Why India should not filter Google results.

It has only been six months since I left India not that it has anything to do with the current topic of discussion. When I read Times today I was wondering why would the government of India want to do such a thing. Aren’t we a democratic nation after-all? Having said that it was interesting to read about the argument presented by Google India to the Delhi high court.

According to sources, Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate recently issued summons to nearly 21 websites  including Google and Facebook on complaints for allegedly allowing objectionable content on their websites. Now I found it rather funny the way Google India tried to sound convincing at the court –  “India can’t act like ‘totalitarian’ China regime”?  and the example of the search result of the word ‘Virgin’?. Well, right or not I can never be in favor of such a thing. So there is a bit of a conflict of interest already on my part about this topic. So let me tell you all those in favor of such a ban & a closed mind please do not read any further.

As the Google Attorney, Mr N K Kaul mentioned in the court,there is clearly a lack of understanding of the search engine mechanism by those raising the allegations. I was once told by a senior software engineer that the search engine mechanism is a beautiful area of study and that it has such great details and such fine methods that anyone with real love for technology would fall for it. That is how I could learn whatever  little I know today about the working of search engines. I am not a real expert in the field but I am still some engineer so I decided to check that for myself – you too can. An argument besides that India is a democratic country and it would be violation of freedom of speech, here is a technical reasoning. I tried out three random words in Google search – ‘Amazon’, ‘Kiss’ & the same one presented in the argument – ‘Virgin’.  Trust me non of the words showed any objectionable contents in the first page. Search engine works on a whole different level. Its contents are governed by certain pre-set algorithm which certainly can’t be the judge of what is objectionable. Let me remind you of the universal rule #34. The online & internet community would most certainly know this and for those of you who don’t know – it is – ‘If it exists there is Porn of it’ which means banning words or websites is not the solution to stop objectionable content online.

Lets face it, porn industry is not a multi-billion dollar industry for nothing and search engines can hardly do anything to stop them. Why go till pornography, if Indian government is so sensitive towards objectionable contents what about all the  saucy Bollywood item numbers? I wonder if Google could have used that point. If the argument is about how search engine results could harm children, then what about all those ‘munni badnam hui’, ‘sheela ki jawani’ and the latest ‘chinki chameli’ that the kids sing and dance on reality TV shows and else where?  What would be worse than ‘kolaveri di’ being recognized as Indian music worldwide now instead of A R Rehman songs is Google pulling out of India. We should remind ourselves that just by stopping the search results from appearing, we are definitely not achieving what we claim to achieve. That holds true with SOPA too, the act is only going to do more damage than good and my fear is that it would be too much to pay for such a mistake if it is ever happens.

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