Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

A lot of information no longer exists on the Web. Removed! Who is the one or group to choose what may continue to exist on the Web?

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by Wuffers, Kyle, Mokubai, random May 4 '11 at 19:54

Questions on Super User are expected to relate to computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

4  
The person who removed it is (most of the time) the person who created it. –  Wuffers May 4 '11 at 19:39
5  
And this is off topic. –  Wuffers May 4 '11 at 19:39
1  
What?! You do realize it costs money to put something up on the web (not every one runs a website with dydns out of their basement)... No single person controls what gets put on or taken down it is up to the original content owner. –  Kyle May 4 '11 at 19:42
    
I feel like this belongs at skeptics.stackexchange.com (but it may even be too conspiracy-theory-y for them!). –  squircle May 4 '11 at 19:58

3 Answers 3

There isn't a unified group that oversees all Internet content. It isn't possible since the Internet is a decentralized global network.

Usually the following entities are responsible for removal of content:

  • the person who created the content
  • the people or company hosting the content
  • a government agency forcing content offline because of a violation of law or regulation
  • an ISP blocks content because of censorship laws or something similar.
share|improve this answer
    
None the less, history is lost. Knowledge that is taken away, –  Ormazd May 4 '11 at 19:48

Well, it is difficult to make a good answer to this question because it's so broad, but for start the answer would be "It depends".

First step in understanding the whole process is to understand who is needed to place information on the Internet.

So you first have regulatory agencies which provide central domain name servers and assign top level domains (such as .com, .org, .co, .uk and so on). Next you have central domain registrars. They can make rules which regulate what kind of information can be stored in sites registered to their domains. After them may be sub-domain registrars who control only a part of the domain.

After that you have regular owners of the domains. They have general control what type of information is stored where. In case of larger organizations, they may have entire marketing teams and web-master teams who actually make sites and pick exact information placed on them. Below them may be users who are authorized to post new content (such is the case here. You can post questions and answers and so on).

Another interesting side is hardware side. The site needs to be physically located somewhere on some computer. The owner of the computer is called host. Some people host their own sites on their own computers while others pay companies to do the hosting. The hosts answer to the government of the country where they are located and that country can enforce its laws on them, so in the end owners of the sites need to abide by those laws too.

So it's basically a very complex system. Not every part works great and not every layer cooperates in harmony with others, so you can have all sorts of problems when putting informations which is in some countries objectionable on the Internet.

For example if a site is registered in country A and hosted in country B, country A may seize control of the domain name even if the information is legally hosted in country B. Same thing can be done with almost anyone on the domain registration chain. Then again you have the host itself. It can remove data, if the owner of the site breaks the hosting contract or if it is placed under pressure by some other institution or if the computers are physically damaged and so on.

In the end owner of the site can of course remove data too from the site. This can sometimes cause major problems for users especially if the owner is a large corporation and it is difficult to see who is directly responsible for each piece of data. For example I have Acer Aspire 7720G laptop. On Acer's support site, there are links to its drivers, but on the server where the drivers themselves are hosted the drivers have been removed and if I didn't have backups, I could have problems with them.

share|improve this answer

Your question is too general but I will try to answer it.

The creator of a website may choose to remove its content if it is still under his control.

Content could also be taken down by the services provider (i.e. Google for Google Sites or Blogger, Facebook for infringing posts, etc) if for some reason you violate their Terms and Conditions

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.