Alexander Halavais Censorship Analysis

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In the Censorship reading by Alexander Halavais, the author discusses how many governments filter through certain sites so their citizens can only see what they allow, and how they do that in compliance with Google and various other search engines. Additionally, Halavais addresses how much a search engine should be able to index and how that is a violation of intellectual privacy. Lastly, he reviews governments attempts to acquire private information from citizens from search engines and their citizens search histories. Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, are some the biggest and most prevalent gatekeepers in our society today. According to Halavais, search engines act as a global index. The index is the part of the book that tells the …show more content…
For example, Google is completely blocked in China. Instead, when a user tries to access the search engine, they are redirected to a Government mandated search engine that filters out restricted topics. Google complied with this but it was a miscalculated move in the middle of a very odd time for the company. At the time, the US government was asking the search engine for records of US citizens search histories and Google was refusing. Why would Google say no to this but aid the Chinese government in making sure their citizens are left in the dark to many important topics? Additionally, if governments can have Google block sites, it should be possible that governments can influence the ranking of certain sites. This is where the study gets more into media being able to influence the minds of citizens. Halavais says, “Given the importance of informed citizenry to effective government, there may be an interest in countering the hegemonic tendencies of search engines, and encouraging more open discourse.” (Halavais 134) The search engines will only show the user what they want to see, in other words, what they search for, whereas news shows and newspapers show what they think is newsworthy and important for the citizenry to know. They are gatekeepers for the general public, telling them only what they deem as important on that day. These gatekeepers are …show more content…
With Google being one of the largest sources of information, it only makes sense that they have many close ties with world governments. If their motto is to not be evil, it doesn’t quite make sense that they are allowing governments to censor their citizens unjustly or to be infringing on copyright laws of many world citizens. The company sometimes doesn’t seem to be abiding by its morals, when it lets the Chinese government restrict their citizens from even accessing Google, but will not hand over the search engine history of billions of Americans to the United States Government. Google does help with government control, but only when they deem it acceptable and

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