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Framing Search Engine Responsibilities



Published in Technology , News & Politics
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  • 1.
    • Emily Laidlaw
    • PhD Candidate
    • London School of Economics
  • 2.
    • Week ending 10/09/2010 Most Visited Sites UK (Hitwise):
    • Google UK
    • Facebook
    • eBay
    • Windows Live Mail
    • YouTube
    • BBC Homepage
    • MSN UK
    • BBC News
    • Wikipedia
    • Yahoo!UK & Ireland
  • 3.
    • UK Stats (Hitwise Oct 2010) (volume)
    • US Stats (Nielson January 2010)
      • Google UK 88.19% (78.73% based on visits)
      • 3.53% (6.98%)
      • Bing 3.05% (3.53%)
      • Yahoo! UK 2.65%
      • ASK UK 1.34%
      • Google 67.3%
      • Yahoo! 14.4%
      • MSN/Windows Live/Bing 9.9%
      • AOL 2.5%
      • Ask 1.7%
  • 4.
    • How does Google determine rankings?
    • How are people/businesses impacted by rankings?
    • What should its’ legal responsibilities be for their rankings?
      • Public interest?
      • Human Rights?
  • 5.
    • “ The reason that we think of the Internet not as a chaotic wasteland, but as a vibrant, accessible place, is that some very smart people have done an exceedingly good job of organizing it.” James Grimmelmann 2007
    • Control information flows
    • Shape public opinion
    • Categorize consumption
  • 6.
    • High rankings when don’t want it; (right to be forgotten)
    • Low rankings when want high (businesses going under);
    • Manipulation of Rankings:
      • Search Engine Optimization;
      • Google Bombing
  • 7.
    • Don’t fit into any traditional categories:– in media terms, they aren’t quite newspapers or broadcasters.
    • Sui Generis?
    • Problems with imposing duties:
      • Upset market balance;
      • Imposed innovation/diversity
    • In crafting where to go in regulatory terms the question is how search engines affect the public interest and human rights.
  • 8.
    • Algorithm Design
    • Entrenchment;
    • SEO
    • Google Bombing
    • Filtering mechanisms;
    • Third party trademarks
    • 2. Manual Manipulation
    • Paid Placements
    • Complaints and Removal
    • Removal at search engine behest
      • SearchKing v Google
      • Kinderstart v Google
      • Roberts v Google
  • 9.
    • What are search engines’ human rights responsibilities?
    • Whose rights? Search Engine rights vs. Users rights
    • Is article 10 even engaged?
    • Who regulates the rights? Whose responsibility?
    • What is the best regime going forward? Private or state or some combination thereof?
  • 10.
    • Commercial Speech vs User Speech
    • SearchKing v Google
    • Kinderstart v Google
    • Roberts v Google, Yahoo! And Microsoft
    • Langdon v Google
    Whose Right to Free Expression?
  • 11. Is Article 10 engaged?
    • 10(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
    • Search engines make information more accessible;
    • They are not content providers;
    • They shape engagement in democracy and participation in the public sphere.
  • 12. Other Issues
    • Article 6
      • Is there an entitlement to a fair and public hearing?
      • Are search rankings a determination of civil rights?
      • Do complaints concerning search rankings qualify as a dispute?
    • Framework Directive article 1(3)a “Internet Freedom Provision”
      • Does this cover search engines?
      • Is there a right to a fair procedure in determinations about information access or accessibility?
  • 13.
    • To delete information from search results: complain to website owner, contact Google re caching.
    • To complain about a low ranking:
      • To search engine provider (no complaints procedure akin to a hearing);
      • Global Network Initiative? No complaints procedure as of yet.
    • Lawsuit (long and expensive).
    • Do nothing.
  • 14.
    • Recognition of the public function of search engines and our dependence on them. Values:
      • Consistency in decision making;
      • A degree of transparency;
      • Respect for User Dignity;
    • 2. Recognize it as a human rights issue.
    • How to operationalize these values? A Right to be Heard aka complaints mechanism.
      • Internal codes fail to set standards;
      • CSR codes are of more discursive and moral force;
      • Mixed-regulatory approach optimal.
  • 15. Emily Laidlaw, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics [email_address]