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March 03, 2004

Google testifies before the Supreme Court

I'm not talking about Google execs, or employees, or representatives. I mean the Google search engine gave testimony.

The article didn't actually say that it was Google. But recreating the search on a handful of the major search engines, and Google is the only one that produces a result close to "6,230,000 sites available". And in any event it was still a piece of software that gave the answer.

This is sort of like a version of the Turing Test. The Google system was asked a question, and its answer became part of the court's record.

Boston Globe:

...[US Solicitor General Theodore B.] Olson told the [U.S. Supreme Court] justices yesterday, he typed in those two words ["free porn"] in a search engine, and found that "there were 6,230,000 sites available."

The top lawyer who represents the Bush administration before the Supreme Court said the search's results illustrate how pornography on websites "is increasing enormously every day," a central point in his argument for saving an antipornography law that was enacted six years ago but has yet to go into effect.

Olson also described a second Web search he performed by typing in "disable filter." He said he got "a screenful of step-by-step ways to dismantle" software to block explicit websites.

I don't know what the evidence rules for the Supreme Court are, but on The Practice that would be hearsay, I think.

[Cross-posted to TECHPopuli]

Posted by jghiii at March 3, 2004 10:27 AM
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