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Following In Bing's Footsteps, Yahoo! and Flickr Censor Porn In India 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the searching-for-morality dept.
bhagwad writes "Following recent news on how Bing decided sex was too sensitive for India, Yahoo! and its associated site Flickr have decided to do the same. While it's true that this is because of India passing laws that prohibit the publication of porn, no complaint was ever launched (and never will be), and glorious Google still continues to return accurate and unbiased results. So why is Yahoo! doing this? Is it because of its tie-up with Bing? I assume this is the case. Indian ISPs have already told the government and the courts that it's not their job to restrict porn and it's technologically infeasible too. In the absence of a complaint, I can only assume that Yahoo! has decided to do this of their own volition. Given that the 'sex' search term is searched more in India than in any other country, isn't it the duty of Yahoo! to provide accurate results to its customers? It can always plausibly deny control of its results and claim that filtering porn is infeasible. Since Yahoo! already has a low search market share in India, this will drive it even lower."
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Following In Bing's Footsteps, Yahoo! and Flickr Censor Porn In India

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  • Wait a minute (Score:2, Interesting)

    by francisstp (1137345) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @11:32PM (#30590582) Homepage

    It can always plausibly deny control of its results and claim that filtering porn is infeasible.

    Well it's obviously feasible if they're actually doing it.

  • by mattventura (1408229) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @11:32PM (#30590584) Homepage
    Didn't Google do the same thing with China? Censor themselves or be completely blocked? Possibly, if Google was blocked, it would piss enough people off to lower the people's opinion of the government and possibly effect change. I don't know though, I don't live in India, so I don't know if a few million people being pissed about something like this would effect any changes from the government.
  • Says who? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by do_kev (1086225) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @11:35PM (#30590596)

    Since Yahoo! already has a low search market share in India, this will drive it even lower.

    I suspect the executives at Yahoo! don't share your opinion. It's not like they did this because of their personal moral codes; this is probably a calculated risk, based upon the societies public values, intended to increase market share by appearing to be more family-oriented and appropriate. The goal is to spawn conversations such as: "Oh, you're using Google? Haven't you heard about the immoral content it tries to force upon users?"

    I don't know if it will work, but it's not like it's downright stupid. Some people will consider this feature desirable. Others will consider the fact that people think they like this feature to be desirable. It's all a psychology game.

  • Re:Wait a minute (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mattventura (1408229) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @12:17AM (#30590798) Homepage
    Safe search is far form effective. It will filter out common search terms, yes, but it's not hard to find one it doesn't filter. Ironically, the auto-completer will show what is filtered, so you don't even have to check, so it's easier to find porn. For example, start typing something obvious like "creampie" into Google with safesearch on full, and it won't try to autocomplete it for you. Then, type "rule 34" into Google and look at all the suggestions it has for you. Searching for "rule 34" itself yields basically no pornographic results, no matter what the safesearch state is. However, pick something more specific from the list of choices the auto-completer has so nicely given you, and you get porn, even with safesearch on. All it does is filter it from people that don't actually know how to get around that kind of thing.

    Until google or someone figures out an algorithm to detect all boobs, genitals, etc in images, including cartoons and hand-drawn things, no automatic filtering will be truly effective.
  • Re:Well (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @02:27AM (#30591216)

    It is difficult to understand India, unless you have visited and lived for some time. There is a great level of hypocrisy in India about everything including sex.

    Sex is not new to India, and also it is not kept as hidden as we think. Kama Sutra is one example, Khajuraho temples in India showing different positions of intercourse is another example...and according to many experts, Shivalinga [wikipedia.org] worshipped almost everywhere in India is a symbol of sex. Of course, the worshipping represents respectful recognition of its importance and its discussion or public demonstration is not highly appreciated.

    A kiss by Aishwarya Rai in film could invite huge protest. Where as many other actors and actresses have kissed on screen and many actresses have exposed their breasts.

    In spite of being touchy about this issue, people like Rathod, who was a cop, can get away molesting a minor girl and evade law for 19 years and get away with very simple punishment. It is difficult for a normal Indian to understand that sexually frustrated cops like Rathod and loopholes in their system is more dangerous than a search engine submitting web pages what they are looking for.

    I have tough time to understand a normal Indian but probably it seems, they live in some kind of imaginary world and do not want to believe in practicality.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @03:24AM (#30591366)

    Democracy solves the problem better than anything else so far,...

    That depends on what you mean by "democracy". Pure democracy, where everything is decided by everyone voting, isn't feasible in a country the size of the USA (or India). But, more fundamentally, something like the USA's (and even India's) government consists of much more than letting people vote.

    For one thing, there's a whole system of checks and balances (e.g. separation of powers) and various mechanisms to promote transparency. And then there's the whole idea of "rule of law" - that you have a process rather than an individual (king) make decisions (e.g. whether someone is guilty of a crime and should be punished). But there's also basic stuff - like the concept of freedom - the idea that a person should be the one making the decisions that affect them (for example, a person should be free to say what they want even if the majority disagrees).

    So, unless you define "democracy" to be a whole hodgepodge of different mechanisms to try to make a government work well for its constituents (rather than just individual voting), democracy is definitely not better than anything so far (the hodgepodge is better - though less logically pure).

If it happens once, it's a bug. If it happens twice, it's a feature. If it happens more than twice, it's a design philosophy.

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