Uncle Sam Wants Your Google Searches (And Already Got Results From Others)

from the uh-oh dept

In a story that's about to wake up a lot of people to some fairly scary possibilities, the federal government has asked a judge to force Google to turn over search records that were subpoenaed. Google initially refused to do so. Google is defending its decision by saying that it's both a violation of the privacy of its users and that turning over the data would reveal trade secrets. The specifics of the case are a bit worrisome, because the government is specifically asking for the data to try to prove that the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) is necessary. We've discussed problems with that law in the past, and the Supreme Court agreed that it was problematic -- though, offered the government a chance to make its argument again. It's no surprise, actually, that they subpoenaed Google. After all, in the original defense before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Theodore Olson tried to use the Google results count for "free porn" as proof of why the law was needed. As we noted at the time, the Justices saw through that argument immediately, pointing out that just because there are search results on that term, it doesn't mean they're all pornographic -- meaning such numbers don't prove much. However, it appears the government's lawyers have figured out that superficial evidence from Google isn't enough -- so they might as well get a lot more detailed info, in the form of one whole week's worth of search results. This is worrisome, in part, because by hiding this behind the "protecting kids from porn" argument will distract from the real issue, and could set a bad precedent. It's also worth noting that the government claims other search engines had no problem at all turning over similar data -- which may be the most worrying point. John Battelle points out how this could destroy the public's trust in search engines while Michael Bazely raises some additional issues about this government action, including comparing it to the new European data retention laws. As Bazely points out, this may not turn out to be the "watershed" case many are expecting concerning the privacy of our data -- but it's certainly going to shine a bright light on a lot of legal questions that have remained unanswered. Update: It's now been confirmed that Yahoo, MSN and AOL were all asked and complied, though it appears that some (such as Yahoo) simply gave search terms with no identification information. That's better than nothing, but it still does raise some questions about where the line would be drawn. Update 2: Tech Law Advisor has posted a copy of the subpoena.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mark, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 3:31am

    here we go again

    what we need is a useless google search that would send a message. I nominate "J. Edgar in a dress". Everyone search that a couple times a day...see if it makes it to the Supreme Court.

     

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  2.  
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    Dave, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 4:19am

    Re: here we go again

    Right idea, but you need to include 'free porn' in the search terms for best effect.
    Propose modifying it to "free J. Edgar in a dress porn"

     

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  3.  
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    doubledoh, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 4:20am

    fairly scary?

    Fairly scary? This is REALLY scary. Does the government even acknowledge the existence of the Constitution anymore? It seems like today, the only defenders of the Constitution today are independant groups outside of Washington. That is pee-in-your-pants scary.

     

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  4.  
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    lar3ry, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 4:28am

    The privacy issue...

    The scary (and privacy related) part is the request from the government for (1) "a request for one million random Web addresses" and (2) "records of all Google searches from any one-week period."

    Let's take these one by one:

    1. The first request for a million random web addresses is rather broad and can be interpreted in a bunch of ways. I think the article is missing something here, because just asking for a million web addresses can be done by a simple perl script and doesn't involve privacy rights. If the request is for the records of all searches performed by one million IP addresses, then this is scary! If the request is for all search keywords for which one of those million random web addresses were returned, that's also a privacy issue (see next point).
    2. The second request is by far the scariest in the way that the government is reported to have made the request. Exactly what records are being requested? Google's internal (trade secret, privacy related) data, or merely an amalgamation of the information that Google has. In other words, could Google honor the request by stripping off IP addresses, Google's cookies, etc. and possibly even just giving numbers on government-supplied search queries that occurred during the course of the specified week?

    It's obvious that Google needs to tread lightly here. They are correct in that they are not a party to the suit and shouldn't be compelled to provide such information. In addition, Google is under no contractual obligation to atually keep records of every search performed. Whether they do or not is their own business. I think it would be the government's responsibility to first prove that such records actually exist! Of course, that would require a discovery motion by the government against Google, in which the judge would probably (hopefully!) reject, since this would be considered immaterial to the actual case.

    Kind of makes me glad that the government isn't running its own "google"-style search engine; very detailed information could have been provided without any knowledge of anybody.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 4:28am

    Re: fairly scary?

    It's McCarthyism Internal Security Act

     

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  6.  
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    ?, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 4:32am

    Free Porn, Free Porn!

    Oh, wait, it is Mandela that we are supposed to free.

    Free Mandela, free mandela!

    Everybody write 'Free Porn' in their messages on Tech Dirt, then spam Google so that the first thing that shows up is our smart asses.

    Yea!

     

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  7.  
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    ?, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 4:40am

    Re: The privacy issue...

    Do you think that the IP address request could be abused in the same way that the RIAA abuses it?

    They look at these one million IP addresses, and decide that to prove their case, they need to study how many of these IP addresses are assigned to houses with kids in them.

    Then, by some chance, the govt. is knocking on my door, because, currently, my IP address that I have is assigned to my cable modem, but the previous user of that same address enjoyed wacking off every now and then while sitting at his computer.

    Or maybe they end up at the door of some unsuspecting family, who's girl is getting ready for prom, but since she is poor, she was online looking for free prom dresses, but accidently typed free porn and hit enter (silly, yes, but watch IRC chat for 15 minutes one day and you may come to realize that it really could happen, and frequently).

    This is a very bad idea.

     

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  8.  
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    Wolfger, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 4:53am

    Re: Free Porn, Free Porn!

    Free porn? Why would we want free porn? That makes no sense. And how, exactly, does government propose to protect children from free porn without infringing on the rights of adults to view free porn? While free porn may not be everyone's cup of tea, it is still protected by the freedom of expression we supposedly still have.
    And what about porn that isn't free? Why are they only collecting data on free porn? I'm sure most porn is non-free porn. Then again, I suppose that non-free porn still uses the term "free porn" enough to show up in a google search.
    Now what about the free pr0n problem? :-)

     

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  9.  
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    Oliver Wendell Jones, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 5:03am

    Re: here we go again

    Propose modifying it to "free J. Edgar in a dress porn"

    But for the sake of your own sanity, please don't do a Google Image Search for those terms...

     

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  10.  
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    Oliver Wendell Jones, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 5:05am

    Re: Free Porn, Free Porn!

    Free Mandela, free mandela!

    No, it's:

    Free Tibet!*
    *With purchase of equal size country...

     

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  11.  
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    Andy, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 5:42am

    Re: fairly scary?

    You know, let's just face the fact that the constitution really isn't strong enough to protect us. The government is really ignoring it, it is more like the constitution is ignoring government.

    It's like saying the wheels on my car are ignoring the brakes when in reality the brakes are just weak/broken.

    It's like trying to make a magnetic trap, the forces of democracy (or rather, "mob politics") are so unstable that no stable system can be created until the will of the people reign bounded by a commitment to freedom.

    So I don't get excited about government invasion of freedoms and privacy because I have accepted that the current system is almost powerless to stop the inevitable. If you want to avoid this impeding doom, don't try to protect the impotent constitution but instead strengthen its protections of our freedoms and equality (see True Democracy [currently in Yahoo Groups]).

    Andy

     

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  12.  
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    K, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 5:49am

    No Subject Given

    http://www.dogpile.com/info.dogpl/searchspy/
    Can't the Government just sit around and watch Dog Pile's Search Spy for a week and get what they need?

     

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  13.  
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    Steve, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 6:10am

    No Subject Given

    Its is like a shareware program you can't stop it from happening there are interested teenages all over the world doing this, if the court thought this was not going to happen they are very dumb.

     

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  14.  
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    Adam, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 6:28am

    Logging users search terms?

    The real question for me is, why exactly do search engines feel it is nessesary to log peoples search terms? And does that also include IP addresses used to search for those terms?

    If I created a search engine site, I would NOT log anything if I cared at all about privacy concerns.

     

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  15.  
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    Bliss, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 6:31am

    Re: fairly scary?

    Yes it is, and no they seem to have forgootten about the constitution. The America I believed in is circling the drain, sadly.

     

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  16.  
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    Marc, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 6:33am

    deep breath

    The fact that they are raising this issue in a court, to me, shows that they are acting in an above-board manner here. Lawyers ask the courts for things all the time. It is for the judge to say yes or no.

    I believe Google is right in fighting the release, but I also don't blame the government for trying to get it if they feel it will help them prove their case. I'm sure Google will probably win in the end, based on government's general lack of tech-understanding.

    This isn't the first time the govt has gone to court trying to obtain private info. And it didn't all start with President Bush as many would like us to believe.

     

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  17.  
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    The Chad, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 7:05am

    Let's search them...

    I read another article on techdirt about the watchers being watched. There are enough smart techies out here that could somehow turn the tide on Uncle Sam. Let's watch every one of them for a while. Every person involved would be spied on and everything they do, everyone they talk to, every search they do would be made public and see how they like it.

    I'm sick of articles saying "the government" is doing this. Like the government is somehow an entity outside of "We the People". The government is made up of individuals, and we need to point out who (first & last name) are doing these things.

    Just a thought...

     

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  18.  
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    KGordon, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 7:07am

    Re: Logging users search terms?

    To googles defense, there is good reason to log some search information, although I do not know to what extent this is being done.

    They use it for analysis on refining algorthims, even rating sites, and now they are using it for the personalized search. (which means they have data tying the searches to your google account)

     

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  19.  
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    Jon, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 7:39am

    What exactly is Google asked to turn over?

    I'm concerned about the size of our government too, but this "story" doesn't give much in the way of details.

    If it's just the number of times some search was requested, what's the big deal? It's not like they are asking for names and addresses of people, or even IP addresses.

     

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  20.  
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    Vasco DaGameboy, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 7:50am

    Re: What exactly is Google asked to turn over?

    I't called a slippery slope, and if the government is successful, it's only a matter of time before such information will be required for all criminal cases. I'm not a big Google fan, but I give them a big thumbs up on this.

    This is one staunch conservative who is really nervous over this one.

     

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  21.  
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    0n1l1nk, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 8:07am

    D;

    No matter how much you try to protect a child from viewing porn (AKA sheltering them from the real world) they will still find a way to it, if they want it.

    It isn't the government's responcability to keep kids from whacking off, rather the parents no?

     

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  22.  
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    Hector, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 8:17am

    Re: Let's search them...

    The government in theory is based on people, but the problem lies on how that people sees themselves in relation to us. Let's face it. Uncle Sam's relation with the people has been severed slowly but constantly. Roman / Germany history is repeating on this country and his people. Keep the people entertained and put some fear on them. For them people are cows needed to be herded. So, that makes them saviors and in consequence, above us.

    Yes, our government actually works outside of "We the people", the United Nations, and every imaginable pact that threatens our nuclear weapons and oil supply. It's a known fact that people gladly give their right to governments when they feel threatened and slowly the government starts to take over the people. After all it's all about power.

    By the way, check this quotation said by a Nazi at Nuremberg trials and think about it for a while.

    "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

    -- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

     

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  23.  
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    Had to try it, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 8:30am

    Re: here we go again

     

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  24.  
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    Stoned4Life, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 8:31am

    America & Sex

    How come it's only America that has this whole ultra-conservative outlook on porn? It's no problem ANYWHERE else. I'm sick and tired of hearing about it. The government and all the disk-jockey evangelicals need to shoot themselves in the foot, jump off a bridge, and get rid of censorship entirely.

    Now for the serious: IF your kid is looking at porn, then don't go around blaming the government about not protecting your child from such graphic material. Do your goddamn job as a parent and call your ISP about how to filter the content on your connection! And then talk to your kid about sex. If you don't do it soon, he's gonna find some slut at school, knock her up, and come home one day with syphilis. Then you're going to shake your head and wonder how this could have happened, he'll hate you forever, probably drop out of highschool, hopefully never talk to you again because you deserve it, and then pop up on the evening news 3 years later as part of a triple homicide and bank heist.

    THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR THIRD PARENT.

     

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  25.  
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    The Angola, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 8:33am

    Re: Let's search them...

    I'm sick of articles saying "the government" is doing this. Like the government is somehow an entity outside of "We the People". The government is made up of individuals, and we need to point out who (first & last name) are doing these things.
    AMEN

     

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  26.  
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    CheekyMonkey, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 8:35am

    Had to do it...

    Google Images


    Your search - free J. Edgar in a dress porn - did not match any documents.

     

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  27.  
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    Sober4Life, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 8:44am

    Re: America & Sex

    Although I don't like a prevalence in pornography, I also don't think the Federal Government should regulate it, AT ALL. Decency standards should not be regulated on any wider of a basis than at the city level and then limited to ONLY those things that can be easily regulated (e.g. how a girley magazine can be displayed at your local grocery store--NOT who can look up what web sites). The reason I think it's ok for a city to do this but not the Federal Government is because:
    1. a city can be much more easily influenced by the local voters; and
    2. It's not that hard to move to a nearby city or live just outside the city in most places to avoid paying taxes to the government body that you disagree with.

    As for the responsibility of the parents, I am a parent and I agree with everything that Stoned4Life says.

     

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  28.  
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    Huh?, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 8:46am

    E-Nation

    I'd like to see an e-nation that you could join from any part of the world. Then, nations would have to compete for people like companies. I'd join the e-nation that doesn't invade my privacy.

    "Free J. Edgar's Pornographic Prom Dress"

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:04am

    No Subject Given

    i am deeply patriotic, but when i read about the fuck ups of our Bush, i litteraly break down into tears because i am anti war, pro choice, believe in ablolishing software copyrights, DOWN WITH RIAA and power to the people, i have cried when i read about the shambles of our government. i would not go so far as assasination, but i would believe impechment for GWB and EVERY ONE THAT SUPPORTS HIM!!!! i am a 16 year old who cant vote, but i believe strongly in our democratic rights. the GWB administration has no ethics, no morals and is borderline dictatorship!!! the fucking christian right conservatives are not right, they are not christian, they are not human. religion isnt about following rules to the leter and word, it is about caring about those around you. as i read this article, i came close to crying because i know i just lost some of my freedom as an american citizen. :'(

     

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  30.  
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    Andrew, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:08am

    Standards

    Ultimately, it boils down to an issue of standards. Determining what is right and what is wrong (and how destructive a "wrong" is/can be) influences how strongly to pursue resolution. Though I agree that this is primarily the responsibility of parents, the government has a duty to pursue justice.

    The problem is, every individual in America differs on what "justice" is.

     

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  31.  
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    Henrique (a non-american reader), Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:10am

    No Subject Given

    I got a question! Ok, so the american government wants info from google, but the users of the search engines are from all around the world. I have nothing to do with the american government and i do not want america to have the search records that I have produced. I haven't voted for this government and it does not represent me. So considering this arguments does the american government have the right to invade the privacy of other countries citizens?

     

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  32.  
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    karrsic, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:10am

    Re: deep breath

    Scary how short sighted your view is.

    A lot of conservatives don't believe in a "right to privacy" and are therefore attempting to change interpretation of the laws in order to set such a precedent. You might be right if these were private lawyers, but everytime *government* lawyers ask for such information, they are attacking *your* constitutional rights.
    Further, it's foolish to believe that governmental branches act independently of each other and that each invasion of rights is unique. Clearly, the President doesn't believe he is beholden to the law. Clearly, his willingness to violate individual privacy creates an atmosphere whereby other conservatives seek to do the same.
    Wake up!

     

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  33.  
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    Andrew Strasser, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:24am

    What happened to freedom.

    Wouldn't this be an overstrecth of the freedom of speech ammendment. I mean seriously here's a quote, Google "Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government's effort ``vigorously.''

    If the govt. thinks it is allowed to just step on the First ammendment then I would as a corporation refuse this request even if the Judge ordered it. I mean can they really hold all the Chairmen/women of the Board in contempt if they all vote no to this. That would be like saying "There is no Democracy. I am Bush. I run Republic you are my slaves do as I say.

    The govt. has no right meddling in Google's affairs and better watch out before they lose more companies to China like IBM.

     

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  34.  
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    Andrew Strasser, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:28am

    Less smut

    I do agree with that. So track those IP's you have the capability and do something about them, but leave search engine records out of it especially since this just goes to show that the Govt. is the ones making al that adaware/spyware which they'd just love to get their grubby lil hands on one weeks worth. Every IP that visit's every site that's a sick request from our govt. and are they going to create a new division in the Govt. to go over the 50 billion hits google gets per day much less in a week.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    CUrob, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:28am

    Re: America & Sex

    Now for the serious: IF your kid is looking at porn, then don't go around blaming the government about not protecting your child from such graphic material. Do your goddamn job as a parent and call your ISP about how to filter the content on your connection! And then talk to your kid about sex. If you don't do it soon, he's gonna find some slut at school, knock her up, and come home one day with syphilis. Then you're going to shake your head and wonder how this could have happened, he'll hate you forever, probably drop out of highschool, hopefully never talk to you again because you deserve it, and then pop up on the evening news 3 years later as part of a triple homicide and bank heist.
    THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR THIRD PARENT.

    AMEN.
    We need "THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR THIRD PARENT." Bumper stickers!!!
    The thing is the govt. is only asking for one search term... what about the kid who does an image search for "naked women" or "breast" or any number of infinate words from the english language (or spanish we do have a rising illegal population, can't forget their kids too) that will produce similar results.
    Bottom line. If you have a kid, be a damn parent. It's not a teacher/policeman/fireman/doctor/congressmen/etc. responsibilty to raise YOUR CHILD.
    It doesn't take a village to raise a child, just a parent that gives a shit.

     

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  36.  
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    Jesse, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:32am

    Re: America & Sex

    While a little extreme case of what would happen, I agree with the overall sentament. The government is taking this censorship crap to far, no where else but here will people flip out because, and OHH MY GOD, I can view porn as a kid without even trying. I mean common, I won't even argue the idea of having a .XXX address for all porno sites is a bad one cause from a simple routing standpoint it makes alot of sense. But jesus, to invade the privacy of a million people and their daily searches to try to protect kids who are looking at porn on the net instead of doing something stupid....Lets just shoot the left and right wing extremests in the foot and let them hobble out of the desert on their own. This kind of censorship is what causes more social problems in the long run, not fixes them.

     

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  37.  
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    Misternecessary, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:40am

    Re: What happened to freedom.

    Unfortunately a Judge could do just that. I agree that google should say no, however, I can tell you that not one single executive will put his/her personal well being on the line to stop this.

     

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  38.  
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    Anon in Detroit, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 9:40am

    Re: Logging users search terms?

    They need to log search terms and results in order to review what happens and tweak the algorythims. If you did not do this your search results would become less and less useful as time went on.

     

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  39.  
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    Suri (also a non-american reader), Jan 19th, 2006 @ 10:15am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I got a question! Ok, so the american government wants info from google, but the users of the search engines are from all around the world. I have nothing to do with the american government and i do not want america to have the search records that I have produced. I haven't voted for this government and it does not represent me. So considering this arguments does the american government have the right to invade the privacy of other countries citizens?

    I'm interested in this too. I'm a Canadian citizen, and I use Google quite a bit... while not concerned that anything I use it for is illegal by my country's standards, I -am- concerned about the American governement invading my privacy in the manner that the article describes. I mean, it's technically legal for me to download MP3s for my private use up here... are they going to try and sic the RIAA on my ass anyways?

     

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  40.  
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    M. Jamison, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 11:01am

    Government request for porn searches on google

    Google pull your head out of your anus. Your driving down the road in your semi when a van full of children, driven by a not so bright person pulls out in front of you. You have the right of way, not them. Do you exorcise your right of way and hit the van, hurt a bunch of kids and collect the insurance lotto, or do their rights to safety and life superceed your right of way? Looks like a no brainer to me.
    Same with your releasing porn search info to the government. If it protects kids, it is a no brainer.

     

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  41.  
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    Dam, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 11:23am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Get back to fdoing your homework and stop surfing the moonbat left wing websites. All you're doing is proving how broken the US education system is.

     

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  42.  
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    thecaptain, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 11:56am

    Re: Government request for porn searches on google

    Yup...that's right you DO sound like a no brainer.

     

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  43.  
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    scared shitless, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 11:58am

    Re: fairly scary?

    Very scary. Is search protected by the first amendment? Do I have the right to search for whatever I want?

     

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  44.  
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    smart ass, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Free Porn, Free Porn!

    Free Porn


    he he

     

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  45.  
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    Garfiode, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Government request for porn searches on google

    But in this case it is going to set a dangerous precident. If they get the information they are asking for they can then in the future say but you gave us the info on the porn search terms. Now you need to give us the info on lets say weed search terms.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Professor HighBrow, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 1:31pm

    Let's search them...for the magic markers they've

    I cant help but quote a previous comment made by "Hector" that very clearly points out the severity of the US government's increasing tendency to rule by fear.

    "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

    -- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

    DIRECTIONS:
    1) Massage violently into scalp. Let absorb for 10 minutes.
    2) Rinse, and repeat the 1st ammendment.
    3) Repeat step 1 until you begin to believe in the 1st, 4th, and 5th ammendment and you begin to feel a burning sensation upon the scalp.

    "Hector" makes an excellent point concerning history repeating itself. It can, and it will, unless the intelligencia of a society can somehow illustrate to the public how and why their
    "Bill of Rights" has been set aflame.

    Its time to start kicking fellow Americans who are sleeping through this slow but sure erosion of the right to free speach, and protection from unreasonable search and seizure (yes this applies to data just as much as it does to a Watergate paper folder.)

    The true patriots are those who are constantly questioning government, not those who when told to jump ask "How High?"

    What befuddles me is that everyone with any knowledge seems to object to these abuses, and we all seem to agree, yet nothing seems to change...

    It seems that we no longer value intelligence and rational decision-making in our leaders, and gravitate towards those who pull off the best act in maing us afraid of something external, real or imaginary.
    This is very bad; our (USA) increasing Xenophobic tendendancies, increasing fear sythesised by our government, our tendency to sacrifice personal privacy in exchange for an "illusion of control" or safety, the list goes on and on.

    HAVEN'T WE SEEN THIS BEFORE, SAY ABOUT 75 SOME YEARS AGO?

    One cannot help but see the analogy, as reactive as it may sound.....


    The Professor HighBrow does not like telling kids fairy tales in science class...he'd rather have you build a baking soda 'n vinager volcano or a mouse-wheel powered generator. No more magic markers for you kids until you stop trying to sniff them.

    --Professor HighBrow

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Professor HighBrow, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Government request for porn searches on google

    Call: BULLSH*T!
    -----------------------
    Your driving down the road in your semi when a van full of children, driven by a not so bright person pulls out in front of you. You have the right of way, not them. Do you exorcise your right of way and hit the van, hurt a bunch of kids and collect the insurance lotto, or do their rights to safety and life superceed your right of way? Looks like a no brainer to me.
    -----------------------
    Sounds to me like the "no-brainer" is attached to the poster's neck. Maybe Jamison needs to "exorcise" the demons some other way, rather than exercising the right to personal privacy and PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY. It is thoroughly disapointing that parents call upon society to protect their kids from the real world
    (which is unfortunately dangerous and malicious at times) rather than taking responsibility themselves!

    How much sense does your metaphor make?
    You are comparing killing a van full of children to the right to personal privacy? That is absurd, almost offensive. Some very good points have been made....

    THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR THIRD PARENT
    or something to that effect. 'Tis a slippery slope you're on when you compare the death of a child to freedom of expression and privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Bob, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 2:02pm

    Fear

    The request itself carries grave implications that extend beyond the simple collection of data; eventually people could be afraid to search for anything politically incorrect, or even just out of the ordinary for fear of being marked, now or in the future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Brad, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 4:44pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    To clarify - the fact that you didn't vote for the government doesn't matter all that much (many of us here didn't, either). The fact is that Google is an American company, and is bound by American laws while operating here - and to a certain extent over-seas. The search results you generated were generated IN the US.

    As for the ability of the government to do this? Clearly it doesn't have that right - but as Nixon's floating head said it best, "I'll go somewhere the US Constitution dosn't mean didly-poop: the Supreme Court!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Henrique (the non-american reader), Jan 19th, 2006 @ 5:51pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Thanks for the answer! We all should be able to do something about it, but again our representatives doesn't really represent our interests! Or they DO, and we are the minority. Which is probably the case!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 6:24pm

    Re: What happened to freedom.

    Well... There is one alternative... if the judge orders the records be produced, the records are flushed. It's not that hard to overwrite the data a few hundred times by the time the officials arrive to collect. If they are smart, they keep the records on a seperate raid from everything else and can wipe the drives on demand. All it would take is using Autoclave or DBAN. And no, not even the FBI or NSA can get the data. I have the same access to the utils they have and I have been unable to gain access to any usable data on drives I have used either of those utils on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Taylor, Jan 20th, 2006 @ 3:23pm

    Re: What happened to freedom.

    Perhaps someone should compile a great list of anonymous proxies. Or, perhaps someone should set up these proxy servers, especially in other countries. I don't want to search for something I'm interested in and possibly get put on a government watch list. That's bullshit. If I want to look up how to make a big explosion, I should be able to. It's called freedom. Once my freedoms here are gone, I'm moving to another country. By the way, how's the weather in Canada?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Boggled, Jan 20th, 2006 @ 6:23pm

    Re: What happened to freedom.

    If the data contains no identifying information, simply search terms and results, who gives a shit. I'd hope they see that the internet needs cleaned up, it's a sesspool just like our society is becoming very quickly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2006 @ 6:40pm

    Re: What happened to freedom.

    um... If I'm not mistaken, the internet is not there for the govt to regulate... That is your job as a consumer/parent/human being to regulate that for yourself. if you don't like a particular site, then don't go to it.

    I do feel that certain content should be have their own extensions, but that is the only regulation I think there should be. ie .com, .biz, .xxx, etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2006 @ 6:45pm

    Re: What happened to freedom.

    Well, according to the suppoena, they are to provide search string data, absent of personally identifying information. There, I feel better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Chris, Jan 20th, 2006 @ 10:14pm

    Google

    I saw this on the TV news. In fact it seems on most news channels, every analyst now has something to say on the issue. However I suppose anything that can serve to 'wake the public up' to what's already been going on for years can only be a good thing.

    Now that the cat's out of the bag, I believe it would not bode well for Google should they decide to give in. Their business is built upon a platform of public trust; destroy that trust and you destroy the business. Most people don't take well to being spied upon, especially Americans. They resent it, and will take their searches, and their business, elsewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Nicholas Norr, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 6:13am

    Re: here we go again

    THE MOMENT AN INDIAN (OR BRAZILIAN, OR WHATEVER LARGE COUNTRY I TRUST CANNOT BE EASILY BULLIED BY THE US) COMPANY LAUNCHES A DECENT SEARCH ENGINE AND THEIR GOVERNMENT PROMISES TO RESPECT USER PRIVACY, I WILL NEVER EVER AGAIN USE A US-BASED SEARCH ENGINE IN MY LIFE. IF GOOGLE IS FORCED TO COMPLY, I BET IT WILL. THE ACTIONS OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION ARE SIMPLY MAKING THE US INTERNET INDUSTRY VULNERABLE TO COMPETITION FROM ABROAD SINCE PEOPLE LIKE ME FEEL LESS AND LESS SAFE TO USE SYSTEMS THAT ARE UNDER US JURISDICTION.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    S G Thomas, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 8:41am

    Re: fairly scary?

    Hey...this administration is worse than scary!...but if all the 'complaining' americans had done their political homework instead of watching ball games, we wouldn't have this administration!!!
    Who voted this administration in? TWICE. Europeans?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    S G Thomas, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 8:43am

    Re: The privacy issue...

    ...and what makes you so certain they're not?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    S G Thomas, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 8:46am

    Re: fairly scary?

    Applause!!!

    The first sensible post I've seen...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    S G Thomas, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 8:54am

    Re: Let's search them...

    A few 'thinkers' around here. Keeps me from getting lonely :")

    "Ye reap what ye sow!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    S G Thomas, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 8:59am

    Re: Standards

    Andrew...you're soooo naive...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    S G Thomas, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 9:06am

    Re: What happened to freedom.

    "There is no Democracy. I am Bush. I run Republic you are my slaves do as I say!"

    You got that part right!!! :"(

    Unfortunately, it's really always been that way. Americans have had their heads in their 'ball games' too long, so they never noticed.

    PS...I'm an american, in case you wondered (no caps out of disrespect). Yes...born here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    S G Thomas, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 9:13am

    For Dam...Re: No Subject Given

    If we had more kids like this one we'd be in much better shape than we are!

    As for 'WINGS'...need both to fly!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    S G Thomas, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 9:16am

    Re: Government request for porn searches on google

    Garfiode...no need to worry about weed search terms. The government won't bother you on THAT one.

    A 'stoned-out' nation serves their purposes!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    S G Thomas, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 9:29am

    Re: Let's search them...for the magic markers the

    Professor...DRUGGED people will not build ANYTHING!!!

    'Where IS my anti-depressant? What DID I do with my last joint? Those 'relaxation' pills the doctor gave me are finally kicking in. Only 12 and depressed/hyper? We have something for that!

    This is the land of the 'dumbing of america'. 'Stoned' (and helpless).

    How many of you are aware of how many times The Board of Regents has LOWERED the Standards of Education? Look into it...it's shocking! and...can you guess what that means to a society?...to a country and it's people?

    ...and that's just one little example of what americans know nothing about...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2006 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Let's search them...for the magic markers the

    Which board of Regents are you speaking of? Just about every state has one either in name or by function.

    I know the NY board of Regents raised the standards in order to improve education. Unfortunately the 'shit po ghetto folk and the piss po PWT' bitched and it got lowered because the parents refuse to actually contribute to a meaningful education. Why do that when it is easier to play retarded and fill out public assistance forms(or have a literate friend do it for them). I'm sick and tired of hearing people complain that it is societies fault thay are in a self imposed poverty. your choices have consequences. If you cannot live with that, then do us all a favor... Don't have kids, Don't get assistance, Die quickly so we can all move on to the utopia that awaits those of us that are punished for doing the right thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    milly, Jan 22nd, 2006 @ 7:55am

    google should move HQ and all operations abroad

    google should move its operations to the UK. leave the US now. before its too late. that will show them.


    what is the best non-US based search engine now? i'm switching to non-US based search engine now out of protest.

    -Milly from the UK

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    fredfrumppy, Jan 22nd, 2006 @ 6:54pm

    Re: fairly scary?

    scary, yes. surprising, no. if the US government will illegally tap your phones, spy on your private activities, and arrest you with no trial in an undisclosed location why the h311 wont they demand your search history?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Dr. J, Jan 22nd, 2006 @ 9:04pm

    Re: fairly scary?

    yea, invasion of privacy. we might as well have a new dictator here in USA named Hitler.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    john doe, Feb 2nd, 2006 @ 5:47pm

    Re: fairly scary?

    it seems government don,t honer anything, it looks like one person up there wants to be a dictator, and create a police state,. which if that happens or something siminlar the usa as we know it will be destroyed. read history, look what happened to germany.he likes war, and one that likes to go to war as we did 3 yrs. ago, sooner but not later, will get his ass kicked. but wait untill the fall elections every republican running for reelection is going to be defeated. people in this country will not beleive the lies again.. people are sick and tired of how the country is being run. we better stand up and tall for freedom as written in the constitution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Ben Franklin, Mar 15th, 2006 @ 6:06am

    Re: Fear

    The request itself carries grave implications that extend beyond the simple collection of data; eventually people could be afraid to search for anything politically incorrect, or even just out of the ordinary for fear of being marked, now or in the future.

    THIS IS THE KEY TO THE MATTER!

    IT MAY BE ALBERTOS INTENTION. I THINK HE KNOWS HE CAN'T BEAT THE ACLU ON THIS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Matt Michels, May 18th, 2007 @ 10:06am

    Proxy's are going to come in handy...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Kidd, Sep 9th, 2007 @ 9:31pm

    Woah Nelly

    Well, I didn't want to read through all of it but I DID read some parts of the comments.

    So, technically, everyone's practically saying:
    "Don't let the government intervene in individual [pornographic] affairs, but when it comes to children, let their parents take authority over it"?

    If so, I completely agree. The government is NOT THE THIRD PARENT of a family. Last time I checked, government was here to stabalize America's community, not control every aspect of it (meaning privacy).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Galmoy, Sep 21st, 2007 @ 12:42pm

    snatched again

    I have had enough of uncle sam and his ways of deceit with my current search engine from the USA.I will never again use an American search engine.Why should I pay money to a seach engine and then be spied on by the most corrupt country in the world.It is all to clear to me that I will have to leave this so called democratic country and many more people like me are begining to see that Americans are getting screwed by there own goverment.
    Question I ask is why do the American people put up with this gross injustice?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Galmoy, Sep 21st, 2007 @ 12:44pm

    snatched again

    I have had enough of uncle sam and his ways of deceit with my current search engine from the USA.I will never again use an American search engine.Why should I pay money to a seach engine and then be spied on by the most corrupt country in the world.It is all to clear to me that I will have to leave this so called democratic country and many more people like me are begining to see that Americans are getting screwed by there own goverment.
    Question I ask is why do the American people put up with this gross injustice?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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