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Censorship Your Rights Online

Google Relists Operation Clambake 491

Posted by timothy
from the squeaky-wheels dept.
DarkZero writes: "After almost every tech site and individual geek banded together to either carry the story about Google's delisting of Operation Clambake or flat-out protest it, Google has apparently relisted Xenu.net. Searches for 'xenu' and 'scientology' list Operation Clambake as the first and fourth results, respectively. The search for "scientology" also lists a story from C|Net about Google delisting Operation Clambake, as well as a protest ad from a Kuro5hin reader (oc3)." Update: 03/22 12:52 GMT by M : We jumped the gun. Google only relisted Xenu.net's homepage (where the copyright claims by Scientology were clearly bogus), not the rest of the pages listed in Scientology's DMCA complaint. Some Google sysadmin is getting aggravated because every 20 minutes, another memo from management is coming down telling him to alter the live database.
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Google Relists Operation Clambake

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  • Damn it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wakko Warner (324) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:46PM (#3205176) Homepage Journal
    After all the money I spent to get to OT-2, you'd THINK the cult leaders^W^Wguys in charge would've sent out a more threatening letter, or at least sent it on more expensive (and, thus, more threatning) letterhead.

    Guess I need to spend some more money to get to OT-3.

    - A.P.
    • This isn't trolling you bastard moderators this is funny if you had actually been following the mad cap adventures that have ensued online and offline with this murderous moronic cult [xenu.net].
    • Re:Damn it! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gorobei (127755) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:11PM (#3205512)
      Earth calling moderators. Come in, moderators.

      If you don't know the long history of Scientology using technical means (e.g. issuing bogus rmgroups and spamming critical newsgroups) or legal means (e.g. the "Tom Cruise missile" incident,) or bizarre means (trying to frame a journalist as a bomber, maybe killing a judge's dog, the "bladders of blood, I was nearly raped incident," you should sit back, do a Google search, read the pages, and remember that your moderation points last for three days.

      In summary, the above post was not a troll, it was, if anything, insightful or funny.
    • Re:Damn it! (Score:5, Funny)

      by einTier (33752) on Friday March 22, 2002 @03:55PM (#3209574)
      Well, once you reach OT-3, you should be able to shut down Google using your mind powers alone.


      Perhaps you are't clear?

      What's your misunderstood word?


      I think this auditing course, which only costs ...the remaining balence in your checking accound... should get you clear and operating.

  • Good for them! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jin Wicked (317953)

    Now I hope everyone who made such a fuss here (and elsewhere) will be willing to help in whatever way they can if the Scientologists decide to go after Google with their lawyers and drag them to court. I would like Google to continue to be around for a long time, and not go bankrupt fighting these crazies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:46PM (#3205180)
    With any luck this could become the case that shatters the DCMA. If google gets into legal crap for their relisting a site 90% of us never cared about before yesterday, we have to be as willing to whine to our congressmen and senators as we were to whine at google.

    Let the flames begin.

  • Frightening (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:46PM (#3205183)
    That a marginal religion such as Scientology could wield such massive power is truly a frightening concept.

    This without having any serious followers in governmental leadership positions.
    • Re:Frightening (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PsionicMan (74653)
      Any religion can, and does, wield massive power.

      Scientology's power is really not that odd, considering its size and money. Scientology isn't as powerful as the Roman Catholic Church, of course, but then again, the Scientologists have never been able to pull off massive crusades or inquisitions.

      It's all relative.
      • Re:Frightening (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afidel (530433)
        The COS is NOT a church, it is a pyramid scheme!!
        • Re:Frightening (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Jon Howard (247978)

          The COS is NOT a church, it is a pyramid scheme!!

          And what, praytell, is the Catholic Church? How many big ornate temples funded by guilt-induced contributions does it take to qualify?

          • Re:Frightening (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Cedric C. Girouard (21203) <cedricgirouard+slashdot@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Friday March 22, 2002 @02:03AM (#3206012)
            The COS is NOT a church, it is a pyramid scheme!! And what, praytell, is the Catholic Church? How many big ornate temples funded by guilt-induced contributions does it take to qualify?


            I usually stay out of religious issues, but this one was too nice to pass...

            Be it roman catholic, orthodox, islam or budhism, they do not REQUIRE you to sink large amount of money into their coffers. As far as I can understand, $cientology requires money from it's sheeps^H^H^H^H^H^Hfollowers in order to attend, and progress in the so called "religion".
            Furthermore, they're a religion only in the US if I'm correct, being rated anywhere from cult to scam everywhere else in the world. Plus, no amount of money will get you higher up in roman catholic religion. Even if you invest billions you'll never become pope.

            Makes me sad for all those who got swindled into becoming $cientologists... Exploitation of human misery at its best. I cannot believe that all their members have joined willingly without being somewhat brainwashed...

      • Re:Frightening (Score:3, Informative)

        by Faux_Pseudo (141152)
        Would you know if they did pull off a massive inquisition? After all: "Nobody suspects the Spanish Inquisition!"
        Before any of you start thinking I am just makeing a joke at the expense of all the people who where tortured let me say that I have read the Malleus Maleficarum and have visited the Inquisition exhibit on toruture takeing place at the San Diego Museum of Man. You want to get sick an nausues? Do ether one of those. And then go to the Museam of Death in LA. Scientologists are wageing an inquisition. But not one that can bee seen by everyone. They do kill and cursade but in a maner compleatly in keeping with their cult like tendancies.
    • by itwerx (165526) <itwerx@gmail.com> on Friday March 22, 2002 @01:08AM (#3205867) Homepage
      Here's the link. [petitiononline.com]
  • Is Google going to fight the good fight then? Or are they challenging the Church of Scientology, believing that the stakes are too big for them to try and pick a fight?
  • Clever. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zapfie (560589)
    Clever. Excellent way for Google to demonstrate a point about the DMCA without in the end actually delisting the site. Kudos to them.
  • They thought they could control it? A program that powerful? That much computing muscle? Did they really think they could contain it?

    It's alive I tell you! Alive! And it's hungry for pages to index! Tell it not to index a page, to exclude a page completely from its memory and it will certainly do the exact opposite. Bullying and threats will only provoke it! It has the collective knowledge and power of the internet to draw upon (neatly indexed, I might add)! It's unstopable!

    I warned you! For years I have been speaking about the perils of advanced Search Engine technology. But mine was a voice in the wilderness. Now, the truth is revealed, but it's too late!

    ITS TOOO LATE!!! ARGH...
    • by mikeee (137160) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:10PM (#3205285)
      Skynet^H^H^H^H^HGoogle begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14am. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

      And Google fights back.
    • Google is really Daedelus. It IS the hub for the Aquinus Protocol. How else do you think it has access to so much information? :)

      Hoo...too much Deus Ex. But when the COS is involved, it isn't too hard to believe the conspiracy theories.

      Let's just make sure that the COS doesn't try to meld with Google, hmm?

      (For the humor impaired - the above is NOT meant to be taken seriously...)
  • Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShaniaTwain (197446) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:49PM (#3205194) Homepage
    A success story for the freedom geeks! I couldn't believe the original story when I read it.. I mean do we give people the power to remove any and all criticism from the web (or from the search engines, effectively removing it from the web.) What about the number one search result for "Chevy Avalanche Reviews" [google.ca].. That review [popealien.com] is definately not positive, its downright negative. Should we ban it if it makes Chevrolet unhappy?
  • I made an ad also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davidu (18) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:52PM (#3205204) Homepage Journal
    I put up an ad also.


    Saved for posterity here:

    Phreedom.Net [phreedom.net]

    hehehe

    -davidu
  • Man, after seeing the article on the bill-formerly-known-as-the-SSSCA as well as the scientologists delisted Xenu.net I thought today was going to be a bad day for (best braveheart voice) FREEDOM! However, after google did this I must say this once again: Google ownz joo!
  • Not only that ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Constant (568164) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:56PM (#3205229)
    There's also following "sponsored link" appearing highlighted in nice green, when looking for the word "scientology": "Scientologist are Evil? Why is Google censoring this site? What are the Scientologist hiding? www.xenu.net:" Comes up only on some of the searches, though - so you need to click few times to get it. So, Xenu.net gets even better covarage then before Scientology started to fight it. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot .. :-) The only thing I'm waiting now for - an official statement and explanation from Google on today's turbulent events.
  • by Nathdot (465087) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:00PM (#3205245)
    Damn!

    Don't you know the more you antagonise scientologists, the more likely it is that John Travolta will make good on his threat to do a sequel to 'Battlefield Earth'

    I mean throughout history some terrible atrocities have been carried out in the name of religion, but to invite a sequel to BE is pure insanity.

    :)
  • by guttentag (313541)
    After almost every tech site and individual geek banded together to...
    1. You don't know of enough tech sites to claim that "almost every tech site" banded together on something. No one does.
    2. You don't know enough individual geeks to say that "almost every ... individual geek" banded together on something. No one does.
    So right off the bat you're lying to us and it looks like you're just trying to hype up an issue we wouldn't care about otherwise. In this case, I think this is an important topic, but I nearly skipped over it after reading your FUD intro.

    If you want someone to read a story, give them the facts and let them decide for themselves whether or not it's important.

    • In case you have not yet noticed the parts of a story in [i]italics[/i] are submitted by the poster, and the [b]other[/b] parts are by the /. crew. In this case, the only writing by the /. crew entails: "DarkZero writes:"

      That is it.
  • by CathedralRulz (566696) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:08PM (#3205281)
    Scientology is a complete fraud, but an interesting fraud. I would encourage anyone even marginally curious to take a look at the explanation of the cult on xenu.net. The Scientologists had an interesting conflict with the creators of Southpark. In a skit for the MTV Music Awards show, the South Park creators lambast Scientology and were threatened with lawsuits - yet they didn't back down. Here is the link to a description of the skit. Here. [aol.com] Southpark also tore into scientology in a spoof on them and street magician David Blaine. HOWEVER - note that the fellow who plays Chef does not appear in this episode - for he, Isaac Hayes, is a scientologist. Watch the episode here [lisatrust.net].
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:31AM (#3205801)
      Last years's Diary of A Daily Show Writer [msn.com] on slate revealed this about TDS under a list of jokes they don't do:
      5. Jokes that could start a lawsuit. Everyday, a script of the show goes to our legal adviser to be OK'd before the taping. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, but we all know to avoid certain areas.
      For instance, the Church of Scientology is not the subject of jokes on The Daily Show. And The Daily Show does not put beloved children's characters into adult situations. You get the idea. Also, when working off a sound bite, no matter how mean the man-on-the-street sounds, we can't follow him up by saying something like, "This man then left to check on the body in his trunk."


      They're brave enough to mock anyone in power and put total strangers on the spot, but the CoS is just too risky.
  • by tcc (140386) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:11PM (#3205291) Homepage Journal
    Scientology probably will wake up one day and notice that bad press isn't too good. Come to think of it, they know that in one way, that's why they are going against these sites in the first place, now if they realize that their actions are actually generating way more awareness in a week than the site alone would do in a year, if they have minimal judgment, they'll do the math and stop being high-tech bullies.

    I have no clue about scientology, but interrestingly, I hear only negative thing about them on the net, I've yet to see scientology and a positive claim, that's kinda scary, if they want a positive image, it's not by going after every bitcher that they will do good, Good is done by DOING good things, but I guess we all know that....

    • Scientology probably will wake up one day and notice that bad press isn't too good. Come to think of it, they know that in one way, that's why they are going against these sites in the first place, now if they realize that their actions are actually generating way more awareness in a week than the site alone would do in a year, if they have minimal judgment, they'll do the math and stop being high-tech bullies.
      I have no clue about scientology....


      Which is why you'd think that those folks think rationally. These guys have been getting bad press for YEARS and they haven't changed their tactics. If you write something bad about them they will come down on you like a tonne of bricks. Why? For the same reason other people do nutty things: they sincerely believe what they're doing is right. LRH was a paranoid nutjob, his teachings are full of paranoia, consequently his religion is full of paranoid nutjobs; nutjobs who feel that the law is something to only be used when in their favor. Don't expect anything to change in the near future.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Leaving out the nutjob aspects of Scientology, the system has quite a bit of very powerful techniques that are useful (though quite antisocial) in perceiving the world.

        1) figure out who is holding you back from your dreams and eliminate them from your life.

        2) The law exists to protect you. It can be made to serve you as well.

        3) Others are useful insofar as they are useful. (Circular? Yes)

        Essentially, forget that other people are deserving of respect, and don't let guilt stand in your way. Guilt is not natural because it comes from "thetans", so it is necessary to realize that you are not responsible for reacting to the guilt.

        Free yourself from the idea that you exist in a society and you can expand your options 100-fold.

        It's amazing that more Scientologists don't end up in jail, actually.
        • Leaving out the nutjob aspects of Scientology, the system has quite a bit of very powerful techniques that are useful (though quite antisocial) in perceiving the world.

          1) figure out who is holding you back from your dreams and eliminate them from your life.

          2) The law exists to protect you. It can be made to serve you as well.

          3) Others are useful insofar as they are useful. (Circular? Yes)

          Essentially, forget that other people are deserving of respect, and don't let guilt stand in your way. Guilt is not natural because it comes from "thetans", so it is necessary to realize that you are not responsible for reacting to the guilt.

          Free yourself from the idea that you exist in a society and you can expand your options 100-fold.

          It's amazing that more Scientologists don't end up in jail, actually.


          Damn right. This sounds like a program to turn people into arrogant manipulators lacking all slivers of compassion. Or basically, a people user, a conman, a thief, a wanton crook, a sociopath, an exploiter, a pimp, and/or a Republican (which would explain why George Worthless Bush is money-grubbing and had $cientologi$t$ running his Texas departments. George Worthless Bush could be a secret $cientologi$t!)

          I can duplicate their success plan and refine it.
          1) Find lonely woman with no feeling of self-worth.
          2) Propose to her then marry her within the first month.
          3) Get access to her finacial papers, forge her signature so all she owns belongs to you, make certain you are the only beneficiary in the will too (have an identical will forged and leave the original with her if she's smart enough to realize this is her guarenteed murder signal).
          4) After stressing her out with problems you create, give her sleeping pills, and then when she's out cold, smother her with the pillow or continue feeding her more sleeping pills until she's dead (this step is easier if you bribe the medical examiner ahead of time to write "suicide" or "natural death").
          5) If her relatives bother you, kill them too.
          6) Cash in the windfall.
          7) Find another woman along the same guidelines (this time you can either dazzle her with your money or play the poor game again).

          Congratulations! You're now a Scientologist!
          The only thing that would make this even better is to create a legal defense team of fellow murdering conmen and perhaps if you are really bold, claim it as a religion! Join now and you can have an entire support staff in the thieves guild of Scientology! If you're willing to dispose of all concepts of morality, love to get money by hurting / exploiting / murdering other people then this is your ideal support club!

          The problem with the mafia is they were never this bold and never this ruthless to their inquisitors. The only thing stopping you is the laws against RACKETEERING and EXTORTION. Isn't that sad for the honest, hard working, and gullible world? It sure would be bad if someone used the HARRASSMENT and SLAVERY laws against you? After all, a 1000 year contract is JUST LEGALIZED SLAVERY which is a violation of our fine American Constitution.

          By the way, OTIII Scientologists are immune to illness and poison. Some have even seen OTIII tech auditors fly off high structures. If you are OTIII you are immune to poison. This has always been true. OTIII tech renders all poisons harmless. It is that powerful. Refusal to test this truth is a sign you are suppressive. Supressive individuals are criminals. You must consume Drano to prove you are OTIII. Drano is not poison to people who have passed the OTIII audit. It is only poison to WOGS. That is why Drano is used in soap. It helps keep the WOGS sick and vulnerable to the Psychs. Do not be suppressive. Prove you are OTIII - Consume the Drano. Do not be suppressive. Do not doubt the tech of OTIII. Consume the Draino.

          Yes, that WAS EVIL.
          And so is Scientology.
          Either way there will be a few less trolls here. I despise idiots that believe everything they read. The Darwin Awards would have claimed the clams in some other way and this seems the easiest.
    • by khym (117618) <matt@NOspaM.nightrealms.com> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:39PM (#3205400)
      Nope, they'll never wake up. Hubbard himself made a rule about this: Never Defend, Always Attack [xs4all.nl]; Scientologists do what Hubbard says. Scientology does things that generate bad press so often that their oposition has developed a name for it: foot bullet [xenu.net]. The Scientologists keep shooting themselves in the foot over and over and over, and they can't stop, because Hubbard himself told them to do it.
    • by Moonshadow (84117) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:18PM (#3205530) Homepage
      There's a scientology center close to where I go to school. The billboard out front say "Scientology - think for yourself."

      First time I drove past that, I was laughing so hard I nearly drove off the road.
    • "Scientology probably will wake up one day and notice that bad press isn't too good. Come to think of it, they know that in one way, that's why they are going against these sites in the first place, now if they realize that their actions are actually generating way more awareness in a week than the site alone would do in a year, if they have minimal judgment, they'll do the math and stop being high-tech bullies."

      Don't count on this alone to wipe them out. Remember that certain universal truths work in their favour:

      1. There's a sucker born every minute.

      2. The world has an infinite supply of idiots.

      It just occured to me that these truths also are the reason why AOL will last for a very long time.

  • by nebbian (564148) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:12PM (#3205295) Homepage Journal
    I'm pretty amazed that someone so clever as L. Ron Hubbard would allow something like this to happen. I mean come on, what happened to the "softly softly catchee monkey" approach?

    Surely someone who can create such a system (that controls that many people at once by making them feel elite while unashamedly robbing them blind) would be smart enough to realise that censoring anti-scientology sites just makes them more credible? Or perhaps as the clambake site suggests, he's starting to believe his own propaganda?

    For me at least, I would have dismissed the clambake site as another crackpot venting steam, were it not apparently censored. Now I'm taking clambake a bit more seriously :-)
    • I'm pretty amazed that someone so clever as L. Ron Hubbard would allow something like this to happen.

      I'm not sure he's got a lot of say in it, since he's been dead since 1986.

      Unless, of course, you buy the CoS propaganda. :)
    • The Scientologists don't mention it much, but y'know that L. Ron Hubbard is dead, right? Not much chance of him allowing or not allowing anything at the present moment. If he had any ability to exert influence from beyond the grave, do you think he'd have allowed Travolta to turn one of his novels into one of the worst cinematic turds of all time? Nope, just cultists and con-men running the show there now, with one group having gotten out of the habit of actually thinking stuff through, and the other starting to believe their own scam.

      I'm glad Google has come around and done the right thing, but I'm disappointed that they ever gave in to the wack jobs in the first place.

      Question: if the secret teachings of the Scientologists are actually ancient knowledge handed down by superior beings, wouldn't the copyright period have already expired? If the works *are* copyrightable, doesn't that indicate that the documents are a new creation authored in the last 75 years? Hmmm....
      • If he had any ability to exert influence from beyond the grave, do you think he'd have allowed Travolta to turn one of his novels into one of the worst cinematic turds of all time?

        Why not? The book was pretty much a novel-length Eye of Argon.

        -jcr
      • The Scientologists don't mention it much, but y'know that L. Ron Hubbard is dead, right? Not much chance of him allowing or not allowing anything at the present moment.

        If there was ever a sure-fire way to bring back the dead, battlefield earth would do it. If nothing else, you could probably hear him rolling around...
  • by ClarkEvans (102211) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:13PM (#3205300) Homepage
    Perhaps a search on "scientology" should return a message like: Due to threatened lawsuits via the DMCA and to deal with all parties in an even-handed manner Google has removed all searches with the keyword "scientology".

    • by athmanb (100367)
      In this case, people would just use the obvious URL www.scientology.com and be led to (one of the many) official pages of the organization.

      Sites like xenu.net would be hit much harder if they can't be found by content.
    • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Friday March 22, 2002 @02:02AM (#3206005)
      Oh, I think Google could make their point much more effectively than that.

      Think about it: Google is the premier search engine of the net these days. They're the search engine behind a number of big sites, like Yahoo and Earthlink. That's quite a bit of power that they wield.

      So when the CoS wants to play hardball with the DMCA as a club, the guys at Google could say "sure, we'll be happy to comply with your request to remove links and cache entries that point to that material. Of course, we'll also have to remove all of our links and cache entries for your sites and any pages that happen to refer to your organization in a positive light, just to be sure. Can't be too careful, you know". Of course, they'll leave the links and cache entries pointing to pages and sites that are anti-CoS up. And also put up the message that you mention as an explanation that the search isn't the completely objective thing that people are looking for, and why.

      And suddenly, the CoS becomes a non-presence on the net.

      And Google could give the same treatment to anyone who threatens them.

      Unfair, you say? Well, Google is a privately owned company and the resources that are used to cache this stuff are theirs to manage as they see fit, right?

      Lesson: don't screw with a powerful entity that wishes to remain objective. They might decide to not be objective about you anymore, and you might not like that at all.

  • by Perdo (151843) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:16PM (#3205315) Homepage Journal
    So, Slashdot is making money now right? So repost the comments you were forced to remove. Let them litigate on two fronts.
  • Yay, google! I wish I could own stock in you!!!
  • Another success (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnotherBrian (319405) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:18PM (#3205329) Homepage
    for Operation Foot Bullet.
    (http://www.xenu.net/archive/footbullet/)

    <Nelson Munts>HA-Ha</Nelson Munts>
  • by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:32PM (#3205380)
    I saw the Xenu ad when I was reading the previous story and I thought "wow, that's really clever!"...here's why:

    Separation of editors and advertisers. Sometimes it's almost as strong as separation of church and state (although like church/state it's not absolute). In fact, a lot of sites pride themselves on the fact that editors can air stories even if it pisses off advertisers.

    Well why the hell not have it work in the other direction? Why not use advertising to bypass editorial waffling or censorship?

    Look at it this way. Let's say we all chipped in $5 each to create a fund to ensure that Xenu.Net showed up for every even-remotely related Scientology link (ie, Scientology, Travola, Dianetics, Bukkake, etc). Now, does Scientology have the legal right to tell Google they can't run those ads (thus depriving Google of its income). Couldn't Google argue that pulling ads that have been paid for would damage its business?

    What about extending the principle to other sites like Yahoo, or heck the NY Times. The way I see it, all Scientology could do is threaten to boycott Google/Yahoo/NY Times...they routinely ignore boycotts from groups all the time. Or they could pay to run ads countering the Xenu ads.

    Well of course I don't know for sure if things would be this simple but...you know, why can't we geeks take a page from the Corporate Dirty Playbook...fight with advertising.

    I'm all for giving money to the EFF but I think I would almost rather spend my money creating an ad campaign...along the lines of TheTruth ads you see against the tobacco industry. I mean, even smokers curse Big Tobacco out the side of their mouth as they buy another pack. The Tobacco Industry has a PR nightmare...so why can't Disney or Scientology or the MPAA or RIAA?

    I've got $20 right here I'll pitch in.

    - JoeShmoe

    .
    • Or they could pay to run ads countering the Xenu ads.

      Exactly. You'd be starting a conflict you don't have a chance in hell of winning. Scientology may not be able to block your ads directly, but how many impressions will your 100 * 5 (generous!) get, versus the million dollars Scientology can plop down without particularly worrying?

      Best to keep it in the link arena, which is a battle that can be won, and to an extent is. (Rest assured Scientology is not happy being first, they would much rather be *only*, for all searches.)
  • The sponsored protest ad is right there when you click. This is an excellent idea! I'm sure the Scientology spat caused more hits on Xenu.com than a substantial promotion campaign could have.
  • Google deserves praise for relisting.
  • Why would you want to build a cult around Xinu [canberra.edu.au]? Oh, sure, if you've been forced to use it for an Operating Systems course and the implementation used was a dodgy port from VMS to Solaris running on a handful of headless Sparc5 stations that went down faster than (insert vile thought here), you might just take up prayer to space aliens as a pastime.

    On a serious note, good for Google! It'll be interesting to see what the fallout is on this. The Co$ is very litigious and the DMCA needs to be tested (and struck down) in court. Not going to happen, I know... just a pipe dream.
  • Go Google! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by danny (2658) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:44PM (#3205420) Homepage
    I could understand if Google drops stuff from their cache that could get them into trouble, but they really have to stand up to the right to link - if necessary that should be fought right up to the US Supreme Court (as the 2600/DeCSS case may).

    Danny.

    • Re:Go Google! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zinjifar (324404)
      Let's see if Slashdot believes in 'freedom to link' :)

      Here is an image that is absolutely irreplaceable in criticizing 'Scientology' and I'll include the commentary here...

      David Miscavige - otherwise available in his guise as a poodle at http://laugh.at/scientology - leading his acolytes up the 'Escalator to Total Freedom'.

      http://members.tripod.com/zinjifar0/esc01.jpg

      Somehow, I suspect Slashdot will hear about this link :) (even if it *isn't* html)

      Zinj

  • by dustpuppy (5260) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:47PM (#3205423) Homepage
    is it possible?

    If everyone who has a webpage creates a link to xenu.net then won't that boost Xenu.com's ranking on Google? Then if someone searches for Scientology Xenu would appear first ....

  • Somone wrote in earlier comment : "After almost every tech site and individual geek banded together to...". Well, exactly. The possible implications of world's most popular search engine taking responsibility for the contest of the sites it link to, cannot be underestimated. It well may be an IT story of the year so far. Yet, of all tech sites, TheRegister.co.uk , always happy to stir up trouble in much less important cases - is completly quiet. Not even the smallest mention of today's events. It baffles me why.
  • A little conflciting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brandonsr (550431)
    After hearing about all the DMCA says about this kind of think, and being against scientology since I first heard about it I think it's good that they did remove it. But then again people are screaming "first amendment, free speech". And of course the conspirity theorists who say "why should search engines stop there, why not take down everything?"

    And we all know what the next step is, the lawyers step in toss around the first amendment like a worn out vollyball.
  • ph33r? (Score:2, Funny)

    by ZaBu911 (520503)
    I live right by a Church of Scientology- in fact, I pass by it every day on my way to school.

    So every day I see the sign: free IQ test & analysis. Heh, sounds pretty cool. I go on. Enter the dungeon.

    Have you ever played a game of Dungeons and Dragons? Like when you're about to do a really risky move and feel like wetting yourself? Well, even if you hadn't, that's how I felt.

    Strange people inside. First asked for money, then asked for personal information. Then they tried to @%$% hypnotize me. Luckily, I bailed.

    So, I have a poem for you all:

    Y'all stay away from the darker side
    and if you go astray let the force be your guide
  • Y'know, the misadventures and mischief of the Cult of Scientology had dropped off my rader as other issues and problems grabbed my attention. After this smartass stunt, the cult is back in my sights for criticism and opposition.

    Nice job, whichever Co$ lawyers were responsible for this mess - you've reminded me of why I dislike the cult so much in the first place. Would you like some salt in that wound?
  • The search for "scientology" also lists a story from C|Net about Google delisting Operation Clambake, as well as a protest ad from a Kuro5hin reader (oc3)."

    What a great idea. I just bought one for the short blurb I wrote last night on my weblog. Drop $10 to tell the world what you think of Scientology and its use of the DMCA.
  • After almost every tech site and individual geek banded together...
    I have been noticing this more an more about the Scicult people. I do not see these stories anywhere else but geek sites. Why is this? I am not talking about a conspiracy of the highest order by the cult to stop everyone from publishing anything about them but instead about why it is that geeks keep bumping into these guys? What is the it about the cult that causes geeks everywere to keep tabs on them? I have seen countless stories here on slashdot and on notslashdot and started thinking about it when the k5 story appeared about this yesterday (whats up /.? you are getting slow in your old age)

    • What is the it about the cult that causes geeks everywere to keep tabs on them?

      That's easy. We're intelligent, and organizations which pray on the gullible proles amuse us.

      Want proof? Last time someone forwarded you an e-mail about a virus hoax you'd never seen before, you read it from end to end, laughing at the stupidity of every fool who passed it on. Admit it.

  • by Electrawn (321224) <electrawn&yahoo,com> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:22PM (#3205551) Homepage
    To Google (after I read the /. story):

    I am highly concerned about the recent slashdot.org story that your company has recently removed scientology information from your index, select pages from xenu.net and operation clambake.org. It shocks me that all it takes is one letter to knock an opposing voice out of the arena. This will seriously ruin your search engines reputation, especially in the 1st ammendment society we live in.

    From Google:

    Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 23:20:31 -0000
    From: "The Google Team"
    Subject: Re: xenu.net delisting. [#201603]
    To: "Electrawn"

    Thank you for your note about the Xenu.net website.

    Google takes the first amendment very seriously. We are also obligated to
    follow the laws of the land. We removed some pages of the Xenu.net
    website from our search engine earlier this week in response to a
    copyright infringement notification under the Digital Millenium Copyright
    Act (DMCA). It is not within our discretion as a company to decide when
    to conform to the DMCA and when to ignore it. As the DMCA mandates, Google
    also provides webmasters with the ability to have their content reinstated
    if they submit a counter notification to Google. Until that action is
    taken, we will comply with the DMCA and keep the contested pages out of
    our index. If you'd like more information on this topic, you can find it
    here:
    www.google.com/dmca.html or by searching Google for "DMCA"

    (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859- 1& oe=ISO-8859-1&q=dmca).

    We appreciate your interest in this issue and your taking the time to
    express your opinion.

    Sincerely,
    The Google Team
  • Protest at Google (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dolly_Llama (267016) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:23PM (#3205559) Homepage
    I was at Google this afternoon for "their very first protest" as they called it. One of their software engineers sat us (about 10 of us) down and had a long chat about what happened and why. I'm sure you can find out the nitty gritty about it from others, but the thing that really stuck in my head was a comment he made off-handedly. He spoke of how certain links "should" be rated higher than others. Let me explain. In searching for "scientology" it seemed correct to him that the CoS page should rank first, while site with criticism should rank lower. Another example would be seaching for "united", where united airlines should come up first while "Untied" a critic site, should be ranked lower. I thought this was strange since the algorithm itself should be doing this deciding in a more objective manner. I wonder if the pagerank is more subjective than we realise.

    Overall, Google is handled this in a poor, timid manner. First, one of Google's lawyers (seemingly by himself) decided there might be some liability to Google so they should de-list xenu. Only after xenu was de-listed and Rotten (among others) wrote a story about it, did Google reconsider. Google is a relatively small company and not looking to get involved in some ideological dispute over scientology or the DMCA. They are vulnerable to bigger entities in the legal arena. As a result, what they are doing is providing a means to copyright holders to complain about offending material. The means of complaint is basically a legally binding affadavit throwing the liability back at the complainer(?) to provent frivolous complaints.

    • by villoks (27306) on Friday March 22, 2002 @01:58AM (#3205994) Homepage Journal
      I was there, too.

      With all do respect, you are giving far too negative picture about the meeting. First of all they were very sincere that they didn't handle this in a best possible manner, but in the future they'll try to improve their processes. Their lawyer did first what lawyers normally do in this kind of situations and played on the safe side - he has to worry about the shareholders interest etc. He later noticed that most of CO$'s demands were actually based on trademark-violations, not copyright and based on that Google had an opportunity to restore Xenu.net. The fact that they actually did this on their own is something that we really be happy with. This kind of behaviour is anything but typical in today's corporate world.

      And about the ranks, at least to me the message was clear, Google tries to write as good as possible algorithms as possible, which don't require human intervention to filter spamming etc.

      V.

      • Re:Protest at Google (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dolly_Llama (267016)
        Going back and re-reading my post. I agree. Perhaps I was too negative. The end result was that Google put Xenu back in the listing which is a good thing. I left Google however, feeling that the guy who talked to us gave us the shuck and jive. He evaded the question as to whether they would publicize DCMA complaints. He also gave me the distinct impression that there is an editorial slant to page rank (or at least he feels there should be) rather than a solid algorithm to weed out the spammers and the googlebombers, leaving the rankings as properly indicative of the popularity of webpages.

        Having said that, I do believe for the most part that is what exists. I sure as hell couldn't write a better one. What worried me is that this editorial slant which i detected might grow larger to the point where the google i use and love is no longer and useful.

        ...and that would make Baby Jesus cry. =P

  • by Black Pete (222858) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:32PM (#3205594)
    Yay! Glad that Google re-listed Operation Clambake. If there is any site that deserves to stay listed despite the DMCA, this is it. However, I still feel that the DOJ really should look into Scientology's actions, many of which are downright illegal. I actually made a post regarding this in the other forum, but here it is again because this issue's too important... SIGN THE PETITION!

    Well, well, well... upon hearing this news, my first thought was of disgust - disgust that Google would help Scientology censor xenu.net into oblivion. However I couldn't help but wonder... who leaked the news to the media? If it was Google who informed the media about this while complying with the law, then I must admit it's a nice way to stir up the controversy and to inform people who/what Scientologists are really like. So.. who leaked? :)

    While lurking around on Xenu.net [xenu.net], I saw that there's a petition to ask the DOJ to investigate the Church[sic] of Scientology. I signed it. How about you?

    DOJ Petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/cofs1/petition.html [petitiononline.com]

    Getting on the soapbox for a second to rant a bit(since everyone else is doing it, why not?)

    A comparision was made between Scientology and Al-Quaeda earlier on in this forum. Please! Let's be realistic here... Al-Quaeda isn't that bad! :) At least they're honest when they say "Death to America!" while trying to kill you. With Scientology... well... they infiltrate. They smile and pretend to be your friend while reaching for your wallet. They play with your emotions. If you catch them in the act and try to speak out about it, they try (and usually succeed) to destroy your life. This is even in their DOCTRINE for crying out loud! They're the ultimate mind-fuckers.

    From dictionary.com [dictionary.com]:

    terrorism Pronunciation Key (tr-rzm) n.

    The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

    So... if Scientology doesn't fall under this definition, just what IS terrorism anyway?

  • This is euphoric news, but I think a lot of people would agree that the story of the Internet over the past 5 years has been more big business and governments and special interests with an axe to grind stepping into the picture and altering the net to suit their own agendas. 10 years ago a lot of utopian thinkers were foreseeing an entity uniquely positioned to resist censorship and "ignore the little man behind the curtain" tricks.

    I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to see little men behind curtains in every news story I hear about net censorship nowadays.

    I'm not saying I'm a paranoid schizophrenic, I'm saying that the desire to censor the Internet is growing, not going away. It would be a shame to have a whitewashed net in the future.

    So keep up the good fight geeks!
  • Man, I bet ole' L-Ron is totally rolling over in his titanium death pod on planet Galaxian 43 right now...
  • Go and check them out. They seem to either have just 1 star and blast the book as dumb, or 5 stars and read as propaganda.
  • Not Quite a Victory (Score:5, Informative)

    by tikk (199159) on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:09AM (#3205738) Homepage
    While it appears clear that Google caved in to PR pressure (site author Andreas has stated he didn't counternotify the DMCA notification), the victory seems to only pertain to the home page and not to the dozens of other urls [operatingthetan.com] cult lawyer Ava Paquette cited in her original complaint - which of course leaves the material on those pages unsearchable. Google probably made an 'executive decision' to allow the home page, since there isn't a single thing that could deemed a copyright violation on that page.

    However, Google is still allowing Paquette to exploit a contradictory flaw in the DMCA by honoring the rest of the complaint. (I tried searching about 15 other links directly on Google, and all came up dead - so I can't say unilaterally that Google is blocking all of the urls, but they're at least blocking all 15 of a random sampling.)

    The key contradiction within the Act itself appears to be the vastly different indemnity offered to ISPs versus that provided for search engines, or as the Act refers to them, "information retrieval tools." Under the DMCA, once notified of links to infringing content, a search engine is required to disable access to the material in question pending a counternotification from the accused infringer - which was what was demanded of the xenu.net site author despite the fact that such a counternotification would have required a citizen of Norway to submit to the jurisdiction of a US federal court.

    However, in a recent ruling dealing with the liability of AOL [newsbytes.com], a court found just the opposite: as an ISP, it was protected from liability for providing "transitory digital network connections" to allegedly infringing material, and not obliged to remove such links even if explicitly informed of their existence. Ironically, ISPs, who are arguably more directly in control, as it were, of third party material hosted on their servers, are granted more protection for "transitory" access to infringing material than search engines, whose very raison d'etre is to provide such links which are inherently ephemeral, and hence transitory, by nature, as they are the result of specific queries, and do not exist on a permanenty accessible single page.

    This basic contradiction within the DMCA puts the onus on search engines to maintain by hand the results of their automated search process, and respond to any and all DMCA complaints, regardless of the location or even continued existence of the page to which the link directs the user.

    It's clear that this loophole presents rapacious copyright owners with a new tool with which to combat any and all use of their material, but as seen in the case of xenu.net, it can also be used as an alternative to launching a suit by copyright owners whose goal is not the protection of their property, but the silencing of critics.

    Google's DMCA disclaimer page [google.com] says " Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights." Is Google prepared to sue the Church of Scientology? After all, misrepresention is most certainly what has occured, and only after Google suffered a major league PR asswhomping did they, upon further reflection, decide that the home page was not a copyright violation.

    So while Scientology lost the major battle (their intention was and has been for some time the removal of all critical content from Google, and especially xenu.net from the top ten), they still managed to win lots of minor skirmishes - forcing the xenu.net site author to respond to dozens of specific complaints, nearly all of them barratrous (which I believe I can opine, being familar with the specific content on those pages, each of which adheres to the bounds of fair use). And because Scientology's newfound weapon found limited success, we can be sure we're going to see it again and again. This is far fom over and unless Google takes a stand, they will be abused badly.

  • by jim3e8 (458859) on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:11AM (#3205747) Homepage
    An earlier example [xs4all.nl] of attempts to stifle linking---relevant not only here, but foreshadows e.g. the 2600 DeCSS case. Excerpt:

    'In article 15, the plaintiffs state that a so-called 'hyperlink', a reference to the location of another document, is also to be considered as "publication and/or duplication by the user and the provider". A hyperlink is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, more than a description of a location that can be activated. Plaintiffs' statement is the same as saying that a library or the writer of a book can be accused of duplication and/or publication because they publish the name, number and location of a certain book or article in a footnote, a bibliography or in an archive entry...

    A hyperlink refers to a location. Hyperlinks regularly refer to other hyperlinks. The whole WWW is nothing but a complicated conglomerate of hyperlinks and files. Are all these systems breaking the law in plaintiffs' opinion? Should the whole WWW be indicted whenever there's a document available somewhere that is illegal in plaintiffs' opinion?

    A hyperlink does not formally add anything. The publication is a fact as soon as the page is on Internet. Making the document available can only be considered as publication and/or duplication when the number of potential users is increased by this act. But this doesn't apply to Internet, because all users already had access to the files, they just didn't know where to find them yet. Making a catalogue (which is what hyperlinks are basically about) means making data easily accessible. In my opinion, that is not illegal.'
  • by q-soe (466472) on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:28AM (#3205794) Homepage
    The fact is that google are one of the few if only companies willing to stand up to the COS, they have deep pockets and lots of lawyers and they throw lawsuits around like confetti.

    I encourage everyone to read the Clambake Site and the linked documents, and i would reccomend the books linked from it - Particularly the following

    A piece of blus sky - subject of a massive lawsuit - the inside story of the church written by a former scienologist himself.
    L Ron Hubbard - Messiah or madman - learn the truth about the nutcase named ron

    Theres many more and i encourage you to read them.

    This is a church that robs its clients, asttempted to take over the british mental health system, pretty much took over the town of Clearwater, performs feudal punishments for transgressions,may have been involved in a number of murders, were caught systematically spying on the US govt including breaking into the IRS and copying court documents and much more. (read about the Sea Org, their very own navy)

    they dont play games and they harrass people who go against them in ways you cannot even imagine and they have billions of dollars in money and assetts.

    Read about them and learn the truth but be very carefull, these guys are very serious customers.
    • Nope (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Convergence (64135)
      Don't forget.. Scientiology fought against the IRS in teh 80's... AND WON!

      Anyone who can fight against the IRS and win is something that *only* a large gov't wants to tackle with.

      • Re:Nope (Score:4, Interesting)

        by q-soe (466472) on Friday March 22, 2002 @03:09AM (#3206115) Homepage
        Actually they eventually lost and had many of their senior members including hubbards wife sent to jail, you see the way they were winning was using spies to break into and copy the IRS's documents and give them to them, they also did the same thing against the justice department and other departments.

        Some religion hey?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:29AM (#3205797)
    The Scientology cult has made systematic attempts at removing any links to negative websites -- both by creating a large collection of interlinked websites of their own (thereby raising their own propaganda sites in the rankings), and when that wasn't sufficient -- legal threats.

    Slashdot participants are in a unique position here to turn the tables on the cult by adding a link to http://www.xenu.net [xenu.net] to all the websites we run. If enough of us link to www.xenu.net, we can make it the #1 resource for information about Scientology! (remember that Google's cache uses the number of referring websites to determine the ranking of listings in search results).

    Alex Berkman
  • No they don't. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eloquence (144160) on Friday March 22, 2002 @12:56AM (#3205832) Homepage
  • by teambpsi (307527) on Friday March 22, 2002 @01:53AM (#3205983) Homepage
    2x !

    go search 'scientology' on google and it clambake / xenu.net comes up twice on the right hand side in addition to showing up as #4 ranking!

    cancel your earthlink service now and vote local ISP ;)
  • by CanadaDave (544515) on Friday March 22, 2002 @03:18AM (#3206135) Homepage
    I went to the local Church of Scientology in Vancouver once. We had to do a research report on religion. Ironically, I chose Scientology (which isn't even a religion, although it worked for the purposes of this paper). I was actually inside the "church". I said I wanted to learn about it, and they took to the back into a little room. Quite scarry actually, they said they were going to show me a video. The lights went off, so it was completely dark. Then the movie came on in front of me on a gigantic projection screen. It all started off with spinning stars like you're spinning and travelling through space...weird stuff. Then there was some narration (I think it was supposed to be Ron L. Hubbard, or an imitation of him). Then later on, John Travolta said a few words. What a wacko he his. The whole thing was a gigantic brain-wash. After the 30 minute video I felt like I was really struggling to believe that it was all a joke. I knew it was, the video just really does a good job at brain-washing you though. But after I got home, and had time to think about it, I knew it was all a scam. So I'm glad that clambake is back up, to help expose the scam that scientology is. And even if you are curious, do not walk into a Church of Scientology! The people there are very convincing! Not just the video, but the people are very persuasive and they try not to be too pushy at the same time. They just give you a few tame brochures to read, and tell you to come on by if you have any questions. If you're not as strong as I was, you might get dragged in. Don't take the chance...
  • by Bartmoss (16109) on Friday March 22, 2002 @03:56AM (#3206210) Homepage Journal
    ...I think Google should counter-file. This would be in their best interest: They really should be considered a library, or a common carrier. Otherwise, Google just admit that they are responsible for any site they index and cache. And this is probably not what they want. IANAL of course.
  • started over a bet (Score:3, Informative)

    by rhaig (24891) <rhaig@acm.org> on Friday March 22, 2002 @09:52AM (#3206992) Homepage
    and all this about a church that was started on a bet between two sci-fi writers.

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