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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

UK Christian Group Prepares Lawsuit Against Google.

In the UK a Christian group is poised to bring a lawsuit against internet search engine giant Google. The lawsuit involves Google’s refusal to accept an advertisement for the group.

The Christian Institute (CI) is in process for the lawsuit which alleges Google is refusing their advert in defiance of the Equality Act 2006.

Briefly stated, the Equality Act 2006 has three main purposes:

1] To establish the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR).

2] To make discrimination unlawful on the grounds of religion or belief in the provision of goods, facilities and services, the disposal and management of premises, education, and the exercise of public functions.

3] To create a duty on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity between men and women, and to prohibit sex discrimination in the exercise of public functions.

It is the issue of refusing to accept the Christian Institutes advert for a link on a sidebar whenever the word abortion is googled which is at the centre of the controversy. The CI had offered the advert with the apparent hope of providing balance to the issue of abortion. While Google is willing to accept adverts with abortion content if the linked site is a non-religious site, it has a policy of refusing such content from "websites which contain "abortion and religious-related content".

It would seem perhaps, Goliath is about to meet David. The draft ad as proposed by the CI appears to be both in good taste and uncritical of a persons right to choose. The draft copy was as follows:

"UK abortion law: Key news and views on abortion law from The Christian Institute. http://www.christian.org.uk.%22/

The lawsuit is certain to draw widespread attention in both the UK and abroad. Google has on their website a statement of purpose which reads in part.
"Google was founded with a clear vision in mind: To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
That might on the face of it appear to hold true only if the information to be presented is able to find favor with Google’s advert policy board.

Google just needs to fess up on this, it is after all a private company, and they have a right to feel or believe anything they want to. But to refuse an advert on the premise that it conjoins religion and abortion is patently ignorant. Pro or Con isn't really the issue though, the issue is, can someone of Google’s size afford to raise the specter of Anti-Trust hearings and lawsuits in front of government watchdogs?

Hope not, Google is one of those things in life that just works too well the way it is, unlike the Telephone Anti-Trust break ups in the U.S. which made all of us suffer equally with flapdoodie service.

As a Christian, I don’t really need or seek preferential treatment from any person or Company; I do however prefer to not be treated badly by a Corporation for my belief system. At this point a boycott of Google aside from being unmanageably unworkable is also akin to shooting my left foot when my right foot stumbles.