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Subpoena Resistance Hurts Google Stock

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the fight-for-your-right dept.

Google 407

imrec writes "Google stock sees a record 8% decline shortly after news concerning the government's request for Google's search logs broke earlier this week." From the article: "'There are potentially concerns that Google could be in the cross-hairs of the Justice Department,' Kessler said. 'Investors are worried about interest rates and inflation and they felt technology stocks like Google, Apple, Yahoo and others were able to withstand these kinds of pressure. But now that ability is in doubt,'"

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407 comments

Two Words . . . (5, Interesting)

Newt-dog (528340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525858)

Buy Now!

Buy Now! (1)

developer7 (940280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525868)

Two Words... (and alot of shit)

Five more . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525870)

...or forever hold your peace!
 
(pun not intended...)

Re:Two Words . . . (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525889)

Buy Now!

Have you taken a look at what Googles PE multiple still is, and what that means?

With apologies:
Those who don't understand the DotCom bubble are condemned to repeat it. Badly.

Re:Two Words . . . (2, Interesting)

Ireneo Funes (886273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526072)

Google's PE is not nearly as high as the average PE for a tech stock during the dotcom bubble was... the fact that GOOG has a reliable business model with sales growing more than 100% per year is what's driving the stock price this high, not pure speculation as was the case by the end of the 90's

Re:Two Words . . . (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526192)

A stock can be half the price/revenues or price/book ratio of dot.bombs and still be rediculously overvalued. Google looks like it should be garnering a lower P/E this year than last as mounting competition and market saturation are set to sharply curtail earnings and revenue growth in the future. A P/E of 30 would be the top end of what I'd consider sane, with a P/E of 10 being the bottom end of the range.

Re:Two Words . . . (3, Funny)

ceeam (39911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525984)

Yeah, using /. for stock market advise is about as insightful as using it for pickup/sex tips... In other words it's on par with asking a blonde whore about Linux configuration, yeah.

Re:Two Words . . . (2, Insightful)

daigu (111684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525986)

You forgot the ending: Buy Now...if you want to lose a lot of money. There's a reason a stock drops that much on news like this - it is widely overvalued due to speculation. While I agree with a contrarian approach, there's better ways to do it than buying Google stock.

Re:Two Words . . . (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526035)

Hey let's all check back in a week and see if you're right.

Re:Two Words . . . (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526042)

At the same time, I am going to buy some stock, I won't mortgage my house to do so, but...

I think if Google stay hard on their edge on this one, I think this will become a big case, widely looked upon by the tech industry. Another MS vs DOJ case. In some cases, it's quite worth it to buy stock when it's tanking.

I bought MCI Worldcom stock about 3 hours before they were delisted, one of the best stock moves I have ever made.

Google has widely been known as they cause for the "brain drain" in Silicon Valley right now, and they are going to continue. I am not saying that they are invulnerable to this, but I think they have the coffers to make this difficult for the DOJ.

At the end of the day, whether the government asked for it or not, it doesn't make it right. I personally agree with Google that the government might have the right to suponea this information in some cases, I personally don't agree with this instance of it's use and if I was Brin or someone else in this position I would be telling the government where to go as well.

I will be phoning Merrill Lynch on Monday for them to execute a buy order on my behalf.

Berny

Re:Two Words . . . (1)

slashdot_commentator (444053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526209)

I'm just curious. How did you go about calculating the parameters of the potential gain loss on such a move. You knew MCI had huge assets, they weren't going away. You knew there was serious, serious accounting fraud, and could not be sure as to the extent of the financial damage. Do you work as a professional analyst?

Also, did you jump onto the Enron bandwagon before they went under?

Re:Two Words . . . (1)

Ireneo Funes (886273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526044)

An 8% dip in stock price could never be considered an entry point for a contrarian strategy... especially with GOOG trading at almost 90 times its earnings and with a PEG of roughly 2.50.

Re:Two Words . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526014)

Buy high and sell ... eh ... higher I guess?

Re:Two Words . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526049)

Uh, it should be sell now.

Re:Two Words . . . (3, Insightful)

squidguy (846256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526088)

Here's two other words (echoing an excellent investment tome): Irrational Exuberance

Re:Two Words . . . (1)

neildiamond (610251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526169)

NO!! Short this stock!

Re:Two Words . . . (1)

iwsnet (946715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526204)

It's about time Google stock took a hit since it has gone up so much. However, I wouldn't be suprised if the shares went back up as fast as they came down.

Re:Two Words . . . (1)

BrockH01 (914945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526210)

Right on. The market is such a fickle thing. The important thing when investing is to do your homework and have discipline to stick to your investing strategy. Although I'm sure there are some day traders that are bailing out high and will get back after the price stabilizes. I think Google has intelligent leadership that can craft and follow an intelligent strategy, so no worries on the small price drop.

Re:Not just google, all ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526220)

Listening to talk radio yesterday, I was surprised to hear Xmission received and complied with a similar request to hand over all their web traffic logs to DOJ. I believe every major ISP has been issued with a similar request.

The patriot act has been used to force compliance with a wide sweeping DOJ porn sweep.

Missing words (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525864)

Well that ends rather abruptly, doesn't it? Must say I've never seen a sentence end on a comma before...

Google should stick to "not being evil" (5, Interesting)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525866)

Ahhh, now we'll really see whether they can really live up their "Don't be evil" policy! Does Google prefer stock price over ethics? While my instinct tells me the answer is firmly "no" I think we are all interested in the result.

I think Google did the right thing. In the western democracies we all have strict rules governing the powers of the various investigative authorities. There are very good reasons for this. The Police and Justice Department have incredible powers granted to them by the state. However, the same power that allows them to catch criminals can also be used for less noble purposes.

In any organisation of considerable size there is always a rogue element. An element that is deceitful, unethical and motivated by influences orthogonal to the goals of the institution. Sometimes these are fairly benign: David Blunket trying to get a quick visa so he and his bit on the side have a nanny to look after their child. Sometimes these can be very malicious: Robbers breaking in to the Democrat headquarters and planting bugs so Nixon could spy on their election campaign. (I'm British so they may be inaccuracies in this account)

The law is there not only to protect us from criminals but to protect us from the people who catch them too. In many ways, the protection from the people who catch criminals is vastly more important than protection from criminals. What criminal can get state sanctioned approval to search your home? Impound your possessions? Wrongfully impression you?

All over the western world, governments are granting their Police more and more powers in the name of combating terrorism. The chance of being killed by a terrorist is approximately zero. For comparison, in Britain 0.03% of us will die[1] in ALL possible mishaps this year. That takes account of murder, car crashes, being eaten by ferocious llamas and so on and so forth.

I would therefore venture that the threat posed by increasing Police power is vastly greater than the threat of terrorism. In Britain, we saw this illustrated for us nicely when an octogenarian, life-time member of the Labour party was escorted from the annual conference and arrested under anti-terrorism legislation. Here was a man saying that war in Iraq was unjust and he gets arrested under anti-terrorism legislation. This war on terror is becoming a war, conducted by ourselves, against ourselves to remove the democratic values we cherish so dearly. Shakespeare himself could not write such a dark tragedy.

Getting back to point. Just because the Justice Department says Google should jump it does not mean Google should meekly reply: "How High, Officer?". Just because the government asks you to do something does not mean that they have the proper authority to ask for it. Let them prove in a court of law that they have the proper authority to make such a claim. If they're right, they'll win and Google will have to capitulate. If they're wrong, then a precedent is set and the complicated system of checks and balances has once again protected liberty.

Simon

[1] - The Independent, Yesterday, in the Editorial section. Feel free to correct this figure if it is incorrect.

Re:Google should stick to "not being evil" (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525895)

Ahhh, now we'll really see whether they can really live up their "Don't be evil" policy!

Google lost me with that when they announced plans to release DRM'd content. Some people might claim DRM isn't evil, but I simply disagree (although I do make one exception, but don't plan to make anymore in the forseeable future, not even for Google). Good to see they aren't evil all the time, although they are more then willing to help the government keep down it's citizens (see China).

For christs sake (5, Insightful)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525949)

I think Google did the right thing.

Google is a marketing and advertising company. First, foremost, and mostly only. The don't be evil thing is superb marketing that gained them a groundswell of grassroots support, good for them. But their stock in trade, the tins of beans on their shelves, is consumer data. This information is their livelihood. the only reason they are resisted government requests for this information is because they don't want to give up their hard won and very valuable data. Plain and simple. Once it gets into govt hands, who knows where else it will go?

This is not ethics or morals, its like asking walmart to give up their entire inventory of shop-brand cola forever, while still buying it in. That's google's position, so spare us the hero stuff. (Shakespeare?!?) I fully expect this to be modded into the topsoil by the cleansed of brain, but honestly, this is slashdot. Three strangers disagree with you and you're meant to feel bad?

Google relies on software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526142)

[Darkman, Walkin Dude wrote: ] The don't be evil thing is superb marketing that gained them a groundswell of grassroots support, good for them. ...

This is not ethics or morals, its like asking walmart to give up their entire inventory of shop-brand cola forever, while still buying it in. That's google's position, so spare us the hero stuff. (Shakespeare?!?)


I agree 100 % with your observations. I would also add that Google relies heavily on software patents (eg the patent for the PageRank algorithm, as well as the Overture patents), and that software patents are evil, in part because they restrict the creation of free and open software.

Google made a big splash about the "Summer of Code", which IMO, is simply an attempt to buy the silence of the open source crowd by funding other open source projects that do not infringe on Google's patents. The tactic seems to have work, given the frequent positive coverage of Google on Slashdot, which is part of the Open Source Technology Group [ostg.com] .

Re:For christs sake (1)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526227)

So what is better for Google in the long run:

1. Give out the data and make share holders happy
2. Withhold the data and make customers happy.

We know now that 2 will lead to unhappy share holders.

If google select 1 then the customers will go away and the shareholders will be unhappy. So 1 leads to unhappy share holders.

Both actions lead to unhappy shareholders. So the better option is option 2 - since they at least dont make their customers unhappy.

Re:Google should stick to "not being evil" (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525952)


Ahhh, now we'll really see whether they can really live up their "Don't be evil" policy!


I was thinking the same thing, until someone pointed out that Google has been keeping tabs on searching activity for individual users for quite some time now. Think you've been doing searches without them keeping a history of what you've been searching and invading your privacy? Nope.

That's fine by me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525991)

As a connoisseur of finer soapy busty asian schoolgirls I would hope that they'd be tracking my selections to help improve their algorithms for everyone else. It's something I can give back to the world without any additional effort on my part. And oh by the way, YOU'RE WELCOME!

Re:Google should stick to "not being evil" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525979)

In Britain, we saw this illustrated for us nicely when an octogenarian, life-time member of the Labour party was escorted from the annual conference and arrested under anti-terrorism legislation.

Slight nitpick: he was detained, not arrested. That means he had to sit outside the conference for a bit. He wasn't taken away to a cell or anything.

Other than that, +1 to everything you said. Good post.

Re:Google should stick to "not being evil" (5, Interesting)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525992)

On the point.

There is HUGE difference between the Government and the Law.

Law is NOT made by Justice Department.
Google is right in standing up the Republican Justice Dept and saying: "Here's my middle finger. You can lick it or you can screw yourselves with it."

Obviously, the request was made by justice dept. not for fighting terrorists, but just to "help" other campaign corporates like MSFT to learn Google secrets.

This government is for criminals, by criminals (DeLay, Jack Abr.., etc). and for the criminals.
Since when do we start listening to criminals and reveal our business secrets to them.

Just TWO more years Google. Hold On !!!
 

Re:Google should stick to "not being evil" (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526084)

Actually the apparently request for the information was because the current administration wants to look at search queries for information regarding porn.

Now I am neutral on the whole "porn on the internet" industry and I see both sides, I personally see it as an abuse of power by the current administration for the purposes of campaigning, essentially to try to get re-elected, and I think that's a complete and utter bullshit reason to get the larger aggregate of information that they would be getting back.

The "noise" quotient of this request could be used for 101 other reason that I don't want to think about, the biggest of these, the stifling of civil liberties.

From a country who prides itself on it's freedom, I think the government even asking for this broad of data was a VERY VERY stupid mistake. I think Google could make this very painful and very public for them.

Berny

Re:Google should stick to "not being evil" (2, Insightful)

Quarters (18322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526152)

"Just TWO more years Google, Hold On !!!"

We have't gone to a three year presidential term. The President was innagurated for a second term on 1/2005. He won't leave office until 1/2009. He has three more years in office.

Re:Google should stick to "not being evil" (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526180)

Damn, that's civilisation down the pan, then. With Bush in charge, 2009 is likely to start with us being drowned in our nuclear shelters by the rising sea, while government helicopters hover overhead shooting dead anyone who scrambles out, because only a terrorist music pirate would try to run away from the wrath of the One True God.

Re:Google should stick to "not being evil" (1)

hzs202 (932886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526159)

I would therefore venture that the threat posed by increasing Police power is vastly greater than the threat of terrorism.

Not to mention it screws with the pension plan which is already a mess *scowls ferociously*.

Re:Google should stick to "not being evil" (1)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526237)

Does Google prefer stock price over ethics?


The fact that the situation exists is your answer. Corporations do not go into these things without thinking them through.

Easy Fix (5, Funny)

Heliode (856187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525867)

All Google needs to do is rename itself to Freedom Search, and all will be well...

Re:Easy Fix (1)

LittleKing (688048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525931)

Could Google request what stats the Goverment wants and then come up with it? That way it wouldn't have to reveal any privacy or business information, only the stats about searches. We see search stats all the time. To me this seems like very doable possiblity. Would I be wrong?

Re:Easy Fix (2, Insightful)

CheddarHead (811916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525980)

While that seems reasonable, that's not really what the gov wants. After all if they make a clear request for a particular statistic, the answer may not actually support the position they're taking.

Remember, this isn't just a fact finding mission for the gov. They want "evidence" to support a restrictive law. They want the raw data so that *they* (not Google) can rake through it and find any statistic that might support their position. If such data doesn't exist, then they just won't use any of the info, and the fact that the data doesn't support their argument can be easily swept under the carpet. If Google does the analysis, the results will become known to the public whether the gov likes it or not.

Nonsense. (5, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525869)

The whole market's taking a hit from the Nikkei scare, and the oil prices. I doubt that most of GOOG's investors even know that there's any issue with the DoJ's unreasonable demands on Google.

-jcr

Re:Nonsense. (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526060)

The tech sector was especially hard hit. Intel, Apple, and Yahoo, who according to slashdot did comply with the investigations, all took a beating. This story is nothing but FUD, pretty standard stuff here on slashdot.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526113)

In TFA, the DOJ search request is listed after a half-dozen other negative factors. It's blatant pandering to the Slashdot obsessions to focus only on that as the cause of the price decline.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

SavvyPlayer (774432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526118)

Yes, the selloff actually began on the 18th with this headline:

http://www.newratings.com/analyst_news/article_118 2255.html [newratings.com]

Absent this downgrade and the general downturn, its share price would not have moved more than a few percentage points. After all, GOOG is big business, and let's not forget who's running the show.

I live to compare Google to another high flyer (1)

arothstein (233805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525872)

This is FUD (5, Interesting)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525877)

The entire market was down. Granted, not 8%, but to attribute
the decline in the Google shareprice because of the DOJ action
is silly.

Re:This is FUD (1, Troll)

undeadly (941339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525898)

The entire market was down. Granted, not 8%, but to attribute the decline in the Google shareprice because of the DOJ action is silly.

"Defy us and we'll plant false stories to punish you." Actually, this is common practice with the current administration.

Re:This is FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526009)

I believe that if there is any impact on stock price, it is because DOJ *SUCCESS* could hurt Google usage volume. Even the slightest hesitation in users when using Google and related services could impact total usage and ad volume. The premise that investors are concerned about the cost or other fallout of a law suit is ridiculous.

Google probably got hit harder than the market because its investors had more profit to take.

Re:This is FUD (2, Informative)

zfractal (170078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526062)

Exactly. This has much less to do with the DOJ subpoena, and a lot more to do with how the rest of the market is performing. More specifically, I think it has a lot to do with Yahoo's lower than expected earnings for the last quarter. Just looking up YHOO on Yahoo itself, you'll see most of the related news headlines are about Google [yahoo.com] and are not related to the DOJ subpoena.

Google will ultimately have to bow to shareholders (4, Insightful)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525879)

Going public was a double-edged sword for Google. While Google performs and the stock performs, the shareholders aren't an issue (pretty much up until now). Google's "Do No Evil" is really out of their control now. A bunch of short-sighted bottom-line investors are in control of it now. Google can manage to take a hit here and there, but if this thing of the DoJ gets out of hand, Google's whole culture may take a change for the worse when the shareholders want their pound of flesh.

Re:Google will ultimately have to bow to sharehold (4, Informative)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525909)

You mention shareholders, but as far as I know, the majority of Google stock is in the hands of the founders and the employees.

Anyone got data on this in support/against?

Re:Google will ultimately have to bow to sharehold (1)

Ireneo Funes (886273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526090)

% Held by Insiders4: 35.11% % Held by Institutions4: 37.90% So... you're wrong. 295.55M shares out, aprox 80M floating... Also I remember a lot of insider selling when GOOG hit the 430 mark, you might have been right then, but now, with a free float of about 27%, you aren't.

Google stock down (5, Informative)

StarCharter (768335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525881)

This is just flat wrong! Google's stock got clipped because the whole market went down. Investors are worried because the price of a barrel of oil went above $68 a barrel, the Nikei exchange tanked, and several Big Names reported shortfalls. Target buy prices from wall street analysts rangfe fromn $480 to $560. I wish I had a couple of million to put into this "flawed" stock! I expect to see Google at $500 before the end of 2006.

Re:Google stock down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526224)

Target buy prices from wall street analysts rangfe fromn $480 to $560.

Some morons never learn. Here's a reminder for you.

" ...Granted, Enron took a slide [businessweek.com] along with the rest of the market on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, but in general, analysts are expecting great things from a company that has been in the vanguard of developing the deregulated wholesale power market...

Carol Coale, an analyst at Prudential Securities, has a 12-month target price of $102 a share -- an upside potential of nearly 60%. For investors who think the market will be bottoming out soon, now might be a good time to consider a growth stock like this at a relatively cheap price."

Google is old, obsolete (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525904)

www.live.com my friends. www.live.com!

So let me get this straight . . . (4, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525905)

Google does something that is bound to endear them to their audience, and thus bound to increase their "ratings" (page views), and thus bound to increase click numbers for their customers, and so bound to increase their income - and their stock goes DOWN? Once they get a court order, they'll give up the data, sure, but the cost of fighting the supoena is nothing compared to the good will their resistance to releasing user data will garner. I don't think these investors really understand what Google is selling.

Don't be retarded (4, Informative)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525906)

From the article: "'There are potentially concerns that Google could be in the cross-hairs of the Justice Department,' Kessler said.

The whole market got slammed yesterday. Google is way out there in terms of valuation and 8% isn't that much considering.

The "Justice" Dept. didn't just go after Google records, they asked all the major search engines. Google just had the nads to stand up and say no.

That's not going to cause their stock to go down, being over-bought causes a sell off, especially when the rest of the market is taking a header. Google could be selling toxic waste and as long as their earnings stayed up the market would still buy their stock. This is nothing more than another example of an over-reaching administration trying to gather statistics to support the conclusion they started with.

I can't wait 'till November.

Re:Don't be retarded (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525912)

The "Justice" Dept. didn't just go after Google records, they asked all the major search engines. Google just had the nads to stand up and say no.

I'm glad I use google as my primary search engine (although being an Australian the privacy issue would be fairly minimal, I'm happy to support a company (even if they do occassionally do evil) that will protect American's privacy).

November 2006 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526105)

I can't wait 'til you're no more successful November 2006 than you were in November 2004.

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anym... is today pizza day?"

Thank god you morons have the attention span of the average fruit fly.

Atheists for Bush 2006

The point of insanity (1, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525910)

Doesn't this starkly expose the futility and dysfunctionality of the stock market system, and discredit the idea that "the free market" has some sort of guiding hand that will give the best results?

What kind of insanity is this, that the government goes out of control, spending billions on a pointless war, spends billions more spying on its own citizens - and Google has its stock price downgraded because it stands up to a basic infringement on the rights of American citizens? Even though this would have no effect on profitability or income? Jesus Christ on a stick.

Re:The point of insanity (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525945)

Doesn't this starkly expose the futility and dysfunctionality of the stock market system, and discredit the idea that "the free market" has some sort of guiding hand that will give the best results?

No, that's discredited by the fact that a company reports a profit for the third quarter of 22 cents when Wall Street was expecting 24 cents and therefore the stock price plunges. And if this happens to a Blue Chip stock, the whole market tanks.

What kind of insanity is this, that the government goes out of control, spending billions on a pointless war, spends billions more spying on its own citizens - and Google has its stock price downgraded because it stands up to a basic infringement on the rights of American citizens?

I suspect Google's stock price dip had more to do with the overall drop in the market than simply the refusal of the DoJ's request, but no doubt it was that kind of news coupled with the rise in oil prices and tensions overseas that propelled the market's slide.

Re:The point of insanity (1)

dividedbyfate (947761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525969)

First you talk about the free market and the invisible hand.

Then you talk about how the government is invovled. The invisible hand works most efficiently only if the government doesn't stick it's dick into business. This is exactly what occurred here. Take away the government, and there's no problem in the first place.

Even if the 8% drop is a result of the subpoena, the market response is fairly rational--the natural reaction is to say, "Crap, they fucked with the government, now they're gonna get legislated on!"

Re:The point of insanity (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526038)

Then you talk about how the government is invovled. The invisible hand works most efficiently only if the government doesn't stick it's dick into business.

Why isn't the government a part of the market?

This is exactly what occurred here. Take away the government, and there's no problem in the first place.

Take away the government, then there's no roads to run businesses on in the first place. The government is a major sponsor of business. Businesses benefit more from the government than they are restricted by the government.

Troll my ass! (1)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526031)

Doesn't this starkly expose the futility and dysfunctionality of the stock market system, and discredit the idea that "the free market" has some sort of guiding hand that will give the best results?

What kind of insanity is this, that the government goes out of control, spending billions on a pointless war, spends billions more spying on its own citizens - and Google has its stock price downgraded because it stands up to a basic infringement on the rights of American citizens? Even though this would have no effect on profitability or income? Jesus Christ on a stick.

Whoever modded these words troll deserves to be locked up for no reason, never see a trial, and be tortured at Guatanomo bay. And then be "disappeared".

Re:The point of insanity (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526073)

Doesn't this starkly expose the futility and dysfunctionality of the stock market system, and discredit the idea that "the free market" has some sort of guiding hand that will give the best results?

In a word, no.

Nobody ever promised that liberty produces the best results at all times, it's just that all attempts to centrally plan an economy have been dismal failures, often accompanied by appalling loss of millions of lives.

-jcr

Re:The point of insanity (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526123)

Nobody ever promised that liberty produces the best results at all times,

Who is talking about liberty? I'm talking about the "free market" in the Libertarian sense - the idea that economics and property rights should trump all else, and we should rely on the market to do what's best. Often the free market is at odds with human liberty.

it's just that all attempts to centrally plan an economy have been dismal failures, often accompanied by appalling loss of millions of lives.

Who was talking about centrally planning an economy? As far as I know, businesses plan their own economic affairs. This does not preclude government regulation. In any case, I don't see what this has to do with the question at hand.

POP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525919)

This is mostly rationalization. The stock was obviously over-inflated and something was bound to come along and burst the bubble. The significance of the actual subpoena controversy is overstated.

Retaliation (0)

cffrost (885375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525920)


Gov tries to punish users, Google protects users.

Wall St. fears Gov may punish Google, Wall St. punishes Google.

The ball is in users' court...

Users punish Gov, punish Wall St., and/or protects Google.

Suggestions?

Re:Retaliation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14525972)


Suggestions?


Um....send cffrost to economics class, and teach him how to look at overvalued stocks and trends in all stocks when the entire market takes a dip on the day in question?

How's that for starters?

Re:Retaliation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526053)

Write letters endorsing their position. Particularly astute letters that recongnize that one of their primary reason is likely the modest preservation of their technological edge, but commending them for taking actions in alignment with their customers wishes. Perhaps closing with an observation about how they were alone among their peers in chosing to build trust with their customers.

Then use google more, or write further about how that's an impossibility given how much one may already depend on them.

Writing letters to one's senators, or even one's local goverment officials encouraging them to adopt resolutions critical of the administrations horrendous actions and endorsing Google might have some small use as well. Imagine Redmond, Washington lionizing Google's example. That wouldn't make the national news?

Re:Retaliation (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526091)

Suggestions?

Get drunk and sleep with a floozy.

Teach, Inform... [Re:Retaliation] (1)

tuomas_kaikkonen (843958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526099)

Teach the government what its people want. Inform the lawmakers. One way to do this could be to start hitting sites that teach YOUR point of view on the search engines that you think the government will see. Punishment is very bad teaching method, as any parent may know. Retaliation is very bad tool. Shed the light instead. Be the beacon of real hope, real justice, and real change for the better. Thanks, Tuomas

One of the most important question is (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525928)

Why do they need to really log what you are doing? Surely they could create a profile about you by using an initial 3 months of search data, delete all of the search records and periodically tweak it. They don't need to record all of your searches for the rest of your life, all they need is to build and tweak your advertising profile.

Of course this does expose a fundamental flaw of modern capitalism that I as a libertarian will admit is real: there is no alternative here. Everyone is doing it, probably even the wannabe Googles that have .05% of the market. It's looking more and more like the Internet will not be a stronghold of liberty in general, but rather just freedom of speech.

Re:One of the most important question is (1)

Narcissus (310552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526095)

Now admittedly, I don't know how much they store and how individualised the records get when you 'opt out', but I like the fact that Google remembers everything I search for.

The number of times I've used the Search History is a lot more than I expected to use it, to be honest. I'm one of those morons that has hundreds of sites bookmarked and they get lost in the crowd. If it wasn't for Google's Search History, I don't know how many times I would lose a site that I found not long before.

Just trying to provide a little reasoning for storing more than just a simple profile and as I said at the beginning, I don't know how much is stored when you have opted not to use the Search History feature...

Re:One of the most important question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526139)

Your search history is stored on your computer.

if google was realy not evil... (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526193)

Why do they need to really log what you are doing?

Because Google is a company. Companies like to make money. Search results are gold to Google. I agree if Google were the perfect virgin company we all would believe they are, they shouldn't keep records - adsense should work on the fly, no profiling. Fact is profiling works, and they make a killing off of it. I believe they aren't bowing to the DOJ to hide the extent of their profiling and because they are afraid of revealing (somehow) trade secrets - which they partially saidin their subpoena reply. Of course, being /., everyone just said "google is good! they loves teh me!" and thought they were just defending the user...

It has very little to do with that ... (4, Insightful)

xdesk (550151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525932)

... the stock was simply highly overpriced and the markets made a first adjustment!!!

Patriot Search (5, Funny)

Grumpy Troll (790026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525941)

If you feel that using Google is henceforth treason to your government then use Patriot Search [outer-court.com] !

Thanks, your search has been recorded and will be shared with the governments of the world!

The market tanked, too. (2, Informative)

cbull (63145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525964)

I think it's hard to say Google's decline was due solely to the DoJ inquiry and their refusal to cooperate. The market dropped 213 points yesterday on other fears.

Give Me a Break... (5, Informative)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525989)

The link between the subpena[sp?] and the drop in Google's price is pretty weak. A better answer might be the decline in LiveDoor over in Japan because of securities fraud. Major financial organizations don't buy just a few stocks. They tend to buy quite a few and some do so with heavy leveraging. The collapse of LiveDoor probably jeapardize the liquidity of some of those organizations. To stay afloat they sold off a bunch of other stocks, including Google with its previous $400 valuation. If anyone's interested, read "When Genius Failed" to see a similar scenario like this that happened when Russia defaulted.

Combine that with the Nikkei's drop and higher oil prices, you can see why. Let's not forget people's knee jerk reaction. Also, some people got it on Google not because they believe in its financials or ideas but because they see the price go up and think that more people will pile on -- other people like themselves. They planned on selling as soon as the price start on a major move down. So perhaps the LiveDoor collapse triggered the move. Seeing this, they all tried to sell and thus magnified the change. This kind of thing is very common. Read "The Devil Takes the Hindmost" for some good examples. The phrase means that stock speculators all know that an overpriced stock will come down eventually but they all plan on selling out and handing it off to the next idiot and hopefully the last idiot is the devil. I'm not saying Google is pure speculation but I'm sure some of its buyers were speculators who only looked at the price and nothing else.

In any case, there are much better explanations or theories for the drop than just a little subpena. Anaylsts are not all geniuses, especially the ones that speak to the news media. I mean, if I was a genius and knew what's going on, why would I let other people know? You make money trading because you know or think you know more than the other party.

Seconding the nonsense crowd (1, Interesting)

Arcturax (454188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525996)

Definately no evidence the DOJ thing has anything to do with this. I wonder at this point if the Bush admin and it's friends are planting this story to punish Google for resisting their hard line views.

The whole market is down, and given how high prices Google's stock is, the drop looks all the more extreme.

Now I'm not a financial guy nor do I know a whole lot about investing and the like, but I am wondering why Google has not split this stock long ago? Their current price is doing a lot to keep small investors out of owning anything but a pittance of Google stock. Does anyone with market knowhow have an explanation for why a company would let it's stock go so high when it will suffer such extremes in value during currnent market fluctiations like right now? I know most companies split their stock when it gets expensive enough. Why not Google?

Re:Seconding the nonsense crowd (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526078)

Their current price is doing a lot to keep small investors out of owning anything but a pittance of Google stock. Does anyone with market knowhow have an explanation for why a company would let it's stock go so high when it will suffer such extremes in value during currnent market fluctiations like right now?

To stop small investors from owning more than a pittance of Google stock.

Re:Seconding the nonsense crowd (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526093)

I know most companies split their stock when it gets expensive enough. Why not Google?
Perhaps they're just saving themseleves the trouble of reversing it a few years down the line.

Re:Seconding the nonsense crowd (1)

vikingstad (565943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526233)

Google has a policy not to split its stock. There are a couple of companies, and successfully so, that do the same. The point is that a stock-split is not really of any other purpose than splitting what is already out there in smaller pieces, so supposedly to get a more liquid stock. The stock then "looks" more affordable, but it really isn't.

At some point though, the stock price might so high that it's actually hindering people to buy it (since you have to buy at least ONE stock, investors normally buy pack of a 100)...

Nevertheless... (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14525997)

Let's keep swamping Google with sex searches!!! (see .sig)

Google is Horribly Overpriced (5, Informative)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526003)

So anything could prick a bubble.

Last I checked it was around 400 a share: http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=goog [yahoo.com]

And its market capitalization was around 118 billion dollars. That gives them a P/E ratio of around 88 or 89.

To put this in perspective, their market capitalization, which should be around how much money their business is worth, is about 40% of Microsoft's market cap. And Microsoft is a monopoly sitting on $40 billion of cash. Their P/E is in the low 20's.

Re:Google is Horribly Overpriced (-1, Troll)

31415926535897 (702314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526196)

That gives [GOOG] a P/E ratio of around 88 or 89. [MSFT's] P/E is in the low 20's.

Sorry, but sometimes I feel like P/E ratio is one of the mose asinine measurements. The current P/Es don't take splits into account. Based on splits and adjustments, MSFT's P/E is really 276.66. GOOG hasn't split or given dividends since it IPOed, so it still has its P/E of 90. Now GOOG's P/E doesn't look so bad, does it?

Fill up the logs... (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526017)

One of the Mozilla related blogs I read suggested filling search logs with useless data [accettura.com] if everyone does this in the same query then both the search engines and the government will know we don't find this acceptable.

How is this request an invasion into users privacy (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526028)

I can understand issues being brought up if requested data included the ip's or other forms of user identification, but the request made to Google was for one million pages within their index ( an incredibly small percentage of their complete index, and data that could be easily and freely compiled by conducting automated searches on google itself ) and one week's worth of searches. At no point has the DOJ requested that search terms be accompanied by ip's or userid's of individuals conducting those searches ( which are almost deffinitely stored by google anyway ). How is the request of data unassociated with individual users a breach of privacy?
Statistics are compiled on a number of products/services/figures and released daily. These statistics are generated by analysing individuals personal data, be it related to shopping, travelling, viewing, eating, etc. However when these statistics are compiled, they are done so without any complication or outry, due to the fact that the data analysed is not linked to an individuals identity.
The only problem here is Google's unwillingness to comply with a perfectly reasonable request, in the process defending its actions with its 'Do No Evil' moto to gain further public support and free publicity.

No personal data has been requested, nor would it be neccesary for the case in question.

Re:How is this request an invasion into users priv (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526202)

And what happens when the government finds a query for "How to rape a child". Will the government feel it has the need, for public safety of course, to request the ip of that request? How will google respond? What would it look like to the public if google refuses to give for THAT request? What happens if google gives in and then the government asks for more IPs based on other queries, "How to make Meth at home", "How to murder and get away with it", "bush pork barrel spending", "Bush funny pictures". If you give in on one your going to be presured to give in for others. Look at bush and the current abuse of the what used to be our rights and tell me theat they wouldnt also abuse this.

Re:How is this request an invasion into users priv (5, Insightful)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526230)

The request is not perfectly reasonable. The government is asking for lots and lots of data from Google to support their argument for a bill.

I don't know about you, but there is absolutely no possible justification for this. A subpoena [wikipedia.org] is meant to compel testimony in a court proceeding, not to steal data on your citizens for the soul purpose of possibly justifyiny a conclusion you made based off of hyperbole.

What doesn't make any sense... (1)

Siberwulf (921893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526047)

didn't RTFA btw

" 'Investors are worried about interest rates and inflation and they felt technology stocks like Google, Apple, Yahoo and others were able to withstand these kinds of pressure. But now that ability is in doubt, "

How does the subpoena resistance have anything to do with interest rates and inflation? Sounds like the article is a coincidence.

If I was Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526050)

If I was Microsoft, I would try to lobby at the government exactly for this: getting them subpoena google every month.

And I bet, the US government is using Google pretty much exclusively if it comes to Internet search.

Google will find lots of allies. GodSpeed. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526058)

The boorishness and panache of the Bush administration knows no boundaries. This is one more straw on the camel's back of liberty. How far this administration will go is still unknown.

As others have said: buy Google Stock. They need no "Google Defense Fund"....

What madness. What All Star Weenies: MSN, Yahoo, and AOL-- who cave and cower and quiver in fealty to this adminstration. How mindlessly droll and insensitive....

If Google caves to the subpoena, then the last shred of dignity and privacy from the Internet is gone.

If Patrick Henry were alive, there'd be a regime change in Washington.

Re:Google will find lots of allies. GodSpeed. (1)

uktroubs (816489) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526103)

How is privacy destroyed when, as explained in a previous post I made without login in, no identity data has been requested. http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2006-01-19-n45 .html [outer-court.com] which is a pro-google blog even states, at the bottom of the article: According to the motion filed [PDF], Google was first supposed to hand over all queries entered between June 1, 2005, and July 31, 2005 inclusive. This was then narrowed down to a demand for every single search entered into Google over a one-week period (without specific information that could connect the searches to a person). The request made was for search data only. At no point did the DOJ request IP's of users conducting those searches or any other method if identification ( evn though Google almost certainly collects and stores this data ). How is it a breach in privacy if the requested data cannot be linked to an individual? When travel statistics are compiled using data relating to individuals travel patterns, is that also an invasion of privacy? Or CD Charts, compiled using sales figures.

Alright, Time to Buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526063)

Now is my chance to pick up some stock at a bargain. Bless you Oh Fickle Market.

What exactly is govt looking for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14526087)

Percentage of queries for porn? That's ridiculous. That's like saying that since most of email is spam, there is no legitimate reason for email. Most of email is spam because spam is so ineffective that spammers need to send huge amounts of it to make money. So even if 99.99% of search engine queries were for porn, all that might mean is that the searches are ineffective. Has anyone found real unfaked nude photo's of Natalie Portman? No. (and God knows I've tried)

Also, there's no way knowing which queries were by children (this is about COPA, right?). If they're looking for search queries that were by children, assuming there aren't huge numbers of Square Pant's Sponge Bob fetishs out there, they can just try out the queries directly and see what the search engines return.

I suspect this is just a fishing expedition by the goverment and that they will pick and choose the data to fit whatever conclusion they see as most convenient. Kind of like SCO's strategy against IBM. "We will keep asking for discovery until we find something incriminating."

tendentious interpretation... (1)

yidele (947452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526128)

of normal market behaviour is one way to get attention... I find it difficult to believe that a DOJ request for proprietary data would have such an impact on Google's stock price. Google is a great resource and this episode ( I'm sure it won't be the last, either) highlights a need for an encrypted, anonymous alternative to search engine access (a'la overnet?) and perhaps another searching/indexing model. As long as access records to index data are stored centrally, people will want to get at what other people are looking for and that alone is reason enough to deny them the data, especially to corporate and government entities. For legal and security purposes it might be practical to aggregate queries and filter redundant ones at semi-randomly picked proxy sites located outside the area of jurisdiction, then pass the resulting queries on to a distributed engine. This might also serve to reduce network load to the core service.

The Test of The Gods! (1)

hzs202 (932886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526174)

Investors are worried about interest rates and inflation and they felt technology stocks like Google, Apple, Yahoo and others were able to withstand these kinds of pressure.

This will determine whether or not Google is Evil in a rainbow guise or not, if they can withstand pressure from the shareholders to uphold greater virtues "WE SHALL SACRIFICE A LAMB and FEAST".

Nothing to do with lawsuit (2, Insightful)

WryCoder (18961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526189)

GOOG is just following the market down. Every time the market moves, the analysts have to come up with an explanation, which is almost always bogus.

It seems extraordinarily clumsy of the Justice Department to subpoena this information from the search engines. First and foremost, by what right can the US government require confidential information from a company or person when there is no criminal action contemplated? The fourth amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and this seems to be just such a case.

Fourth Amendment [findlaw.com]

Second, the traditional way for the US government to get this kind of information is to fund a 'study' and pay the web search companies for a series of analyses on a given topic of interest. The companies get to keep their methods confidential, get some return for their trouble, and the government has the benefit of expert analysis. Is this ethical? I'm sure Google and the government could agree on a degree of data anonymity that would satisfy both parties.

In this specific case, it appears that the government is trying to access data that isn't going to satisfy their objective. By being confrontational, they aren't going to get the benefit of Google's guidance.

Finally, it's pretty cynical to try to extract this information under the guise of combating child pornography. They are trying to get their nose in the tent using an issue that no one dares to counter.

It may be a MSFT tactic... (1)

tetabiate (55848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526199)

Google hands over the search records to the government and loses user credit forever.

  - Chirac had to go mainstream or resign and end his mandate as a looser.

Info release hurts Google's business model (1)

NimNar (744239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14526231)

Basically, Google said no basically because disclosing information on search to the govt puts them at risk for all kinds of outside data mining. Also, if Google disclosed information and I knew about it I'd use another search engine.
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