delivered on the Internet." Canada Free Press is a Canadian website, which publishes news stories, features, and editorials. ...


On February 21, 2006, in a similar lawsuit involving adult online site Perfect 10, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that Google's image search function had violated the law by copying, without permission, photographs of naked women created by Perfect 10.[17] is the 52nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Perfect 10 is a quarterly mens magazine featuring high resolution photographs of topless or nude women who have not had cosmetic surgery, and focuses in particular on slender models with piercing eyes and medium to large, youthful breasts in pensive or artistic poses. ...


On April 6, 2007, AFP and Google have reached an agreement [4]. This agreement ends all lawsuits still pending. It also allows Google to integrate full articles from the AFP. This is a major difference compared to the usual use of snippets of the referenced articles. is the 96th day of the year (97th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ...


Authors Guild lawsuit

On September 20, 2005, the Authors Guild, a group that represents 8,000 U.S. authors, filed a class action suit in federal court in Manhattan against Google over its unauthorized scanning and copying of books through its Google Library program. The lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction that will prevent the company from continuing their very ambitious digitization project. Arguments in the case will hinge around the interpretation of the four factors of Fair Use.[18] is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Authors Guild is a 86-year-old (as of September 2005) professional group for published writers. ... For fair use in trademark law, see Fair use (US trademark law). ...


Many commentators in the world of copyright law and technology were not surprised by this development as the Authors Guild has also been involved in attempting to make online publishers pay royalties to writers whose stories appear in any number of online databases without their expressed consent. In a concession to general concerns about the nature of their project, Google had announced plans in August 2005 that they would respect the wishes of copyright holders who contacted the company to inform them that they did not want their works included in this digitization project.[19]


Copiepress dispute

In September 2006, Belgian newspapers Le Soir, La Libre Belgique and La Derniere Heure, represented by Belgian newspaper group Copiepresse won a court case against Google for copyright infringement, for republishing snippets of their newspapers' content on Google news without permission.[20] To comply with the judgment, Google was ordered to remove all news stories of these sites from their news search results, as well as to publish the judgment on the news.google.be site.[20] In November 2006, Google will defend the case again as an interpretation of the court order.[20] Le Soir (meaning The Evening) is a Belgian newspaper in French. ... La Libre Belgique (English: Free Belgium) is a Belgian newspaper in French. ... Copiepresse is a Belgian, French-language newspaper copyright management company. ... Google News is an automated news aggregator provided by Google Inc. ...


Viacom copyright lawsuit

On March 13, 2007, Viacom filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Google and its subsidiary, YouTube, alleging massive copyright infringement.[21] Viacom claims that approximately 160,000 unauthorized video clips of its television shows have been loaded onto YouTube's site and viewed more than 1.5 billion times.[22] is the 72nd day of the year (73rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... Viacom (NYSE: VIA) (NYSE: VIAb) is an American media conglomerate with various worldwide interests in cable and satellite television networks (MTV Networks and BET), and movie production and distribution (the Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks movie studios). ... ISO 4217 Code USD User(s) the United States, the British Indian Ocean Territory,[1] the British Virgin Islands, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Panama, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the insular areas of the United States Inflation 2. ... It has been suggested that civil trial be merged into this article or section. ... This article is about the corporation. ... YouTube is a popular video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. ... The Cathach of St. ...

See also: Viacom#Copyright complaints against YouTube

Viacom (NYSE: VIA) (NYSE: VIAb) is an American media conglomerate with various worldwide interests in cable and satellite television networks (MTV Networks and BET), and movie production and distribution (the Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks movie studios). ...

Censorship

Main article: Censorship by Google

Google has been criticized for willfully censoring some of the content in its services, especially in China. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Criticism of Google. ...


Past legal issues

Google's efforts to refine its database have led to some legal controversy, notably a lawsuit in October 2002 from the company SearchKing which sought to sell advertisements on pages with inflated Google rankings. In its defense, Google stated that its rankings are its constitutionally-protected opinions of the websites that it indexes. A judge subsequently threw out SearchKing's lawsuit in mid-2003 on precisely these grounds. Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In May 2004, the Baltimore Sun interviewed Peri Fleisher, a great-niece of Edward Kasner, the mathematician whose nephew coined the word, "googol", who said Kasner's descendants were, "exploring" legal action against Google due to its name. The Baltimore Sun is the major newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland, with a daily press run of about 430,000 copies, and a Sunday run of 540,000 copies. ... Edward Kasner (1878–1955), (City College of New York 1897; Columbia University M.A., 1897; Columbia University Ph. ... A googol is the large number 10100, that is, the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeros (in decimal representation). ...


The same year, Google settled a patent infringement lawsuit with Yahoo! by issuing 2.7 million shares of Google stock to them. Yahoo! had earlier alleged that Google's AdSense program violated a patent held by Yahoo!'s Overture unit. The settlement cost Google around $275 Million which resulted in the company posting a net loss in the third quarter of 2004. “Yahoo” redirects here. ... ISO 4217 Code USD User(s) the United States, the British Indian Ocean Territory,[1] the British Virgin Islands, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Panama, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the insular areas of the United States Inflation 2. ...


Personnel issues

On August 18, 2005, former Google sales executive Christina Elwell, promoted to national sales director at Google in late 2003, accused her supervisor of discrimination against her when he terminated her employment after she informed him of her pregnancy.[23] After the loss of three of her quadruplets, which she claimed was due to the stressful circumstances created by Google, Elwell sued the company. She also refused an offer from Shona Brown, Google Vice President of Business Operations, to reinstate her to a "low-level operations position". is the 230th day of the year (231st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


See also

Screenshot from EPIC 2014, depicting the logo of the fictional Googlezon corporation. ... Google in 1998 This article covers the history of Google, the popular web-based search engine. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Public Information Research. ... Dont Be Evil is the informal corporate motto (or slogan) for Google, established by Sergey Brin, who claimed it was a powerful and benevolent principle for Google and other organizations — corporations in particular. ...

External links

References

  1. ^ Case No. CV-S-04-0413-RCJ-LRL. United States District Court (District of Nevada]]. Filed on January 19, 2006. Retrieved on July 7, 2006.
  2. ^ Case No. 04-CV-3918. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania]]. March 10, 2006. Retrieved on July 7, 2006.
  3. ^ Conti, Greg. "Googling Considered Harmful" New Security Paradigms Workshop, October 2006.
  4. ^ "ACLU v. Alberto R. Gonzales." United States District Court (Northern District of California). August 25, 2005. Retrieved on April 13, 2007.
  5. ^ Wong, Nicole. "Response to the DOJ Motion." Google. [[{February 17]], 2006. Retrieved on April 13, 2007.
  6. ^ Broache, Anne. "Judge: Google must give feds limited access to records." CNET. March 17, 2006. Retrieved on April 13, 2007.
  7. ^ Privacy International 2007 Consulation Report
  8. ^ "EU probes Google grip on data" (Accessed 26-May-2007) [1]
  9. ^ "Google admits privacy policy is vague with EU Probe looming" (Accessed 01-June-2007) [2]
  10. ^ "Google Data on Users May Break EU Law, Watchdog Says" (Accessed 26-May-2007) [3]
  11. ^ McCullagh, Declan (2002-02-21). Google Yanks Anti-Church Sites. Wired. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  12. ^ "Google in legal dock over selling its top rankings to commercial partners". 
  13. ^ Felten, Ed. "Google Video and Privacy." freedom-to-tinker.com (personal blog). January 20, 2006.
  14. ^ "Google's news sued for infringing Agence France Presse copyrighted work." News Journal. March 19, 2005.
  15. ^ Sabludowsky, Steve. "Agence France Presse Google Lawsuit is Goofy." Bayoubuzz. March 20, 2005.
  16. ^ Wright, Nigel. "Copyright infringement case brought against Google by AFP." Earthtimes. March 19, 2005.
  17. ^ Gunther, Marc. "Google nudes." CNN. March 1, 2006.
  18. ^ "Google library push faces lawsuit by US authors." Washington Post. September 20, 2005.
  19. ^ Band, Jonathan. "The Google Print Library Project: A Copryright Analysis." Policy Bandwidth. January 2006.
  20. ^ "Viacom vs. Google and Youtube." United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. March 13, 2007. Retrieved on April 1, 2007.
  21. ^ "Viacom will sue YouTube for $1bn." BBC News. March 13, 2007. Retrieved on April 1, 2007.
  22. ^ Kawamoto, Dawn. "Google hit with job discrimination lawsuit." c|net news.com. July 27, 2005.

 
 

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