Thursday, February 14, 2008

GOOGLE censors InnercityPress violating the United States Constitution and UN's Human Rights Declaration

In a unprecendented move that could violate directly the United States Constitution as well as United Nations's Human Rights Declaration, GOOGLE pressured from "external complains" (like the UNDP) censored Innercity-Press (http://innercitypress.com/) from Gloogle News Services and from indexing in its search engines.

The following email was received at InnercityPress offices in New York:
Subj: Google News
Date: 2/8/2008 8:32:24 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: The Google Team
To: Inner City Press

We periodically review news sources, particularly following user complaints, to ensure Google News offers a high quality experience for our users. When we reviewed your site we've found that we can no longer include it in Google News.
--

Silencing a voice of truth in the United Nations, a veteran of press as well as the vice president of the UN's registered correspondent's association, is unprecendented and shows the desperation of the Ban Ki Moon and Kemal Dervis's regimes, and that those "external complainants" have forgotten that this is the United States of America and not China.

This move is a failed attempt to censor media, freedom of speech and material deemed "objectionable" to United Nations authorities. The public, the american tax-payers (and beyond) deserve to know the truth about what is happening inside the United Nations, and this censorship behaviour would drive all public away to other independent sources and companies.

UNDP Watch together with all other responsible media around the world will be joining forces to denounce this dictatorship and censorship. The above event shows that esasperation of Kemal Dervis has come to the end, he con no longer keep quite its organization now goes on the limb against the most basic human rights, FREDOM TO SPEAK.

In solidarity to InnercityPress we are publishing here their story on the above. UNDP Watch will continue to monitor this situation.

Google, Asked About Censorship at the UN, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UNDP

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, February 14 -- Google, after being publicly questioned at the UN about not signing on to the human rights and anti-censorship principles of the Global Compact, responded not by joining the Compact and foreswearing from censorship but by moving to de-list from its Google News service the media organization which raised the question. More than two years after Inner City Press was included into Google News, in a February 8 message referring to the receipt of a complaint, Google said it would be removing Inner City Press from the news database.

In late 2007, Google's chief technologist Michael T. Jones took questions at a UN press conference with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Development Program chief Kemal Dervis promoting Google's involvement in mapping the UN's anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals. Inner City Press, accredited media at the UN, asked Mr. Jones if Google was a member of the UN Global Compact, through which corporations sign up to principles of human rights including non-censorship. Video here, from Minute 30:21.

Google's Jones at first delayed answering the questions, noting that Google was the third of Inner City Press' three questions -- the first two were to the UN Development Program's Kemal Dervis about the absence of North Korea from the data base, the second to Cisco about censorship. Then, on camera, Jones said he did not know of Google was a member of the UN Global Compact, that he would reply later. Video here, from Minute 32:37.

While Google is said to have a contract with UNDP, Google was not a member of the Global Compact then, and is not one as of this writing. Rather, Inner City Press was notified by "Google Team," with no further attribution, that it would be de-listed from the Google News service, in which it had been included since 2005. Google's notification referred to "user complaints." Inner City Press immediately asked to be informed of the identity of any institutional complainant, including Google itself. Beyond that, certainly, there are others with complaints about Inner City Press' investigative coverage, at the UN, in Myanmar, UNDP and elsewhere.

In fact, UNDP sources describe communications from the UN system to Google executives, asking that Inner City Press be de-listed from Google News, and that a blog with momentum, UNDP-Watch, be striken from that data base. Recently a whistleblower in UNDP's legal department had his office computer impounded and was told, you have visited InnerCityPress.com multiple times. While the interrogation reflected contempt for the freedom to read and freedom of the press, the issue goes far beyond the corporate culture at UNDP, to that of Google.


Google's Michael Jones, UNDP's Kemal Dervis, Ban Ki-moon and CISCO: censorship not shown

Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page have each been quoted dodging the question of Google's participation in the Chinese government's censorship of the Internet, saying only that Google contacted Beijing and came to an understanding. It now appears that after getting a taste of censorship in China -- and in Egypt, by some accounts -- Google has in this case brought the practice home to the United States.

Inner City Press, alongside requesting the name of institutional complainants and to be maintained in Google News, sought comment by e-mail from press@google.com and from Google's Michael T. Jones, whom it questioned at the UN. The latter has not responded. From press@google.com came a series of questions, which once answered, resulted in a vague assurance that indexing would continue.

But Inner City Press' two stories datelined Wednesday night, about a lack of transparency at the UN and its soft approach to Myanmar's military regime, were not included in Google News. Thursday afternoon, Nancy Ngo of Google's office of Global Communications stated that Inner City Press would be included "in a few weeks." But why was it removed? Developing -- Inner City Press remains included in Lexis-Nexis, ProQuest and other non-conflicted news data bases.

E-mail begins:

Subj: Google News
Date: 2/8/2008 8:32:24 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: The Google Team
To: Inner City Press

We periodically review news sources, particularly following user complaints, to ensure Google News offers a high quality experience for our users. When we reviewed your site we've found that we can no longer include it in Google News.

Full disclosure: should be clear from the above.

3 comments:

External said...

In fact, UNDP sources describe communications from the UN system to Google executives, asking that Inner City Press be de-listed from Google News, and that a well-read blog, UNDP-Watch, be striken from that data base.

Heavy-handed managers at the UNDP- where is freedom of speech and democracy when you need them.

External said...

My ANONYMOUS gmail account is not working but I wanted to send this URL;
http://agendabuilder.gartner.com/RISK2/WebPages/SessionDetail.aspx?EventSessionId=802

Is Fridakis allowed to talk about his UNDP IT Risk assessment tools to the outside world? I thought everything was pertinent to safeguard the agency :-(


Also check his biography:
Stephen G. Fridakis is the CISO of the United Nations Development Programme, the UN’s global development network. He is the former Chief Security Engineer of BearingPoint, Inc. where he had enterprise wide responsibility for IT security of government and defense contracts. His long experience in IT security includes the positions of Chief Scientist at CACI, VP of Professional Services at VeriSign. He has worked at Oracle, Netscape, and DHL. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, an MA in Computer Science, and a BEng in Naval Engineering. He has served in the USNR. A native of Greece lives in New York.

United States Navy Reserve

Leon Kukkuk said...

What an honour, and what fantastic recognition regarding the integrity of his work!
Mr. Matthew Russell Lee of Innercitypress should proudly consider the correspondence from Google as due reward for his efforts. There are not many rewards available for anybody tackling the corruption at the UN. He has received what must be the biggest compliment on offer.

This is what UNDP tells governments to do:
(taken from their UNDP PARAGON Training Module on Public Service Ethics and Accountability: Action Against Corruption And Fraud, A Role For Managers)

WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY?
Bottom up: the People
people-pressure prompts changes
politicians may respond with reluctance
the media has a crucial role:
- it needs to be free
- held responsible by libel laws
- to protect leaders and citizens
- otherwise loses credibility