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Why Wouldn't Google Mirror Wikileaks?

By - December 07, 2010

02DEC10JulianAssange_800x600_t325.jpg

(image) Consider: Your mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.” You thumbed your nose at Wall Street, and you proved them wrong. You’ve stood up to the entire media industry by purchasing YouTube and defending fair use in the face of extraordinary pressure. You’ve done the same with the political and economic giant that is China*. And you’re hanging the entirety of your defense against European monopoly charges on the premise of free speech.

So why not take a bold step, and stand with Wikileaks? The world’s largest Internet company taking a clear stand would be huge news, and it’d call the bloviating bluff of all the politicians acting out of fear of embarrassment, or worse. The Wikileaks story may well be, as pointed out by many, the most important and defining story of the Internet age.

It just might prove to be the smartest PR move Google ever made. (And it could, of course, prove to be the exact opposite). And it looks, so far, like rival Facebook is leaning toward supporting Wikileaks.

After all, tens of millions of Stieg Larsson readers can’t be wrong…and I’m guessing they all see the charges against Assange as driven by more than trumped up sex scandal or politically motivated condemnation. Honestly, Larsson himself could not have written a better potboiler than what’s unfolding before us.

Just thinking out loud. What do you think?

*(And hey, it turns out Wikileaks may have already done Google a solid when it comes to China…)

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26 thoughts on “Why Wouldn't Google Mirror Wikileaks?

  1. Marshall Kirkpatrick says:

    Fwiw, Google it appears that Google has already indexed most of the Cablegate docs, while “other search engines” have indexed just a handful of pages on the site!

  2. John says:

    Very interesting Marshall, thanks!

  3. I would assume that is so for the same reason FM would not want to host Wikileaks material – because Google could get into a lot of legal trouble for that. They’re better off indexing, as Marshall points out, rather than hosting it themselves.

  4. Brent says:

    Re: “charges against Assange” — by this you mean accusations, right? I don’t think he’s been charged with anything. The warrant was “for questioning” in regards to allegations.

  5. mb says:

    Google not only indexes the Wikileaks site, but The Guardian logged all 251,000 cables in Google Fusion Tables.

    Amazon, Visa, Paypal all caved. Give Google some credit!

    The cables are here: http://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?dsrcid=317391

    The Afghan War Diary is here: http://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?dsrcid=224453

  6. Gible Fog says:

    Also wikileaks.org is viewably from the Google cache.

    ( cache:wikileaks.org in Chrome)

  7. In a country where distributing classified government documents is a felony, you’re demanding that a company like Google break the law and support a criminal organization like Wikileaks.

    Why?

    Instead of giving the world truth and transparency, Julian Assange has provided false information to facilitate his banking activities AND he’s threatened to publish UNredacted documents that may lead to people being harmed or killed if the world doesn’t leave him alone to pursue his made dreams of dictating moral standards to the rest of us.

    So, what is your point here?

  8. Alex Dima says:

    Yes Google should mirror Wikileaks.The charges against Assange are dubious.

  9. aGeorge says:

    Interesting article! I think Assange has hes faults.He posted a lot of confidential informations!

  10. AFAIK, Gible, only Google’s cache of WikiLeaks.ORG is viewable via Google’s cache viewer.

    TBH: I was also wondering why you have remained so quiet regarding WikiLeaks.

    I’m happy that at least RWW caught on to the news: http://news.linked.in/1787/hurray-for-supporters-of-democracy-civilized-government

    ;) nmw

  11. aGeorge says:

    I think that Assange has hes faults by publishing does documents

  12. Ryan says:

    I’ve heard everything from google is backed by the CIA to they are part of the Builderberg Group…

    Whatever it’s in their interest or not, I’m sure there are pressures or influences which bind them to secrecy.

  13. Jordan says:

    Well, when you control the flow of all information from around the world, you may as well be acting as the world government. So, what do you have to lose when you already run the world?

  14. Google running the world? By information? Come on! Information is just that 3% of the Globe that only gets valuable when context has been preserved. At that is for just a few %. So they miss most of the value.

    That is why wikileaks is to much more dangerous for the establishment: they have content + (most of the) context.

  15. Dave says:

    Easy answer. Eric Schmidt has had many meetings and deals with the NSA. Do you think he hasn’t been in contact with the government about this? Of course he has.

  16. I suppose the best reason not to mirror it is because it’s not Google’s job to be hosting content, any type of content. Whenever it plays host to material, it creates a conflict between its role of pointing people to information, a role that also helps keep it safe from the same type of legal debates going on about Wikileaks.

    If it takes this step, does it then step up to start hosting the next controversial content that might come under attack? And in doing so, does it then itself become a target?

    Besides, it really doesn’t need to do this. Wikileaks is already mirrored in well over 10 different locations. The actual cables that were leaked are out as torrent files where no one can pull them back.

    Frankly, what Google really needs to do is simply make it search engine find the damn site better. It’s been at least five days now since the old site went down, but that still ranks tops on Google. Bing had it changed, with some human help but who cares, within a day. “Google, Bing & Searching For The New Wikileaks Website” explains more on that — don’t want to add a link and trip a spam filter.

    Having said all this, one interesting thing might be if Google built a dedicated search engine for the material. “Cablesearch” is one that the ECCAR put together, but it doesn’t have the latest cables.

  17. Saad Kamal says:

    Would google want to ruin their relationship with the obama administration? don’t think so!

  18. This morning in Google index 1,150 cables was there and now it have 2,160. Click on my name to see the screen shot.

  19. Karl says:

    as Eric says – google is already playing host to this content under the guise of caching. I doubt they asked permission to host the content.

  20. Reference to Stieg Larsson is right on.

    The leads are a rich source of material for further investigative reporting.

    The real scandal is the cowardice of the mainstream media to follow up on the material.

  21. salty says:

    I think individually if we can do something to not support those companies who have caved, we should. for me it was to cancel my paypal account. I just did. I left them this message: Dear Paypal – You should be ashamed for not supporting the principles of free speech that our country was founded upon. I will not give you another dime of my money, and am closing my account. . You were in a position to, and as Americans had the responsibility, to defend the constitution and our flag and the support the principles we all are supposed to stand for, and instead of standing up for those principles you have buckled under fear and cowardice. You have squelched the voices of countless thousands by not allowing people to “speak” with their own money to support freedom of speech. Your actions in regards to WikiLeaks has proven that you have become an instrument of the ever growing menace that our founding fathers warned us against…. a tyrannical government! SHAME ON YOU!

  22. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t think Amazon had a legal leg to stand on. although a European cloud host would probably be OK. On the other hand Google has maintained the legal stance that it’s not responsible for what it shows in it’s results therefore they must show the mirror sites; if they don’t they’ll set a precedent for themselves.

  23. Lalit says:

    It is not clear to me if Wikileaks has got all the information legally. I will stay away from it. http://goo.gl/6jxXU

  24. SeekGeek says:

    The Big G would have an extremely hard time taking a stance against Wikileaks. Especially in view of this direct quote cited on gawker: “Eric Schmidt suggests you alter your scandalous behavior before you complain about his company invading your privacy.”

    I agree with you John, this is Google’s big moment to reclaim their “Do No Evil” mojo, but I suspect it will be “Do what’s best for the shareholders”. Business as usual.

  25. Perry says:

    I agree that the Assange story could be “the most important and defining story of the Internet age”.

    It’s important b/c it gets right at the heart of the tension between privacy and transparency.

    The upside of privacy is protection, the downside manipulation. The upside of transparency is openness, the downside exposure.

    The problem is that we as human beings are early in on having the maturity to exercise both appropriately and judiciously. The internet has blown this whole area wide open.

    In the meantime, the lesson of the Assange story to governments and corporations will be more duplicity not less. But can you blame them?

    Would be the subject for a good book ; )

  26. Rogerio Marques says:

    Caching the pages is already enough for all practical purposes but how would BigG react if Wikileaks created a few billable App Engine instances?

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