Nathan Weinberg at InsideGoogle reports that Google and MSN might be blocking certain query strings used by “script kiddies” and other hackers. Nathan reports that he hasn’t been able to confirm on his own and asks for help. Weinberg then moves into a thought provoking discussion that asks some important questions about the implications of blocking queries. He writes that in some cases, like looking for vulnerabilities, blocking is a public service but he’s not sure of the precedent it might be setting, assuming this is actually happening in the first place.
What if, in the future, Google decides to block all commonly used searches that can be used to harm others. For example, what if Google decides to block ?i am 9..12 years old?, a query that can be used by pedophiles to find children of a certain age range? What if Google decided to block searches for gun trade shows, or steroids, or porn?…Even as Google fights the Department of Justice for our privacy rights, it is important to remember that we have the right to search for the wrong things.
Kudos to Nathan on an excellent post.