TeleRead takes it for granted that governments will try to censor national digital library systems, even those with long-term funding. That’s one reason we fervently support nongovernment library projects such as Project Gutenberg. If they can get government funding, as we’d like–well, then, fine. But we hope the private sector will come through, too, and be ready to step in when pressure happens.
Just the same, it isn’t as if the corporate world is safe from the virtual equivalents of blue pencils.
One of the latest censorship examples involving Google–which probably has a stronger backbone than the corporate norm–comes from Seth Finkelstein. A hate group isn’t showing up the usual way in the German-language results of Google. Finkelstein concludes: “Contrary to earlier utopian theories of the Internet, it takes very little effort for governments to cause certain information simply to vanish for a huge number of people.” Thanks to Slashdot for this one.
Unrelated: Warts and all, Google is still a personal favorite of mine–the ultimate rebuke to those old foggies who back in the early ’90s were dissin’ TeleRead because search engines could not be powerful enough. And speaking still further of Google, I’m looking forward to reading Google Hacks, by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest. It’s just been Slashdotted.