22 thoughts on “Google Censors Searches Involving Israeli Double Agent, Boris Krasny – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. @Richard

    I don’t know what you’re talking about.
    I just googled ‘Boris Krasny’, and he’s there in all his glory.

    1. @Barbar, Richard is talking about the stated censorship that’s printed at the bottom of the Google search-page. (See the image included in the article.)

      1. I just re-checked Google. No censorship proviso anywhere on the page.
        And incidentally, Richard’s links are found right on Google search page #1.

        So much for censorship.

        1. @Barbar, What’s your point? You say “So much for censorship” like it doesn’t exist, when the evidence of censorship is staring you right in the face in the included Google search image on this page. Are you saying that Richard fabricated his Google image?

          1. @Jester

            I’m not trying to make a point or say anything about Richard.
            I’m merely making the observation that the censorship proviso isn’t up on Google any longer.

            Lighten up.

        2. @ Barbar: You’re either blind or can’t read Hebrew. The censorship notice remains on page 1 of Hebrew search results in Google.co.il for the Hebrew search term “Boris Krasny.” Just as it was there yesterday.

          1. The fact that the search result is removed in google.co.il but not on google.com should makes it clear that there is no conspiracy here. You are invited to try the Hebrew name on the latter site.

          2. @ Ran: You don’t seem to understand. There are many Israelis who don’t surf the web in English. They cannot access information about Krasny when using Google in Hebrew. As an Israeli whose language is Hebrew, that should concern you. But apparently you don’t believe in freedom of speech. Or believe in it for English speakers, but not Hebrew.

          3. (Disclosure: I am a Google employee, though I do not speak for them, and have no knowledge on how Google handles court directed removals beyond what is known to the general public. The good folks at press@google.com would be happy to provide authoritative answers to any questions you may have).

            Perhaps I was not clear, and this is indeed confusing: there are two distinctions here. One is country domain (google.com vs. google.co.il) and the other is language (English vs. Hebrew). They are not the same, and you can run queries in both languages on both sites. I invite you to go to google.com and enter the search term IN HEBREW, and you will see the full search results with no redactions. You don’t need to be a forensic expert to figure out what is being removed – just compare the results on the two sites. This can be done by anyone in Israel.

            For a good description of where things stand on this read http://marketingland.com/google-censorship-mythbusted-132106 . The gist is, Google complies with court orders of a given country by removing links from search results IN THAT COUNTRY’S DOMAIN ONLY (e.g. on google.co.il for Israel). Google also (somewhat recently) added the censorship notice to affected search pages, and I leave it to you to decide whether that addition makes censorship more or less effective. As you may imagine, many governments are not happy with this state of affairs.

            As the article above states, this policy is now under attack by EU and Canadian courts. They demand that Google removes search results globally. You can imagine the effect if Google allows any government to remove links it considers illegal.

            Google is by no means perfect, and have made a number decisions I do not personally agree with. That said, I believe they are on the right side of the censorship battle, and I call on everyone to support them in the EU and Canada disputes.

          4. @ Ran: What’s egregious about this situation is that Google refuses to tell the public why it’s complying with such a demand. Who made the demand? When? Why? What search terms or specific sources are being censored? Until GOogle stops being opaque about this it is “being evil” & deserves no support. Though obviously I oppose the EU brand of proposed censorship, I’m just as concerned about Google’s quiescence in the face of Israel’s draconian & unjust restrictions on freedom of speech on the internet.

            I have the Google press response to this & it reveals nothing whatsoever. If they’re happy to do anything (as you claim), it sure isn’t helping me with a straight answer.

            But I do thank you for offering a way to determine what is being censored. It’s cumbersome. But it should help.

            Since you work for Google you might tell them that both phone numbers for Google Israel on Google’s website don’t work (at least not when I tried to reach them). Nor do they have a press contact phone number. Yet another bit of opacity on its part.

          5. Again, Google’s policy is to abide by local laws/courts when it comes to it’s local domains, and as you know from the Anat Kamm case, it is likely that there is a gag order in place, banning Google from revealing this who/when/why.

            Perhaps you think Google should change its policy, and that it should actively refuse court orders that it finds objectionable. That would be a valid opinion (with which I would disagree). But the policy has nothing to do with Israel specifically, or with whom it happens to employ as its PR rep.

            I have admired your work for a long time, and I must say I am a bit surprised that you chose to publish a story about Google without including their response in the body of the piece. But then again, it’s not up to me to tell you how to do your (valuable and important) job. If you have trouble getting a comment from them, you are welcome email me and I will try to help.


            — Ran

          6. @Ran: Loads of errors & misimpressions to correct here. There is no law preventing an Israeli company or individual facing a gag order fr revealing details about the matter that are not under gag. Israeli media do this all the time. They tell you as much as they can while stopping short of revealing what’s specifically under gag. Google is doing nothing of the sort. It is revealing absolutely nothing about the gag. As you know, gags come in all shapes & sizes. They cover more and sometimes less. Thanks to Google’s opacity we know nothing.

            As for the excuse of following local laws, that too is a red herring. Israel is not China & not even the EU. Should Google wish to contest Israeli censorship it could easily be more proactive in doing so. As it is, it is taking the lazy, easy way out.

            Finally, you clearly are ill-informed about how journalism works. You reach out to the interested parties for comment. You make good faith efforts to contact them & encourage a reply. But you aren’t held hostage by a refusal to reply. I owe Google no obligation to stop the presses till they decide to get off their asses & respond. Especially after attempting numerous ways of seeking comment, all of which ended in silence. Before you critique my journalism learn something about how it works.

            I am a little creeped out to find a Google employee serving as the company’s unofficial advocate here. Instead of doing damage control as you are, it would be far more helpful if Google actually took these issues seriously & addressed them fully & transparently, something it isn’t doing now.

            BTW, thanks to yr suggestion, I’ve compared “Boris Krasny” Hebrew search results for google.com & google.co.il. Guess which search result appears in the English search but not in the Hebrew? My blog post. Interesting, huh?

  2. Um, Barbar, the article is about Israel Google (the one in Hebrew.) There is indeed no censorship on English language Google.

    1. Okay. Now I see what you mean.

      But Google is saying that their search limitation resulted from they’re trying to comply with a privacy law enacted by the EU (where my server is located).
      Google isn’t censoring anything. It’s trying to obey the laws of the EU.
      I don’t like this, but my ox hasn’t been gored.
      Krasny’s lawyers are just doing their jobs.

      1. @ Barbar: False again. In the U.S. and Israel, there are no references to EU laws in the censorship notice. In fact, if this was only realted to EU laws there would be no need to censor in non-EU countries like Israel & the U.S. This has nothing to do with EU laws. It has to do with either the censor or an Israeli court demanding censorship.

        You’re done maundering on in this thread. Do not publish here again. You may publish in other threads if you wish.

  3. Ouch.

    (1) It was not my intention to advocate for Google, but rather for anti-censorship forces to support each other. I am not representing Google here or anywhere, but since Google is the topic, I thought it would be fair to disclose my affiliation (even though my job there is totally unrelated to the topic). I certainly did not mean to creep you out, and I apologize if this was the effect.

    (2) As to journalistic standards, I did not mean to attack you. You wrote in a comment “I have Google’s comment” so I assumed you were successful in obtaining it. Re-reading the thread now I realize you may have obtained it after the article was done.

    Anyways, this exchange does not diminish my deep admiration for your work, and I am happy I was able to help in a small way.

  4. The censorship is real and affects Google worldwide. Try using VPN configured to any location you’ll see. Mind-blowing.

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