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Why can Google block virus-infected websites; how do you stop a ban?

I recently discovered that Google listed my site as a "malware" site, preventing Google visitors from accessing it. It appears the site was attacked, and when Google indexed the site, they found some malicious code. Google has every right to remove a link from its website to mine, or other virus-infected websites, and even to place a warning on its indexing page, but I believe it has no right, that I am aware of, to prevent or hinder persons from accessing my pages. I complained to local police that under the Misuse of Computers Act 1990, it is an offence under subsection 2(b) to "prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in any computer." The police in Belfast, however, have said no offence is committed by blocking my pages.

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As Web servers were not in use when the Misuse of Computers Act 1990 was put into law, I don't understand how the act could be applied to a search engine protecting Internet users from a potentially dangerous website.

If you still feel strongly that the Google block action is illegal, then I suggest you employ professional legal help, though this will likely be expensive due to the obvious cross border issues.

Personally I am grateful to Google for tagging potentially malware- or virus-infected sites, and then warning me that the site poses a danger to my computer. I can still manually copy the website's URL into my browser if I feel the report is wrong. Mistakes can occur, like a few months back when a large number of Internet sites were mistakenly tagged as dangerous by Google. I suggest visiting StopBadware.org and search to see if your website is listed. If it is listed, and you are convinced that it is now clean, apply for a request for review from Google.

This was first published in May 2009

 

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