Missing, presumed airbrushed. Edward Snowden mysteriously absent from the list of Google’s top 2013 searches
After last week's furore about the murderous internecine rivalries now boiling bloodily between factions of the Kim dynasty of dictators in North Korea, the 'trial' and immediate execution of the 'Dear Leader's' uncle, Jong Song Thaek, and the subsequent and utterly Orwellian disappearance from history of the country's erstwhile Thug Number Two, much was made in the West of the absolute control the regime has on every aspect of life in that benighted country and just how ruthless and shameless the ruling clique is at changing history to suit its own inscrutable but ever self-serving ends.
Watching that grotesque Stalinist circus should remind us in the democratic west to keep a determined watch on our hard-won rights, liberties and freedoms some of which have been whittled away since 9/11.
So, sneer at and revile the North Korean regime as we might, and as we should, we might also take a clear-eyed look what is happening nearer home. And we may as well begin with the "Do No Evil' one itself: Google.
The Cookie Monster has just released its definitive list of its most searched subjects of 2013. They make for interesting reading. Google's global "Year in Review" is headed by Nelson Mandela and the car crash death of the "Fast and Furious" film series actor Paul Walker. Then comes the iPhone 5S. (Well, it would, wouldn't it?)
Nowhere though is there any mention of one of the biggest news stories of the year, that of the former US National Security Agency systems analyst contractor Edward Snowden the whistleblower/traitor (depending on your point of view) who stole vast amounts of secret data, legged it from the US and is now exiled in Russia.
OK, so the story didn't break until the year was about half over but articles and features about Mr. Snowden and his treasure trove of stolen secrets have been in the news more or less constantly ever since and he has been one of the most talked about, (and simultaneously applauded and reviled) people in the world over the past six months.
Not that you'd know that from Google where references to Edward Snowden are as rare as North Korean TV pictures of Jong Song Thaek playing basketball with his young nephew in Pyongyang.
So are we to assume that no one has ever searched Google for references to Snowden (the person that is, not the Welsh mountain)?
Just thought I'd ask - given that Amazon, the world's biggest online retailer, doesn't show up anywhere near the top of Google's search results. Neither does Wal-Mart, the worlds largest bricks and mortar retail outlet. I wonder why that would be? Perhaps Elvis works for them as a shelf-stacker?