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The Stalls of Higher Thought

Faux Regulatory Board has NO Legal Right To Arbitrate Disputes

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Sheriff BadgecNet News: If your Web site is one of the more than 170,000 sites on the Internet that Google has tagged as hosting malware, you have a place to turn–StopBadware.org.

On Saturday, an error at Google changed the display of search results so that every site on the Internet was listed as having malware for about an hour. After that happened, StopBadware.org’s site was hit with so much traffic–67,000 or 13 times the normal daily number–that it led to a denial of service that had the site offline for nearly an hour and a half.

After initially saying StopBadware.org had contributed to the problem, Google retracted that and said it was solely the fault of the search engine. Meanwhile, StopBadware.org got 150 malware review requests over the weekend from people whose sites were tagged as harmful during the glitch.

“It was an unfortunate event, but it helps raise awareness of this real problem” of sites hosting malware, Maxim Weinstein, manager of the nonprofit StopBadware.org, said in an interview on Monday with CNET News.

From a five-person office on the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Mass., the organization serves as a sort of appeals body for people who argue that their sites shouldn’t be flagged as dangerous. In the high stakes game of e-commerce, getting tagged as dangerous can cost a Web site visitors and money.

bspcommentI’m all for getting hosted malware out of searches like Google. But I fail to see what legal standing Google or StopBadware.org have to arbitrarily decide who’s bad and who’s god. Google rails the telcoms for being gatekeepers of the Internet, yet seems to be trying a similar tactic in this instance, using malware as the excuse. Flagging a website as bad is just as bad if not worse than blocking it. And Google clearly understands the legal implications of it’s filtering practices.  Although I agree with the reasons for the flagging, I also agree that it’s use flies in the face of Google’s position on Network Neutrality.

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Written by mattliving

February 3, 2009 at 8:47 am

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