If you did a Google search between 6:30 a.m. PST and 7:25 a.m. PST this morning, you likely saw that the message "This site may harm your computer" accompanied each and every search result. This was clearly an error, and we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to our users.
What happened? Very simply, human error. Google flags search results with the message "This site may harm your computer" if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. We do this to protect our users against visiting sites that could harm their computers. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to get our list of URLs. StopBadware carefully researches each consumer complaint to decide fairly whether that URL belongs on the list. Since each case needs to be individually researched, this list is maintained by humans, not algorithms.
While I accept that errors occur (I make tons of them every day and the Post-Gazette hasn't seen fit to fire me just yet), one of this magnitude must be addressed. Any system or body out there that can label a web site as being harmful and deny you access (without any sort of due process) is essentially censoring the content. If the government did this, there would be rioting in the streets.
All of this has me wondering if Google could become SkyNet, the self-aware computer in the Terminator movies. Let's hope not.