Tag Archives: World of Warcraft

Google: BitTorrent is an illegal word (kind of)

Google has an instant/autocomplete service that, when you type something, gives you suggestions on what to search for. Nowadays, however, this search is crippled due to fear of modern technology.

The RIAA/MPAA MAFIAA has now persuaded Google into censoring its suggestions to remove “piracy related” words. Such as “BitTorrent” apparently. I’m not going to lay out much more on this, TorrentFreak does that well enough. However I’d like to sum up the misfires caused by this action:

  • BitTorrent Inc. is the name of the private company which originally developed the BitTorrent standard. They are entirely legal and in no way affiliated with any piracy practices of any kind. This news shows however that they are deliberately censored by Google as a result of this, just because they have developed an efficient algorithm for transferring data and released the technology to the general public.
  • Rapidshare, a company to whose site you upload files at a slow rate – allowing people to later download them at a faster rate, were recently freed in court in a case of piracy related issues. Despite that, they are deemed unfit for Google’s search terms, which of course results in a heavy discrediting.
  • Would it be ok to censor other companies like, say, “Universal”? Removing words for the global dictionary may have unexpected consequences. There’s nothing illegal in a word and thus it should not be considered harmful. Any other behaviour may have unwanted sideeffects.
  • The BitTorrent protocol is a very efficient method of distributing files and widely adopted. Thus searching for various clients for comparison is of utter importance to avoid malware or trojans. One example is the uncensored client name “BitLord” which is a heap of crap and ads compared to BitTorrent Inc’s official client “µTorrent”, which is otherwise the first hit on the search for an autocompleted “bit[…]” search term.
  • The BitTorrent protocol is used legally in distributing not only patches for legally purchased games, but also for the ever-increasing content on free culture video sites.

Noted should be, of course, that Google has not censored these search terms in its actual search engine. Only the automated suggestions when beginning to type a search term. However, as mentioned with the suggestion of BitLord instead of “BitTorrent client”, this may definitely result in a very skewed usage of Google’s search. This doesn’t affect me personally as I never use the autocomplete function and I find Google’s “instant search” incredibly annoying. The thought has crossed my mind to entirely disable Javascript, at least for google.com, permanently.

It seems however that if you know the term (and spell it correctly), you are still given the related additional terms. Such as “Rapidshare premium” or if you’ve successfully spelled “bittorrent”.