Lokjo,
@Lokjo@mstdn.social avatar

Europe is building it's own searchengine!

Looking at all the ridiculously big fines the US ones have collected for wrong-doing in europe, this is a great and welcome alternative.

Ah, they're on Fedi too! https://suma-ev.social/@openwebsearcheu

read more about it here: https://openwebsearch.eu/

#europa #eu #searchengine #byegoogle #sunday #goodnews

villares,
@villares@ciberlandia.pt avatar

@Lokjo is there a prototype search we can use already?

frederic,
@frederic@chaos.social avatar

@villares @Lokjo Here's the source code for the project: https://opencode.it4i.eu/openwebsearcheu-public/

(You'll probably have to use browser devtools to remove the university logo so you can actually use the navigation. 🤦‍♂️)

cakeisnotalie,

@Lokjo So is this one going to follow EU political mandates to, for example, suppress all information that the brown people the EU is helping to genocide are, in fact, people deserving of human rights? Will it simultaneously promote political mandates to promote genocidal regimes as somehow moral and ethical in order to justify the EU's sending of money and arms to those regimes?

I ask because it's relevant to the millions of people being genocided right now, today, whose stories the EU is actively trying to suppress.

Lokjo,
@Lokjo@mstdn.social avatar

@cakeisnotalie Hi! It's not as bad as people might think, it's non-corporate, and aimed to be owned by the public.

Just take a read through the FAQs here and you might see a more positive view:

https://openwebsearch.eu/faqs/#toggle-id-4

cakeisnotalie,

@Lokjo From the FAQ: "he Open Web Index differs significantly from US-centered search engines in that it focuses on the European Union and emphasises European values, languages, and cultural diversity."

This is largely what I'm worried about. "European values" are...largely protectionist, racist, imperialist, and awful.

Now, to be fair, European values are slightly better than USian values regarding most things, but also pants-on-head insane regarding others.

If I search for information on the history of Palestine is that going to be hidden, replaced by Israeli lies? Because the EU polity certainly seems big on suppressing the truth from people on the ground in Palestine, and threaten to prosecute people for calling Israel's genocide what it is.

Similarly, the EU has some wild naming laws for things like food. If you search for "Champagne", does it return information about "sparkling wine", or will that sort of thing be verboten?

This isn't to say the project is useless. Not at all! But I would very much like to understand the biases and the restrictions that go into the project because that tells me how to use the thing, and what the blind spots are.

I know where the blind spots on USian search engines are. Those search engines are all run by oligarchs and they actively suppress/obfuscate/prioritize specific answers on a lot of information about things like labour organization, political change, etc.

So if you want anything other than copaganda when reading up on protests, or labour history, for example, you need to know how to ask those search engines the right way. I am wondering what we know about an EU politically-backed-and-funded search engine, and what strictures they are putting in place on it to help control the information and political understanding of those who use it.

Lokjo,
@Lokjo@mstdn.social avatar

@cakeisnotalie Criticising something before it is even created is not a good thing if you ever want to improve things.

B.t.w. What do you mean with the 'champagne' thing?

cakeisnotalie,

@Lokjo QUESTIONING DESIGN before things are made is absolutely how you improve things! Once stupidity is established as the default behaviour it is nearly impossible to change. It is always - ALWAYS - easier to change the initial spec of something than to change it once it has been completed.

And the "champagne" thing is a reference to Europe's weird rules regarding geographic naming of goods. In the US and Canada, for example, "Champagne" is used to describe all sparkling wines. They do not have to be from the Champagne region of France.

Similarly, we make absolute fuckloads of Cheddar and Gouda cheese here in Canada, but these would almost certainly not meet EU naming guidelines (though Cheddar might, as the UK is no longer an EU member).

These are big enough deals to be serious complications in international treaty negotiations, so I am legitimately curious of the EU polity would be requiring any publicly-funded search engine to effectively censor the search engine to comply with the political views of the polity on this topic.

That's fundementally the question: what role does, could, and would the polity play in determining how the search algorithms present information, what information is censored, and what information is promoted as "fact"?

Because, let's face reality here, the information that ends up in any promoted spots on a search engine, or even just in the first 2-3 pages will be considered "fact" by the overwhelming majority of users. Who gets to determine what those algorithms, censorship, and promotion policies are gets to effectively determine what reality is for the users of that search engine.

And if you think asking questions about that is "criticism", then I recommend you take a few moments to investigate the EU's demands of social media companies regarding Israel's genocide in Gaza, and how the EU polity has been actively trying to suppress Palestinians from telling the truth because they have deemed Israel's nonsensical racism to be "the truth", and determined that anything which contradicts it is "Iranian/Hamas propaganda".

More than anything else, the reality of that latter issue creates all sorts of questions in me about the validity, utility, and possibility of populace-reality manipulation of any search engine the EU polity gets to create rules for. They have already proven they will demand tech companies suppress the truth in order to cover up one genocide. In what universe would you call it unreasonable for me to be concerned that they would do the same (or worse) as regards a literal search engine that they control the flow of money to?

Lokjo,
@Lokjo@mstdn.social avatar

@cakeisnotalie Yes, corporate search engines can be tricky, that's why this non-corporate one has its hopes up, that's all we can say about it.

cakeisnotalie,

@Lokjo You seem to be missing the concern about government interference in search results. Deliberately, I would say. So I'm done here. Good bye.

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