Google: Ethics, Algorithms and Pirates, Oh My!

July 28, 2017

That search engines have changed the way the world looks for information, no one will argue, but for as much good as Google and other major search engines have done at promoting the free sharing of all types of information, it has also allowed and, at the time, encouraged the illegal sharing of private property. Namely, search engines are encouraging, even if absently, piracy of music and video.

Recently, despite vowing the contrary, Google has been called out for pirate sites being found not only in the coveted ‘top 10’ of search results, but even highlighted by Google.

The findings aren’t going to help Google’s already contentious relationship with the music and video industries, both of which have spent years accusing Google of doing too little to prevent piracy. They’ve routinely argued that Google should outright remove pirate sites from its results, not just demote them…

Google claims the algorithm is to blame – it is too good at finding the results people want. This puts Google in yet another tough spot. Should they continue to let the algorithm rule, come what may, or tinker with it to punish pirates? If the latter is to be, what does this say for other controversial sites?

Catherine Lamsfuss, July 28, 2017


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