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Church of Scientology

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» Scientology's Front Groups
» Scientology vs. the Internet
» Google and Scientology
» Google AdWords and Scientology

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Google and Scientology

We have already mentioned Scientology's abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, its attempts to force Google into removing websites operated by the cult's critics, as well as Scientology's spamming projects

One way that Google has dealt with these issues is to make Scientology's demands public:

Google has made public the letter it received from lawyers demanding removal of Scientology related content from its search engine, complete with a list of allegedly infringing URLs.

Google provided a copy of the letter from law firm Moxon & Kobrin to online rights watchdog Chilling Effects, a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, and University of San Francisco law school clinics. The organization published the full text of the letter on its site, removing only the names of the letter's sender and recipient.

The letter provides explicit allegations of both copyright and trademark infringement on pages published on the site Operation Clambake (xenu.net), a well known and highly vocal critic of the church of Scientology.

Accompanying the letter is a chart setting forth each of the alleged infringements, including both a description and the URL of each page. For pages that Google has removed from its index, you can simply cut and paste the URL into your browser address window to access the page directly from the xenu.net web site.

Google search results also now provide a direct link to the takedown letter on the Chilling Effects web site in response to specific queries.
[...MoreOff-site Link...]
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Google AdWords and Scientology

Aside from running the world's most popular search engineOff-site Link, Google also provides a host of other servicesOff-site Link and business solutionsOff-site Link (with more to comeOff-site Link).

Google also offers a hugely successful, two-fold advertising programOff-site Link - AdWordsOff-site Link (for advertisers), and AdSenseOff-site Link (for websites). In short, advertisements bought through the Adsense program are shown on websites that have signed up for the AdSense program. Ads are targetted to advertiser-selected keywords, so that participating websites can provide their visitors with relevant ads.

Like TV and radio broadcasters, newspapers and other publishers, Google has an ad policy. A recent newspaper article on the subject highlighted some of Google's policies - including those that specifically deal with Scientology:

Google gives special scrutiny to ads promoting the Church of Scientology. Workers are told to make sure the ads clearly disclose their affiliation to the church, presumably so that users know exactly what they're clicking on. If the ads don't, workers should reject them. No other religions are mentioned.

On the topic of Scientology, Google's rules haven't wavered. The company allows ads from all religious organizations, though they single out Scientology for attention.

The guidelines say the ads must "clearly indicate in their ad text that they are a Scientology related site," and if not, they should be disapproved. No other religions are mentioned.

In addition, Google prohibits Scientology from targeting ads specifically to Germany. That nation has had significant legal conflictsOff-site Link with the church over whether it is a religion or a business.
Source: Google's ad rules complex, controversial, San Francisco Chronicle (USA), Aug. 9, 2004
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Given Scientology's controversial history, as well as its use of various front groups, such policies are both necessary and prudent.

In light of Scientology's bizarre, often unethical approach to Internet-related issues - along with its tendency to promote "L. Ron Hubbard Management TechnologyOff-site Link" to businesses and organizations - non-profits that might be interested in the services provided by Non-Profits in Search may want to consider less controversial alternativesOff-site Link.

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About This Page:

• Subject: Non-Profits in Search
• First posted: Aug. 11, 2004
• Editor: Anton Hein
• Copyright: Apologetics Index

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