Nothing to see here…move along…

This entry was published at least two years ago (originally posted on October 27, 2003). Since that time the information may have become outdated or my beliefs may have changed (in general, assume a more open and liberal current viewpoint). A fuller disclaimer is available.

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 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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5 thoughts on “Nothing to see here…move along…”

  1. Do you remember, in George Orwell’s book 1984, what Winston Smith’s job was?

    He was a revisionist. He spent his days taking feeds from the tube, and making edits to news and official documents so that the government would never be wrong. He would ‘erase’ people from existence in this way – correct statements the government said that they would later reverse, etc. This way, no one could ever prove that Big Brother ever changed his story, or lied, etc.

    Frighteningly, this administration becomes more and more like ‘Big Brother’ everyday. I sometimes wonder if Karl Rove studies the book for ideas on how to mislead and control the masses.

  2. That really sucks. I don’t see how that entry and photo would pose any sort of security threat to microsoft. All they have achieved is create more animosity towards their company. I’m glad I heard about this. A company that treats its employees in such a way certainly does not earn loyalty from its customers. No doubt there is some wording in your employment contract that could be twisted around to make that entry a security breach in one way or another (the contract itself probably means nothing, it’s the lawyers ability to interpret the contract that counts). In view of all the support you are getting and all the negative press this is giving microsoft (by their own doing), maybe they’ll reconsider thier extreme decision… if you still would want to work for a bunch of people that show no loyalty towards their employees.. How did they come across it anyway? Did some prick at work report it or what? Or is it just proof that Big Brother is watching you…

  3. Writers revise all of the time to correct errors. Or at least they should. Saying “combat” is over means there is no more combat. Obviously that is not true. So they change it to “major combat” is over and you call that a lie or coverup. It is more like expressing the truth, not covering up a lie.

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