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01 March 2010

Conroy already filtering his own site

Would I sound paranoid if I said Stephen Conroy's website is deliberately concealing users' searches for "ISP Filtering"?

Well the evidence is on the page itself:

//Customise the tag-cloud to display what shows up
if (unique[i] == "ISP Filtering")
Basically, this piece of code simply says "if the value in the List you are displaying is 'ISP Filtering' leave it out". It's there in plain code, in the HTML of the page you download from his site. However many searches anyone makes on "ISP Filetering" it will never be displayed in the list of users' searches - therefore giving a false impression of what people are actually searching for.

It claims to give you information on what users are interested in then specifically alters that information for, what can only been assumed to be, Senator Conroy's own purposes.

It is also a very blunt solution that obviously wouldn't catch values such as "Web Filtering" or "ISP Censorship". Not only is it surprising behaviour - it's also an ineffective, amateurish and clumsy solution to a problem (that he shouldn't have been trying to solve in the first place).

The worst thing about this is - if Senator Conroy doesn't understand what the difference between this and properly removing the results (on the server side) is, then he is an embarrassment to his portfolio and doesn't deserve the role... if he does understand the difference and can't be bothered fixing it "properly" (so you and I can't simply see it ourselves) then he simply doesn't think this is an embarrassing thing to do.

I think the former is more likely - but either way - he just doesn't get it.

More details - article on the subject.