Home / Establishment / Censor the Internet, Stanford Professor Recommends
Print Friendly and PDF

Censor the Internet, Stanford Professor Recommends

Written by Gary North on January 26, 2012

The Establishment is running scared of the Internet, as it should. This Stanford professor calls for Google to label sites that promote anti-Establishment historical facts.

This is what the Establishment did from 1940-1995. It controlled book publishing. It kept out “conspiracy theories.” Ah, the good old days! But they are gone forever.

There are independent sites out there — bad sites, he says. They tell people things that the Establishment does not approve of.

Such democratization of information-gathering—when accompanied by smart institutional and technological arrangements—has been tremendously useful, giving us Wikipedia and Twitter. But it has also spawned thousands of sites that undermine scientific consensus, overturn well-established facts, and promote conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, the move toward social search may further insulate regular visitors to such sites; discovering even more links found by their equally paranoid friends will hardly enlighten them. Is it time for some kind of a quality control system?

People who deny global warming, oppose the Darwinian account of evolution, refuse to see the causal link between HIV and AIDS, and think that 9/11 was an inside job have put the Internet to great use. Initially, the Internet helped them find and recruit like-minded individuals and promote events and petitions favorable to their causes. However, as so much of our public life has shifted online, they have branched out into manipulating search engines, editing Wikipedia entries, harassing scientists who oppose whatever pet theory they happen to believe in, and amassing digitized scraps of “evidence” that they proudly present to potential recruits.

We don’t want this, do we? Of course  not. So, it must be stopped.
What we need is censorship.

What to do then? Well, perhaps, it’s time to accept that many of these communities aren’t going to lose core members regardless of how much science or evidence is poured on them. Instead, resources should go into thwarting their growth by targeting their potential—rather than existent—members.

Today, anyone who searches for “is global warming real” or “risks of vaccination” or “who caused 9/11?” on Google or Bing is just a few clicks away from joining one of such communities. Given that censorship of search engines is not an appealing or even particularly viable option, what can be done to ensure that users are made aware that all the pseudoscientific advice they are likely to encounter may not be backed by science?

But how to do this. That’s the problem.

The options aren’t many. One is to train our browsers to flag information that may be suspicious or disputed. Thus, every time a claim like “vaccination leads to autism” appears in our browser, that sentence would be marked in red—perhaps, also accompanied by a pop-up window advising us to check a more authoritative source. The trick here is to come up with a database of disputed claims that itself would correspond to the latest consensus in modern science—a challenging goal that projects like “Dispute Finder” are tackling head on.

The second—and not necessarily mutually exclusive—option is to nudge search engines to take more responsibility for their index and exercise a heavier curatorial control in presenting search results for issues like “global warming” or “vaccination.” Google already has a list of search queries that send most traffic to sites that trade in pseudoscience and conspiracy theories; why not treat them differently than normal queries? Thus, whenever users are presented with search results that are likely to send them to sites run by pseudoscientists or conspiracy theorists, Google may simply display a huge red banner asking users to exercise caution and check a previously generated list of authoritative resources before making up their minds.

This is being done.

In more than a dozen countries Google already does something similar for users who are searching for terms like “ways to die” or “suicidal thoughts” by placing a prominent red note urging them to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It may seem paternalistic, but this is the kind of nonintrusive paternalism that might be saving lives without interfering with the search results. Of course, such a move might trigger conspiracy theories of its own—e.g. is Google shilling for Big Pharma or for Al Gore?—but this is a risk worth taking as long as it can help thwart the growth of fringe movements.

He is right. I am hereby suggesting just such a conspiracy.

Unfortunately, Google’s recent embrace of social search, whereby links shared by our friends on Google’s own social network suddenly gain prominence in our search results, moves the company in the opposite direction. It’s not unreasonable to think that denialists of global warming or benefits of vaccination are online friends with other denialists. As such, finding information that contradicts one’s views would be even harder. This is one more reason for Google to atone for its sins and ensure that subjects dominated by pseudoscience and conspiracy theories are given a socially responsible curated treatment.

I don’t thin it’s going to happen. I don’t think Professor Censor will get his wish. I don’t think the Establishment can control us for much longer. I think the New World Order is going to fail.

We have access to the Web. This site is proof. You know others that are proof.

They bet the farm on their control over information. On January 17, 1998, the day Matt Drudge reported on Newsweek‘s suppression of the Clinton-Lewinsky story, the Establishment’s strategy ceased to work as planned.

It will never work well again.

Continue Reading on www.slate.com

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

14 thoughts on “Censor the Internet, Stanford Professor Recommends

  1. I wish that were true, that Big Brother wasn't on the verge of taking over, but we have a LARGE Federal government that wants to control us; that has signed a martial law bill that directs the military to pick up 'disidents' who might be global (hoax) warming desenters, those who stock food or water, or O'Bama forbid, ammunition; those who are Christians, former army personnel who might be drawn to Constitution loving. We are no longer in the Freedom assenting nation that was the place of our birth. So, we should be careful to understand that when the current leader says he wants to consolidate power to the executive branch, he's not talking just bringing people together, he's talking dangerous pollcy.

  2. I think they should censor the Professor ! For years students have trusted their teachers to lead them and guide them along the way to adulthood . When I attended Collage , Professors attended to the subject of the course a student was taking not political agendas . I am quite certain that my professors had their own political views but these were kept to themselves and they tried not to influence a student one way or another . The wanted us to grow and use or minds to form our opinions
    Above all the professors all had a deep love and respect for the Constitution and for America as a whole and above all Freedom. But seeing how this is a Stanford Professor and in California , I realize that he is a little of base to begin with . Must be the air or, something in the water . And I do have to agree with Greta above , that to allow the consolidation of power to the executive branch is a dangerous policy . I once said to a friend in a joking way that Obama wanted to be dictator here . I can see now that I am correct and we are in danger of seeing it happen

  3. aliceinwonderland says:

    We may have won a battle against Congress' treasonous, tyrannical, psychopathic "SOPA / PIPA" legislative sledgehammer.

    But something WORSE has already been secretly set in place:

    The ACTA Treaty, a "global trade agreement."

    ACTA is far more dangerous to our freedom than SOPA / PIPA ever were (and these are NOT dead by any means).

    And guess what? The president already signed it.

    Forbes Magazine appears to be one of the best mainstream media "news sentries" out there, it is often ahead of the curve; please see:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/01/23/i

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/01/25/i

    http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/13/counterfeit-trad

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveforbes/2012/01/2

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/01/25

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2012/01/2

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottcleland/2012/01/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/thesba/2012/01/23/sop

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/01/23/e

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/01/20/t

    A Bing Search returned these hits (I hate Google!):

    https://www.eff.org/issues/acta
    https://www.eff.org/action
    http://rt.com/news/acta-internet-censor-treaty-59… (see quote below*)
    http://rt.com/news/isps-become-internet-cops/

    * "As cyberspace turns its attention to the SOPA and PIPA bills in the US, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, has been quietly signed or ratified by most of the developed world and is arguably the biggest threat to Internet freedom yet.

    ­"ACTA has – officially – been in the works since 2008, and was signed by the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea in 2011.

    "All negotiations were held behind closed doors, and it is mostly thanks to Internet hacktivist groups like Anonymous that news of the potential damage ACTA could cause has spread…

    The relentless, secret, treasonous, psychopathic assaults on our liberty continue.

    Bam. Bam. BAM!

    Folks, NOW WHAT?

  4. Bill McCroskey says:

    Nibbling at the edges….just like a pack of hyenas…run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes it. Checking for soft spots in your foes defenses. Be onguard against these fascists. As patriots we must remain alert, aware and educate the public to their TASS/Pravda ideas.

  5. Someone needs to tell him to go where the sun does not shine!!!!!

  6. aliceinwonderland says:

    The Fed's multi-faceted, daily assaults on our liberties remind me of the velociraptor scenes in the book & the movie, Jurassic Park, how the ancient reptiles keep testing the fences — yes, hunting and circling like a pack of vile hyenas.

    "Eternal vigilance IS the price of liberty."

  7. Bill McCroskey says:

    A RESOUNDING YES to that thought !!

  8. The state’s reaction is exactly what happened when Gutenburg rediscovered moveable type printing. Once the masses had access to the Bible and other texts, they could read for themselves what the Bible said versus what priests and politicians claimed the bible said, as their instrument of control over humanity. We are living through the same phenomenon with the internet.

  9. I don't have kids but if I did, there is no way they would get brainwashed with the books they have today. I would buy copies of books that tell the true history, you know, the ones printed a long time ago before being politically correct was the norm. Then find some good books that tell the history since. Some of the things taught in history class is outright lies. I have seen the stories on the news, read stories about them on websites and seen some books myself. Our history may not always be what we want to hear but it should be taught the way it was, not what we want it to be. I'm 44 and graduated in 1987. Didn't get to go to college since my Dad died and I also had health problems soon after. I am also disabled now from those issues. It may be a good thing. If I went to college and they were teaching something that was not true, I may fail the class but I would stand up for the truth. I don't mind calling a idiot a idiot either.

    The problem is what Greta said, we have a LARGE Government. If we don't change that, we will be China in another generation if not sooner. I know this has been said many times before but I believe this to be true. This coming election will likely be the most decisive for the path our country takes since before we was a country. If the Liberals get their way this time, it is going to be a difficult fight to ever get things turned back around. It could even be a violent one.

    By the way, I don't think any of the current candidates can turn this around. For one, there is the Congress and Senate, then the Supreme Court which is straddling the fence to say it lightly. If we lose one more Supreme Court Justice to the left, the whole of the Government is corrupt. Every time I see a 5-4 decision, I just wonder. Second, I'm not sure any of the ones running have ever read the Constitution except for Ron Paul. No, I don't really like him either. If he was the nominee I would vote for him over Obama tho.

    Cutting it short.

  10. Kevin Beck says:

    This shows what happens when people think they are "more intelligent" than the rest of us. Amazingly, he thinks that everything he believes is factually correct. He then thinks the blame should be placed upon those who discover the facts are different than what he perceives. Since this is being posted on one of those "alternative" news sites, I don't think Professor Censor will end up reading this, so I could probably tell him to something other than his face that the only thing he uses his brain for is for sitting on.

  11. Kevin Beck says:

    I also would guess that Professor Censor believes with every brain cell in his head that the earth is flat, and that the Sun revolves around the earth. After all, this is what people were taught to believe before Galileo proved otherwise.

  12. SnakeArbusto says:

    "Professors attended to the subject of the course a student was taking not political agendas"

    In fact, what they were attending to was the official version of events that has been carefully crafted since 'way before you or I were in college. Your teachers may have kept their political views to themselves, but at least they had some protection, as academics, from being challenged by the first flat-earther who comes along. That protection is now about out the window. And that goes double for secondary and primary schools, where even the textbooks can be rewritten to credit a non-scientific idea as being "science."
    Obama is indeed trying to concentrate power in the executive, but that also has been going on since 'way before Reagan took office. But go ahead and vote for a Republican and see if it makes any difference.

  13. Him?

  14. It's not a question of being intelligent. They have a program, is all, and they want to censor out anything that challenges that program. (The program, by the way, is global domination by the corporate-military-financial complex.) The one thing they don't want us thinking is that we're all part of one big human family, and that we have no reason to fear each other, whatever country we are in or religion we practice. Cause then we might see that we're being manipulated into hatred and fear by them, the ones in power.
    However you should know that there is such a thing as science, and such a thing as the scientific method. It may be imperfect, but its purpose is to attempt to arrive at objective truth. It is one of mankind's greatest inventions. To put religion on a par with science is wrong. What one believes, as you say, is not automatically factually correct. Only an open mind and rigorous examination using the scientific method can establish fact. So take it easy on the Professor. We have nothing to fear from intellectuals. What we need to fear is those who manipulate information to advance their scheme of domination, and the fear and hatred they promote.