Feeds

Did Bahraini activists closet anti-gay bus baron?

Controversial knight pays the price of freedom

Security for virtualized datacentres

A theory has emerged as to just how the personal website of controversial bus millionaire Brian Souter came to be stuffed deep into Google's closet of invisibility. It appears that the (probably inadvertent) culprits may have been a group of Bahraini freedom fighters.

It's possible that the activists torpedoed the Stagecoach co-founder's website accidentally - as a by-product of their attempts to sidestep their government's web snooping and blocking. SEO expert Yousaf Sekander theorises as much in a blog post. Reg readers on Twitter had similar suspicions.

Sir Brian - who drew criticism in 2000 for backing the Section 28 ban on schools promoting homosexuality to kids - was left fuming after his personal site was inexplicably dumped from Google results for "Brian Souter". His PR team accused the Chocolate Factory of censorship and are threatening to bring the case to the UK Parliament for investigation.

But the closeting of Sir Brian may well be the inadvertent work of a Bahraini activist, rather than any equal rights champion within the Googleplex.

Our investigation was triggered after the bus knight's PR spotted an unofficial copy of briansouter.com cropping up at www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com. Sekhander told us it's likely that this dodgy duplicate has enraged Google's web spiders, which punish websites that carry identical content on different URLs.

One man's freedom fighter is another man's search engine headache

14feb-youth.com supports the Bahraini youth movement and serves as a censorship-dodging proxy: you can visit other sites by simply popping the web address in front of .14feb-youth.com like this: www.bbc.co.uk.14feb-youth.com.

Presumably this lets repressed netizens in Bahrain bypass their government's internet ban on particular URLs. As far as Google is concerned, anyone linking to a .14feb-youth.com URL creates a duplicate site and someone must have done this to Sir Stagecoach's website, Sekhander suggests.

Bahrain, along with Russia and Turkey, is listed as a country where web users are under surveillance - according to a report by Reporters Without Borders.

Why Bahrainis - or persons elsewhere - were looking up the personal website of an anti-gay bus baron via 14feb-youth.com is still clouded in mystery. ®

Bootnote

Meanwhile, we note that briansouter.com has now moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Google results for Brian Souter.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
SLOSH! Cops dethrone suspect - by tipping over portaloo with him inside
Talk about raising a stink and soiling your career
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.