Things You Can’t Ask at Ask.com

Ask.com censorship

Ask.com has such a blatantly stupid filtering engine that legitimate searches are blocked when they trigger some keywords about sex and children — even when they’re completely innocuous. Thanks to the threat of lawsuits against search engines for not actively monitoring their databases to remove illegal sites, they’ve chosen to completely darken a broad swath of information when asked with the wrong words. Here’s a short list of searches at Ask.com that return the TOS error:

laws against pedophilia
talking to your children about sex
blocking porn from kids
warning your kids about sex offenders

What kills me is that law enforcement could actually be using the same search engines to find and shut down child porn sites (or getting them removed from the index on a case-by-case basis). But instead the idea is to scare the search engines into throwing the baby, the tub and all the plumbing out with the bathwater.