Looks like the White House doesn’t want its citizens finding information on their website too easily (after all, that might encourage us to think for ourselves). They’re using a webserver configuration file — the robots.txt file, which controls what parts of a website are read by the automated crawlers used by search engines such as Google to index the content of a website — to block access to any directory with the word “iraq” in its name. This effectively makes it all but impossible to search the White House website for any information on Iraq using Google, Altavista, or any other external search engine.
Aside from restricting us to use of the internal WhiteHouse.gov search engine, why would they do this? The DNC’s Kicking Ass blog has some ideas…
It’s easy enough to understand the reasoning if you look at past White House actions. Earlier this year, the White House revised pages on its website claiming that “combat” was over in Iraq, changing them to say “major combat.”
One of the reasons some alert readers noticed the change — and were able to prove it — was that Google had archived the pages before the change occurred. Now that all of the White House pages about Iraq are no longer archived by Google, such historical revisionism will be harder to catch.
(via Scripting News)
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