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Is It Censorship?

August 18, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 33

I was dismayed but not at all surprised by the contents of “It’s Not Censorship” (C&EN, June 2, page 3). Rudy Baum seems to be an information elitist: “you had to dig for it; you had to know where to look for it,” he writes about document searches in the days before the Internet.

Or possibly one could use an ACS-pro­vided, fee-based search engine and then pay to read the article.

John Schindler
Kyl, Texas

In some, maybe many, jurisdictions in the U.S., an individual’s misdemeanor conviction can be erased from official records with all relevant documents returned for disposal as long as the individual has not repeated the offense.

In this digital age, complete destruction of all records may be an oxymoron, but any official or unofficial use of these records is contempt of court.

Isn’t this what the European Union court ruled in the Google case, and what you did for your correspondent?

I applaud you and the EU court for wise decisions. Pshaw on your staff’s opinions.

John Hylin
Incline Village, Nev.

I’m shocked that a journalist would argue that it’s okay to do an Orwellian rewrite of history, as long as there exists some unsearchable, almost inaccessible original copy of record somewhere.

I’m not surprised that the Eurocrats support memory holes, but an American science journalist?

In the case of the Russian physicist, publish an update and let it propagate through the search engines that the physicist survived those difficult times and is doing much better now that Russian science is recovering from the upheavals resulting from the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Michael J. Saxton
Davis, Calif.



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