The powerful and popular Internet search engine Google has seemingly secretly deleted certain controversial websites from its listings in Europe according to researchers, reports CNET’s

Apparently Google responded to legal threats potentially possible through laws in Germany and France. According to those laws hate literature can be prohibited.

Of course within the United States the propaganda of hate groups is protected by the First Amendment, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would have a field day with Google in the US over such action.

Google previously won praise for its pledge to submit information about any legal threats to a free speech advocacy website, after a controversy developed regarding the deletion of certain listings concerning critics of the Church of Scientology.

What will happen to free speech on the Internet?

Obviously if Internet users cannot find a site they won’t know what is expressed by its creators. And typically no matter how offensive free speech is in America it is defended. However, Germans do not always appreciate such freedom and likewise the French, who also experienced the devastation wrought by hate groups during World War II, are sensitive to this issue.

ACLU stalwart Barry Steinhardt said, “Over the long term, this will become a significant issue on the Net, there’s a wide variety of laws around the world prohibiting different forms of speech.”

Others suggest Google should at least note what it has done per their previous pledge in response to such legal threats, as it ultimately decided to do regarding Scientology. Internet watchdog Ben Edelman opined, “There’s no need to be secretive.”


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