Archives

Categories

Y
Y

Google Censorship: Scariest Thing for Academic Freedom

Homolog.us blog is written by professional janitors dedicated to clean up US science. During lunch breaks and other time off from the job, we discuss bioinformatics. The name 'homolog.us' is not a spelling mistake, but is derived by taking Arabic translation of the 'O' in the original word.

Please follow us on twitter – @homolog_us.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please forward this message widely, because it is the scariest thing that can happen to academic freedom of researchers in this country.

Today Dr. Elhaik, who published a population biology paper titled “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses” in Genome Biology and Evolution, contacted us and reported that his lab website is censored by Google. Let us walk you through the process step by step.

Here is Dr. Elhaik’s lab website at John’s Hopkins University.

Capture4

Here is what you find when you search ‘eran elhaik’ in Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Capture3

Capture2

Capture1

Do you see the difference? His lab website is not the top hit in Google, even though it was right there yesterday. In fact, his website is not found in the first few pages of Google hits. We had patience to check only three pages before deciding about reporting on this oddity. Other two search engines report him at the top.

This is really scary for academics trying to do independent scholarly research. The best way to challenge them is through finding flaws in their papers and publishing competing papers. Many bad scientific theories were discarded by detailed investigation, and we expect the same to happen to Dr. Elhaik’s results, if he is wrong. Asking Google to block websites ad hoc and imposing censorship on him bypasses the whole process.

What next? Will Google be asked by government to block Dan Graur from its search engine for creating trouble for NIH-funded ENCODE projects? Will Mark Ptashne be blocked for challenging epigenetics projects, where plenty of government money is flowing?

We discussed about medical importance of his research in this link.

Dr. Elhaik sent a chilling group email that also includes very convincing analysis of Khazar hypothesis. It is from a paper he is currently working on and therefore we decided to remove his discovery from the attached note. If you are checking our mailbox through homeland security website, please click on the second email from the top.

Hi All,

Call me crazy but today my website has disappeared from google and I am pretty sure I am being followed.

So. here is one of the final pieces of evidence to the Khazarian Hypothesis, to be published by all of you in the case that I will have a date with my maker.

[....]

The map without the legend was already posted to my facebook page.

I am probably just being paranoid, but just in case.

Feel free to make fun of me if I’ll get past this.




-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Heroes and Heroines of New Media--2014

I am strongly influenced by Charles Hugh Smith, who runs his insightful social blog of Two Minds. I hope he will not mind, if I copy his style of acknowledgement to the supporters of our blog.

Our blog is deeply honored by the generous contribution of the following readers. Without their patronage, this site would go away.

Outstandingly Generous:  
Amemiya C. Schnable J. Bowman B.

We are also looking for subscribers to get help to finish the tutorials. Please see this post for details.

11 comments to Google Censorship: Scariest Thing for Academic Freedom

  • Andrew Bromage

    I wouldn’t be so quick to jump to the “censorship” conclusion; information retrieval is not an exact science.

    IIRC, the Penguin 2 update was supposed to happen some time about now. It could be a transient thing which will go away in a few days, much like the “Google dance” of old.

  • samanta

    I hope you are right Andrew, because I do not see how the core algorithm of Brin and Page (http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html) can remove a link from top hit of google to nowhere within a short time except during major jiggling with things. On the other hand, I have heard of others with similar experience and completely going away, and only explanation I could think of was that google placed them in some sort of filter/ban list. Google dance is a good explanation, and let us revisit this after few days and see whether the site is back on top.

    For others, google dance explained –
    http://alexwebmaster.com/google-dance/

  • I also kind of doubt a straight out censorship.

    It just does not seem logical or worth pursuing to get into a potentially highly politicized issue such as this.

  • samanta

    I just received an email from Eran. He contacted Google yesterday and received an email back from them. He said another page from his website is back on the first page today.

  • Eric K

    Blackhat SEO manipulation maybe? In a world of hackers. Those who can’t hack are the under class.

  • Jason

    A shift in the order in which google presents results is absolutely not proof that google is censoring its search results here.

  • samanta

    A shift in the order in which google presents results is absolutely not proof that google is censoring its search results here.

    It was not ‘shift in the order’, when the top hit disappears altogether all of a sudden. His page went away from google’s first several pages (as many as I could check), and after he complained to google, it came back right at the top within a day or two. It is quite possible that ‘google dance’ worked. It is also possible that his complaints worked.

  • Ed Jones

    Google has publically admitted that they can and do manually edit the search results. Many times these edits are done for political purposes, such as the manual banning of the New Media Journal, MichNews, and the Jawa Report.

    Going public when Google does this appears to be the only way to get these edits reversed. Google is terrified of negative publicity.

  • samanta

    Thanks Ed, and if this report is correct, now they are into stealing trade data of competitors using US government –

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-14/thousands-firms-trade-confidential-data-us-government-exchange-classified-intelligen

  • […] Google Censorship: Scariest Thing for Academic Freedom […]

  • […] we first pointed out the role of Google in potential censorship eighteen months back (check “Google Censorship: Scariest Thing for Academic Freedom“), everyone argued that nothing like that could happen. A few months later, bioinformatician […]

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>