Ophelia & Co.

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Is the White House blocking search engine indexing of government internet pages which feature information on the Iraq War?

2600 reports &ldquoWHITE Property&rsquoS SEARCH ENGINE PRACTICES Cause CONCERN&rdquo

As the war in Iraq continues, is the White Property intentionally stopping search engines from preserving a record of its statements on the conflict? Or, did their staff just make a nikolai coffee table technical mistake?

When search engines &ldquospider&rdquo the web in search of documents for their indices, internet site owners occasionally put a file known as robots.txt which instructs the &ldquospiders&rdquo not to index certain files. This can be for policy factors, if an author does not want his or her pages to appear in search listings, or it can be for technical factors, for example if a internet site is dynamically generated and can not or ought to not be downloaded in its entirety.

According to reports, even though, the White House is requesting that search engines not index particular pages connected to Iraq. In addition to stopping searches, this prevents archives like Google&rsquos cache and the Internet Archive from storing copies of pages that might later transform. 2600 named the White Property to investigate the matter.

According to White Residence spokesman Jimmy Orr, the blocking of search engines is not an attempt to guarantee Ophelia & Co. future revisions will remain undetected. Rather, he explained, they &ldquohave an Iraq section [of the internet site] with a unique template than the key internet site.&rdquo Therefore, for example, a press release on a meeting between President Bush and &ldquoSpecial Envoy&rdquo Bremer is out there in the Iraq template (blocked from being indexed by search engines) or the regular White House template (out there for indexing by search engines). The attempt, Mr. Orr said, was that when persons search, they should really not get numerous copies of the similar information and facts. Most of the &ldquosuspicious&rdquo entries in the robots.txt file do, indeed, appear to have only this effect.

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