There Is No Cat

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Brrrrrrr

This article in the New York Times about how the revelation that the U.S. government has been snarfing search engine records from companies like Yahoo! and MSN (and trying for Google as well) has made search engine users rethink their use of the sites is disturbing. It's the very definition of the chilling effect that government surveillance can have on free speech and free thought, and a perfect example of the harm that the Bush administration is inflicting on the American way of life.

It got me thinking, what search engines exist completely outside the U.S.? Seems to me there would be a market for a worldwide search engine outside the jurisdiction of our overreaching government. It would have to have no ties to the U.S.-based search giants like Google and Yahoo!, so the overseas versions of those engines are out, since we really can't prove if the hardware they use is in the countries they serve or not. The BBC has a search engine on their site that searches the entire web, but something in the back of lizard brain thinks maybe they do that in conjunction with Google, although I can't find any references to that now (that's a weakness of the blog search engines like Technorati; they're so focused on displaying the latest links that they make it hard to find something that was maybe posted about a year or two ago....)

Props to Google for fighting the subpoena, unlike their brethren in the industry who just laid down and thought of England. But who knows if they'll win their argument? It may be prudent to find an alternate.

Posted at 10:45 PM

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Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

speaking as an aol employee, the company hasn't told us anything about their involvement. i did see a newspaper article, though, that said that the records that aol handed over were already publically available.

Posted by shirley at 9:54 AM, January 25, 2006 [Link]

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

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