back to article Whitehall to train pro-West Islamic groups to game Google

Whitehall officials will train pro-West Islamic groups to manipulate their Google search ranking in an attempt to drown out extremist voices online, The Register has learned. The policy is being developed despite recent warnings from a group of international experts on radicalisation that such strategies are likely to be " …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Surely it's cheaper

    ,... to pay google to rig their search engine rankings, just like everyonme else has to pay them.

  2. Michael Fremlins

    More money down the drain

    Government + (anything to do with IT) = waste of time + money.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Those who fail to learn from history....

    Of course, there's a difference between making bombs and getting good rankings in google, but the point is still valid....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    War is 1:1 Speech is 1:Many

    Astroturf is easy to spot and easy to ignore. See Draper's site. If Draper can't counter the anti NuLabour anger of ordinary people with his turfing crew, then how will 200 turfers change muslim sentiment?

    One voice is all it takes, like Obama to change America. One voice who speaks the truth and believes what he says and can engage in conversations that convince others. One and only one voice.

    Speech is 1 to many, by planting 200 turfers, you automatically weaken your sides view. Does that person really think that, or are they PAID to think that? See the problem? You destroying your own credibility with that turf.

  5. Master Baker
    Thumb Down

    I used to be an extremist too!

    Please can I have some money now.

  6. Ray

    lalalala i can't hear you

    two approaches to problem solving:

    solution 1 (ideal): identify cause of problem. find solution.

    solution 2 (jacqui smith): worry about cause a bit, then realise problem is a toughie. proceed to make just enough noise to drown out said problem for time being. wait for new challenge.


  7. Tony

    I can see it now...

    They type in 'Death to the West'

    and it comes up 'Did you mean "pursue a peaceful coexistance with people of all cultures and religions" ?'

  8. Lionel Baden

    web site

    time to set up a extremist islamic site and get free training

    Sweet !

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Admirable attempt but futile

    This plan is an admirable attempt to do something but it will fail dismally and not for any IT related reasons.

    All self respecting Muslim fundamentalists understand that you can't "interpret" the Koran or Hadith. In the case of the Koran, it is the word of god himself and what is written is written and it is absolute and immutable.

    If, for example, it tells you to strike off the heads of the infidels (Sura 47:4) then you fucking well have to do it. There is no option to opt out on moral grounds because submitting to and following Alah's will is the only moral thing to do unless you also want to be declared infidel and dispatched in a rather unpleasant way.

    Of course dirty facts like these are now considered unpalatable or even "racist" in Today's mentally fucked up PC world.

    Flames because I can feel the heat from the fires of the grand inquisitor of political correctness.

  10. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    April 1st

    was *last* week!

  11. David Pollard

    Countering extremism?

    Does this mean that the extremism of intrusive surveillance, censorship, limitations on association, strict licensing of music venues and similar measures will also be countered?

    Er, the one recently stenciled with, 'Jacqui's right, you know".

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Let me just correct that for you

    In order to hide criticism of their middle east policies, the government is spending money to promote the views of people who are less critical of them.....

    Right that's fixed the headline now is anyone else worried about this being extremely counter productive and another step towards turning our already militaristic country into a totalitarian state?

  13. Andrew Norton


    "The embattled Home Secretary Jacqui Smith recently launched the government's updated counter-terror strategy, CONTEST 2, which put heavy emphasis on countering extremist views."

    Extremist views that aren't hers, I think she means.

    But hey, is anyone surprised? nowadays, if it involves IT, and experts say its a bad idea, the Government's all for it (see copyright extension, 90% of gov. databases etc)

  14. Henry Cobb
    Black Helicopters

    It's really simple

    Simply monitor every page every UK subject (not citizen with rights say) downloads and if random keywords match then ship them off to GitMo.

    It's a quick techno-fix for the modern rotten British society. Orwell would be so proud of you lot. ;-)

  15. Mike Crawshaw

    Ed Husain

    (mentioned as a potential beneficiary in the article) wrote a book called "The Islamist"*. It's hardly Andy McNab level action, but describes his descent into radicalisation in a way that really brings across how individuals who are otherwise pious, intelligent and thoughtful Muslims can end up wanting to detonate a semtex vest in the middle of a marketplace. It'd be nice if more people like him, who became radical, but got out before anything serious happened, shared their experiences with the people being targetted by recruiters.

    Despite my misgivings at the gov't being involved in anything at all, if some of the wannabe's get directed to messages like this rather than those about the virgins waiting in paradise, it's gotta be a good thing. And it'll be more effective than Smith's attempt to "ban bad things on the interwebs"... though, admittedly, asking people to shut their eyes when something bad comes on screen would be more effective than that!

    *Full title is "The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left", ISBN is 9780141030432. List price is £9.99, but it's on for £6.59 at and And It's an easy read too.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), a 200-strong Home Office unit" - sounds expensive.

  17. David Pollard

    This will all end in tears

    So, they now have two blogging teams: one promoting mainstream and the other radical extremism to bait the honeypots?

  18. Martin Silver badge


    So the government just has to buy up all the ad words for terrorism, extremism etc and redirect them to cornify and everyone will be happy and safe.

  19. John A Blackley

    Training's always good

    and, it being a sound idea, how about some training for the Home Office. Let's start with Effective Immigration Policies Made Easy, followed by The French Response To The EU Yoomin Rights Act And How It can Be Of Benefit To Britain - which, of course, must lead to Deportation Basics. The whole curriculum could be rounded off with How To Not Care If The Murderous Barsteward Gets Tortured When We Kick Him Back To His Country of Origin.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Who is it really for?

    Maybe it's not for wannabe radicals but for the general population looking for information on Islam. Instead of the many sites exposing the real nature of Islam they will get nothing but government approved stuff going on about the Religion of Peace and other such lies. Nothing like keeping the sheeple in the dark to keep them productive.

  21. Christoph

    News manipulation

    " it wants to "flood the internet" with "positive" interpretations of Islam. "

    I.e. views which agree with NuLab. Anyone who happens to disagree with the government must be a terrorist, so it's perfectly OK to do your best to make sure nobody sees their point of view.

  22. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Shades of TWTWTW...

    This plan is an admirable attempt to do something - WTF?!!!

    This is control freakery of the highest order, and doomed to fail before it has started. How would we feel if the Saudis provided govenment funding to re-interpret Church of England doctrines in a manner favourable to their current political aims?

    The only good thing I can see in this is that, though we have piss-poor political satire at the moment (probably because all the satirists are left wing, and won't attack NuLabour), the govenment are stepping into the breach and making a laughing-stock of themselves without the benefit of Steve Bell.

  23. Rob

    i've been thinking about this religion thing

    this might seem a little radical to some, but bear with me.. it occurred to me that we could solve a bunch of the worlds problems by simply killing anyone who claims to believe in god, world hunger, power supply, wars, overpopulation in general.. all solved in one fell swoop. we could use the grounds of removing mental instability from the human gene pool as well.

    i think it would be fair because all one would have to do to get through unscathed would be to say you didn't believe in god, the result being that anyone who's willing to sacrifice their life for an unprovable concept can then do so and leave the rest of us in peace to eat their food and burn their portion of oil.

    -as it would include all of us, there's no one part of the human population being targeted, so there need be no worrying about being accused of genocide or some sort of ethnic cleansing, equality for everyone, all have to answer the question.

    the vatican might not give it up too easily, but we could assume the whole country is god-oriented, would say yes, and just carpet bomb the place with those giant MOABs.

    now i think about it, we could even scatter automated sentry guns with voice recognition around the world, they would only ask the one question "do you believe in a god?", to everyone they met and take appropriate action depending on a simple yes or no answer.

    also, once done, we can use the ex-religious people's stashes of gold & treasure to fund more space exploration, the wins just keep on coming with this plan.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It'll never work, but this will...

    Kinky Islamo-burka pR0n would be more effective.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There are approximately 80 million illiterate people in Pakistan. That's a major part of the extemist problem. It's one big major *fuc-ing* problem !

    Most don't have access to the internet, and if they did, they couldn't read what they were looking at in the first place.

    Many Pakistani's want to come to England, and many indeed do. I haven't yet met a Pakistani in Pakistan that a) doesn't want to come to England, b) That doesn't have extended family here.

    Most Pakistanis in Pakistan speak good English, (so it seemed when I was there). Most Pakistani's in the UK don't speak any English, and leads to serious integration problems in the UK. Now why is that most Pakistani's in the UK don't speak English where in Pakistan they do?

    In the UK we seem to have a very narrow cross-section of Pakistanis.

    Which set of Pakistanis are coming to the UK? The illiterate ones?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I like it! Way to go!

  27. avatastic
    Thumb Down

    I call for a vote of no confidence in the <strike>senate</strike> government

    1) I don't want the government influencing my search results

    2) They don't have the right to influence my search results, only HRH does.

    3) Won't someone please bomb the HO and think of the children?*

    *Note this is not an incitement to violence or protest or to cause terror, this is a satirical statement.

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