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Former Scientologist: CoS Told Brin It Wanted Only "Good" Search Results 205

Posted by timothy
from the refusing-to-clam-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Former Scientologist at the highest level Geir Isene reveals that he was brought in to educate top Scientology officials about the Internet, and learned that they had met personally with Google's Sergey Brin (YouTube video), asking him if it were possible for the search giant to filter results so that only positive information about the church would be returned on the word 'Scientology.' You can imagine how that went over. Isene also says that he begged the church's officials to give him a full day to explain the Internet to them before they met with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had regularly criticized the church for its stands against Internet freedom. Apparently, the church is missing Isene's counsel, because just a few days ago, the EFF put the Church of Scientology into its 'Takedown Hall of Shame.' Last month Geir published his journey 'From Independent Scientologist to Just Me' under the GPL v3 license, recognising how being an open source advocate helped with that."
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Former Scientologist: CoS Told Brin It Wanted Only "Good" Search Results

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  • two words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @10:10AM (#44111941)

    ad words

  • by intermodal (534361) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @10:19AM (#44112037) Homepage Journal

    Clearly, the CoS understands at this point how much control places like Google have over people's web traffic, and they're quite aware that Google can gerrymander the results. Brin seems to mistake understanding the internet as a technology to understanding the technology as a means of control.

  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @10:21AM (#44112081)

    Is that given recent exploits by Snowden who is making a name for himself by exposing governmental spying, people that leave the Church of Scientology are treated exactly the same way.

    You leave your "religion" because it's a sham, and then you're harassed and attacked anywhere. Amazing.

    Thankfully I gave up on religion at 13, I can't imagine being lured into a cult like this. That said, Scientologists are stupider than I thought.

  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @10:22AM (#44112089)

    OK, I try to keep an open mind and really don't care what people believe so long as A) they don't get into people's faces about it and B) the message is peaceful.

    I don't even mind their big back-story about aliens and what-not. Ignoring the fact that a sci-fi writer wrote it, who's to say that's any more laughable than other stuff. And you could say that maybe he was just inspired by the spoken word or universal secrets to write his other stuff, which isn't that much more implausible than where many of the stories for the Bible came from.

    But... in practice Scientology is making it quite hard to like or respect them. Between the lawsuits, making people's lives hell for leaving or speaking out against them, the pay-to-learn thing they have going on, etc it's hard for me to say "fine whatever"

    And now this... sigh. It's just making it hard to respect you. I mean, lots of people HATE the Catholic church but you don't see them trying to stifle people's thoughts and comments about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @10:38AM (#44112303)

    Between the lawsuits, making people's lives hell for leaving or speaking out against them, the pay-to-learn thing they have going on, etc it's hard for me to say "fine whatever"


    It's not about the aliens. It is about the coercive tactics.

    All religions have beliefs that sound strange to nonbelievers. I give it three minutes until a Scilon shill says something about the Xenu story being no sillier than Jesus in order to derail the story into a flamewar of Atheists vs Christians, instead of talking about a cult that has been at war with the Internet itself [] for almost 20 years.

    Starting with a forged rmgroup message, moving on to a sporgery campaign of random text to flood out commentary on USENET, the compromise of (at the time, the Internet's most important anonymizing remailer), the Mickey Mouse Protection Act [] (named after noted Scilon Sonny Bono), the near-immediate application of the DMCA in order to out a critic [], and of course the the 2001 DMCA attack against Slashdot itself [], and black SEO activities too numerous to count, including this latest one against Bing.

  • Re:two words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @10:45AM (#44112369)
    Yeah. The problem was scientology wanted preferntial treatment for free. If they had ponied up the cash or somehow connected their cause to an existing moral panic then they probably would have gotten what they wanted. Google is more then happy to shape search results to meet various institution's preferences if you ask the right way.
  • by RoknrolZombie (2504888) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @10:46AM (#44112395)
    Well, to be fair, while their magic isn't anything to fear, they have better lawyers than the WBC. If I wasn't already on their shitlist I'd probably want to post as AC as well.
  • by jythie (914043) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @10:46AM (#44112399)
    And that is the key point. Scientology is not widely mocked because of their belief, but because of their actions.
  • by Entropius (188861) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @11:15AM (#44112817)

    Dismissing their magic is very different than dismissing their potential for dirty tricks. That madman staggering toward you with a knife babbling about the New World Order and lizard people? He's still got a knife.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @11:26AM (#44113011)

    You dismiss their *magic*, yet you fear using a pseudo on /. ?

    Do you have *any* clue what they've done to people who have crossed them in the past, asshole? And I mean the recent past too. I would be less afraid to fuck with the CIA (seriously).

  • by Dishevel (1105119) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @11:29AM (#44113069)

    I do not think L Ron meant to start a religion.
    I think it started as a joke.
    As more and more people started to believe, he made the religion crazier and crazier, but they just believed more.
    So he charged the stupid money and got rich.
    L Ron is my hero.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @11:34AM (#44113157)
    Most reasonable, rational people would recognize it is a fraud. The problem is there are a lot of unreasonable, irrational people who don't. I suppose the same could be said of most religions but generally mainstream religions they don't have people screaming at walls, "disconnecting" from families, harassing ex-members, tithing substantial portions of their earnings, taking out second mortgages to buy training materials, or working as virtual slaves on billion year contracts. The more ridicule this horrible nasty money grubbing cult gets the better for everyone.

    On the subject of tax exemption, it's a wonder to me that *any* religion qualifies for exemption unless it is transparently not-for-profit, i.e. all money going in is accounted for in its operations with limits on the salaries, expenses and other overheads of that organisation. If it cannot do that to the satisfaction of the revenue services, it should lose exemption. Religion or not.

  • Re:never forget (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at.> on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @12:08PM (#44113697) Journal

    Go fuck yourself, clambot.


  • by hairyfeet (841228) <> on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @12:14PM (#44113775) Journal

    Then you have never had life take a giant extended shit on you for a couple of years friend. I lost a distant relative to religion but even though I will probably never speak to her again i can see why, she had lost no less than 3 close people in her life in less than 2 years, not to mention the loss of her job and her home which she had paid on for many years.

    So while I think cults like CoS should be seen for what they are I DO get the appeal, kinda hard for many to accept its all as random as a roulette wheel and some douchebag that treats everyone like shit can have just the most perfect life while no matter how hard they work things just end in tragedy and sorrow. IRL a lot of times the bad guys DO win and the nice guys finish even worse than last, but many simply can't accept the thought of a truly random life so they turn to religion trying to make sense of what IRL is senseless.

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @12:59PM (#44114485) Homepage

    For which the essential interpretation is that there is a supreme being who routinely shits all over you for no apparent reason. Must be something you're doing wrong, eh?

    Accepting the random and arbitrary nature of existence is a first step a mature person can take in taking control of their life and actually doing something productive about it (or rationally choosing not to).

  • by Teun (17872) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @01:21PM (#44114801) Homepage
    If a Christian family is debasing a gay person they are not devout and especially not Christian.
  • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @01:23PM (#44114809) Homepage Journal

    We're somehow supposed to believe there's thousands of alien souls occupying us? This magic machine you have is going to cure my problems when it has no basis in science?

    Seriously, just look at Tom Cruise and his claims that anti-depressants don't work. You think Katie Holmes went running away because of any other reason than the idiocy there?

    *sigh* Wacky beliefs without any foundation in observations, is not what makes Scientology special. Mainstream religions make assertions that are no less crazy that the above.

    What makes it special, is its specific behavior and techniques, not its paranormal beliefs. A "church" becomes a "cult" much like how a murderer becomes a "terrorist," by working within some narrow definitions that people decided are unusually bad, rather than mundanely bad.

    Body Thetans don't exist and people who say they do are full of shit, but it's not any different sort of bullshit, than the son of a virgin feeling better a few days after his crucifixion, talking snakes, lake-of-fire-afterlife vs a different afterlife, and so on. If you happen to not enjoy the myths within Scientology that's cool, but that's not the right reason to hate 'em. Hate them because they're evil people.

    Don't tell them "you're crazy if you believe that nonsense," tell them "fuck you, asshole." I know plenty of Christians who by definition (it's what makes them Christians) believe stuff that is just as wacked. But unlike Scientologists, these people mean well so they deserve a shitload of slack. Not everyone who is delusional, is a sociopath.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @01:33PM (#44114925) Homepage
    I would also say Scientologists aren't like Christians as I could go and walk into any Christian church and talk to the priest there and find out all about their belief system and the hows and whys things are done and believed unlike Scientology where you have to pay. Most of them will be more than willing to give you a copy of their holy book for free (some it is almost impossible to walk away without one) again unlike Scientology where you have to pay. I have found this to be true with a number of proper religions, like Islam, the various flavors of Christianity, Hebrew, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Hinduism but not Scientology (yes I did try and until you start breaking out the cash you get almost nothing).
  • by MeepMeep (111932) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @05:43PM (#44117383)

    Read your own news story.

    They may have started the riots, but the first man to die was a monk slain by Muslims.

    Retaliation is perfectly acceptable.

    Pursing the specific killer\killers of the first monk might be acceptable.

    Starting a riot and murdering dozens of people just because they happen to be Muslim is not acceptable. At least not to me.

  • by Darby (84953) on Wednesday June 26, 2013 @09:56PM (#44118979)

    I know plenty of Christians who by definition (it's what makes them Christians) believe stuff that is just as wacked. But unlike Scientologists, these people mean well so they deserve a shitload of slack.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    A specific Catholic might mean well, but they are still supporters of an organization which actively engages in predatory behavior. Their policies are designed toward the specific goal of increasing human suffering in order to increase the demand for their services. Anti-choice to increase the number of poor and unwanted. Lying about condoms to help spread AIDS so that they can use their victims as poster children. Raping children and then blaming the victims while protecting the rapists because if they didn't cover it up people would think they weren't good. Spreading hatred of gay people because they're not going to produce more victims, and hence aren't really people in their book.

    They're the most successful business in the history of the world based on their business model of increasing human suffering and using a small part of their income to ameliorate a small portion of it.

    A specific fundie nutjob might mean well...who am I kidding, they have nothing but hate.

    Not everyone who is delusional, is a sociopath.

    No, but almost all religious organizations *are* sociopathic. One's intentions don't matter at all if their results are consistently the opposite of their intentions and they fail to adjust their actions based upon the outcome for the benefit of a sociopathic organization.

    Maybe you're talking about some specific Christians who attend some specific churches, but that has little bearing on the big picture.

    Unless their church actively supports birth control, reproductive choice and is openly accepting of people who don't harm others, then they are supporters of sociopathic organizations. Actively working to increase human suffering when your stated purpose is to decrease it is a business tactic to increase demand for your services.

    They can spend all day whining about their intentions, but what matters are results.

    All the major religions have much more in common with Scientology than you admit.
    Individual Scientologists might be decent people in their own right, they're just brainwashed and deluded like the rest of religious people. The organizations are hard to tell apart if you look past the specific details and look to the general case.

    It's just a different business model.

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler