U.K. gooses Google to fight terrorism

If you're a terrorist who's lame enough to need to look up "jihad" on an online search engine, then the U.K. Office for Security and Counter Terrorism is a few steps ahead of you. The office is working to help approved Islamist Web sites goose their search engine rankings, while pushing less-desirable fare like Al Qaeda mouthpieces right off Google's top results pages.

The Register reports that the Office is training pro-Western Islamist groups in search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that in the end should help them become more popular while drowning out more militant, extremist voices online.

Unfortunately, the new initiative's success will be limited at best, according to a report issued by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ISCR), which found that more young muslims find extremist material online via web forums and offline associates than via Google or Yahoo. The authors wrote:

"Tweaking the results for supposedly extremist terms would be largely ineffectual, not least because it is unlikely that any but the most callow wannabe terrorist would use a mainstream search engine to find banned material."

Still, it's nice for a change to see Google being used to stamp out--rather than aid--terrorism around the world.

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