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Stagecoach Group founder accuses Google of Web censorship in UK

Transport company Stagecoach Group founder Sir Brian Souter has accused Google that it is indulged in Web censorship after he found out his personal website ‘www.briansouter.com’ has been blocked from search results on Google since 13 August.

The website remains blocked, or buried deep, in the Google search results today when the name ‘Brian Souter’ is searched. However, Yahoo ranks the website second on its search results page.

Souter claims his website used to be at the top in Google’s listings as well, but since 13 August it has "mysteriously disappeared" from the list of results, according to a Press Association report.

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Souter says he has vowed to launch a campaign to end search engine censorship by Google.

Souter’s is known for his controversial views and his campaign against the repeal in Scotland of Clause 2A which banned schools from "promoting homosexuality".

He revealed that he asked Google on 22 August why his personal site had disappeared from searches.

Souter’s public relations and Web media adviser Gordon Beattie said: "It’s not Google’s place to decide which sites we can see and those we can’t. It amounts to search engine censorship and it does not afford what Google says it is striving to create – a good user experience."

"We wrote to Google on August 22 asking why Sir Brian’s site was no longer listed on the search engine and the mumbled response was algorithm changes. They suggested one tweak to the website which we immediately made but to this day his site remains out of bounds on Google searches," Beattie added.

Now Souter says that he will ask the Culture, Media and Sport Committee to investigate whether Google is controlling the right to free speech in the UK.

"We find it unacceptable that Google can simply remove an information site like Sir Brian’s from its listings and give no helpful information as to why it has disappeared.

"We are now asking the question – is it time legislation was enacted to curb Google’s power over free speech on the internet?" Beattie asked.

In July, some Belgian newspapers accused Google of blocking them from appearing in its search results.

The AFP reported that the papers called the ban of their names and content from appearing in Google’s search results as an act of revenge over a copyright infringement lawsuit, which Google lost.

Speaking about the non-appearance of the papers in its search results, Google had said that it was following the court order.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.

CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.