Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Court Date Set for Google Lawsuit

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the to-be-a-fly-on-that-wall dept.

Google 209

Jason Jardine wrote to mention a C|Net story giving the date and location for Google's court case with the government. From the article: "Google's attempt to fend off the government's request for millions of search terms will move to a federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Feb. 27. U.S. District Judge James Ware on Thursday set the date for the highly anticipated hearing, which is expected to determine whether the U.S. Justice Department will prevail in its fight to force Google to help it defend an anti-pornography law this fall."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578469)

maybe?

lol (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578473)

props 2 trolls

Too bad.. (4, Funny)

JDooty1234 (253000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578489)

... they can't just dredge up a cache of Johnny Cochran.

Google apologist logic 40 years earlier (0, Offtopic)

trollzor (858973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578761)

Google is right to change the results of South African searchers looking for images and information about the Sharpeville massacre [google.cn] because in the end it's better for Google to be in the South African apartheid market than out of it, and they'd be out if they let them see images like this [google.com.au] . Giving them access to some information is better than none and little bits will slip through because you can't censor everything.

What about the ANC [google.com.au] you say? Well the South African government considers them terrorists so it's only really obeying the laws of South Africa to change the results [google.cn] of a search for them.

I think it's clear Google shouldn't boycott the South African government because in the end what can Google really do [anc.org.za] ? What would a boycott ever achieve [wikipedia.org] ?

Google is staying true to it's motto "Don't be evil" by making compromises that you absolutists simply don't understand.

Can you say Circus? (1, Insightful)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578496)

I bet there will be a media and protester circus outside the courthouse on this one. Then again, maybe CourtTV will have the hearing live. This will be interesting and will definately shape the discussion on the Justice Department and internal US spying.

Interesting Point (3, Interesting)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578500)

I find it somewhat interesting how Google rightfully doesn't want to cooperate with the US government on this issue, but I also find it funny how they will appease the Chinese government when its in their best interest.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Interesting Point (1)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578513)

That's because there is no potential profit from cooperating with the US government.

1. Create Search Engine
2. Cooperate|Not Cooperate
3. Media Exposure
4. Profit!

Re:Interesting Point (1, Insightful)

rindeee (530084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578528)

Indeed. Will Google's moral compass be so fixed when the Chinese government demands similar of them?

Re:Interesting Point (3, Insightful)

treehouse (781426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578794)

The Chinese government hasn't made similar demands. Why do you think they might? If you're looking for a "slippery slope" argument, what will Google say when the US government asks for a list of all people who make queries critical of Bush?

Re:Interesting Point (-1, Troll)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579242)

No, they already bent over for the commies.

-jcr

Re:Interesting Point (3, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578538)

They arn't giving china information on its citizens (though I believe there are search engines that are??) simply complying with blocking requirements by the chinese government. Look at it the other way google currently attempts to block warez sites which the US government deems illigal, such blocking would be seen my many in china to be an parralel example.

Re:Interesting Point (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578567)

It seems to be in Google's best interest to get the exposure in China.

It ALSO seems to be in their best interest to NOT GIVE exposure of their US clients' data.

No issue here as far as I can see (apart from (potentially) my grammar)

Re:Interesting Point (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578581)

We all don't like China's way of running the government, but what the justice department asked for is illegal in the US. What they are doing in China is not illegal, and in fact, is the only way it can work. Other countries set there own laws, and you follow them in there or else. There are many laws in the US that aren't in other countries(drinking age being one of them). What would you think about guiness having a billboard targeted at teenagers in our country?

Re:Interesting Point (1)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578819)

"What would you think about guiness having a billboard targeted at teenagers in our country?"

A black soother with Guinness foam on the end of it would be AWESOME!

Re:Interesting Point (5, Insightful)

ranton (36917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578589)

I hate how short sided people can be when they have their mind made up about something. Cooperating with the Chinese government was not as "evil" as the Slashdot crowd would like you to believe.

Google had two options:

1) Refuse China's request, therefore reducing the average Chinese citizen's access to information on the internet greatly.

2) Comply with China's request, therefore helping the average Chinese citizen access information while only restricting their access slightly. In addition, they can have a message that notifies them that sites are being blocked for political reasons.

In my opinion, it would have been "evil" of Google to not comply with China's request. It would be the same as refusing to give food to North Korea because you do not like their government. I do not think letting millions of people starve would be the best approach to overthrowing the North Korean government. I also do not think the best way to liberate China from their oppressive regime is to isolate them even further.

--

Yep, those bosses need all the help they can get (2, Informative)

tiltowait (306189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578734)

I disagree. Subsidizing evil's still evil. Many are claiming Google's shunning of the government's request has nothing to do with protecting privacy, but rather trade secrets [mediabuyerplanner.com] , which could be reverse engineered from making such massive lists (potentially) public. As with the censored Chinese Google News, when it comes to removing content, from Google News sources [pcworld.com] to multiple DMCA complaints [slashdot.org] to the now infamous Google Print caving in to publishers legal threats [lisnews.com] , the company has been consistent: they do what's best for stockholder value. I don't see how their slogan can be "do no evil" for much longer.

As for your foreign policy analogies, I'm a bigger fan of Containment [wikipedia.org] than Brinkmanship [wikipedia.org] , but that's just because I saw the former work with the USSR and what the latter is accomplishing today.

Being inside gives Google power for change (4, Insightful)

daBass (56811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579204)

In one way I agree with you. But information - even if some of it is filtered - is power. Selling arms to the chinese goverment is obviously bad. Giving it's citizens at least some access is better than depriving them completely because you don't like the goverment. If the people can't see beyond the curtain at least a little bit, they don't know what they are missing and what they should be protesting about. (see North Korea)

Besides, Google being Google, it would not surprise me at all that now that they are in and paying lucrative taxes to the Chinese goverment they will try to keep pushing the boundries. If the stayed outside and managed to avoid the filtering, the Chinese goverment could easily block them completely. Now they are on the inside, the goverment has something to lose.

Re:Interesting Point (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578735)

In my opinion, it would have been "evil" of Google to not comply with China's request. It would be the same as refusing to give food to North Korea because you do not like their government. I do not think letting millions of people starve would be the best approach to overthrowing the North Korean government. I also do not think the best way to liberate China from their oppressive regime is to isolate them even further.

IMO, the two things do not equate, as the Chinese can live without the Internet, but the North Koreans cannot live without food (though they've done so longer than I would have thought possible without pulling down their government).

That said, I agree with the basic premise of your argument, although in Google's case, it can be said that the bottom line in this case drove their decision more than geopolitical expediency or the welfare of the masses. While not "evil", it was certainly not justifiable on moral grounds. If we believe in equality and human rights, then the Chinese people have just as much right to free expression and exchange of ideas as anyone else.

Re:Interesting Point (1)

inerte (452992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578799)

I guess you're saying that it's ok if I select only certain parts of your post, so people get to know you better. Better to know something than nothing at all, right?

ranton said

the best way to liberate China from their oppressive regime is to isolate them even further.

Re:Interesting Point (1)

controlguy (818801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579057)

Just a quick point -- our isolation (via embargo) of Cuba since the 60's hasn't worked at all to remove Fidel Castro, and our isolation of N. Korea hasn't worked to stem the tide of their nuclear ambitions at the expense of its own people. Each of these nations has an agenda and intends to see it through. Both governments (like China) isolate their people despite our efforts ( Cuban example [wikipedia.org] ), and, further, they use our isolationist tactics against us by demonizing America to justify their abusive power.

All expectations are that China will overtake the USA as the world's #1 economy in this century, regardless of Google's actions. If we isolate China, we give the rest of the world to invest in the future cash cow while we're left behind. Sure, in an ideal world, free speech, democracy, and apple pie conquer all, but this is the real world. Fact is, by not isolating China, their markets have opened and captitalism is beginning to take some root. Some believe that the emerging middle class in China will eventually demand reform, but we can only hope.

I think its also important to note that our interactions with China can hardly be classified as Brinkmanship. Remember the debates of this past summer about them pegging their currency to ours? We did nothing about it, despit tough talk from Capitol Hill.

Re:Interesting Point (1)

inerte (452992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579331)

This is entirely different from Google sticking with its motto. I do think China will be the largest economy in the world, if not on this century, the next. And India close... mostly because of the volume of workforce available.

Google can enter any market they want. They can even never report (or index pages, or serve on news.google.com) journalist assassinations around the world, torture on prisons, and all that stuff.

But at least come clean. Saying "we do no evil" while doing evil is marketing fluff. Once a company run by engineers, with cool products, Google had to make decisions based on profit, but they still market themselves as the good boys around the block.

Are they better, or less evil, or do more good than MSN and Yahoo? Yeah, probably, but on the long term, it's not a good strategy. People like the "don't be evil" thing.

Once we know that Google is capable of taking decisions based on money, bending its values and promoted motto to increase the stock value, it really puts a question mark on a lot of other actions.

Back to the topic, are we *sure* now that Google didn't deliver the information requested by DoJ because they want to protect its users' privacy? Can you find economical reasons for this? I can, and one of them is exactly privacy: As a search engine, Google has to earn trust from the users, and protecting their privacy is one step into this.

But did Google really protected your privacy or did they really protected their business? The original intention is crucial, not only because of the moral ramifications of the motto, but because, what happens next? What if an advertiser comes and says that they want Google's data about you?

And is an advertiser trying to hold information about you, looking for profit, worse than Google holding information about you, and also looking for profit? When you know that Google might do anything to get money, that's a scary thing.

Things are not that bad of course. Google is still the nicest player around. But they showed us that they will bend what's right and wrong when money is involved. And that's scary :(

Re:Interesting Point (2, Funny)

Speare (84249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578856)

2) Comply with China's request, therefore helping the average Chinese citizen access information while only restricting their access slightly. In addition, they can have a message that notifies them that sites are being blocked for political reasons.

I have heard this argument, but have not yet seen the proposed message that the Chinese user would see. If it really says, "hey, your government made us hide some useful information from you" then fine, but I really expect it will end up watered down, barely better than "the Party Seal means you're getting 85% more fresh Party goodness, guaranteed."

Re:Interesting Point (2, Interesting)

Soruk (225361) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579174)

That's an easy one. Go to www.google.cn [google.cn] , do a search for "Democracy" (Hmm.. slashcode is removing the HTML entities for the Chinese characters.. the unicodes are: 6C11 4E3B 653F 6CBB, convert these into their Chinese characters and paste into google.cn) and see what you get back. Oh, and all the better if you can, or can borrow someone who can, read Chinese.

Re:Interesting Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578914)

I hate how short sided people can be when they have their mind made up about something. Cooperating with the Chinese government was not as "evil" as the Slashdot crowd would like you to believe.

Perhaps we should think about it the other way around: maybe the request for anonymous info isn't that heinous while agreeing to help the chinese government break their own laws and censor their citizens is.

I hate how short sided people can be when they have their mind made up about something. Cooperating with the American government was not as "evil" as the Slashdot crowd would like you to believe.

Re:Interesting Point (1)

Jose (15075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579033)

can the above post be a mod'ed a higher please ... maybe up to 20 or something? finally someone who has a clue!
I also do not think the best way to liberate China from their oppressive regime is to isolate them even further.

From what I can see, I am sure that gov't of the PRC would have loved google to refuse to censor searches...the less access to information their citizen's have the better.

A pictorial demonstration of the evil (4, Interesting)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579150)

Compare this American Google image search [google.com] for "tiananmen square" to the same search in the Chinese Google image search [google.cn] . While a disclaimer is displayed saying that some results were blocked do to Chinese law, the disclaimer does not tell what kind of results were blocked. Hence when the people ask, the Chinese government can just say that the results were pornographic or involved terrorism. So, no, Google definitely has done evil in this case. Stop trying to make excuses for them.

Re:Interesting Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579176)

Don't be so naive, according to several reports so far Google is censoring far more results than either Yahoo or MSN are and Google certainly isn't telling them that information has been censored in all cases.

Google did have two options but they were:

1) Refuse China's request and put itself outside of a market with 100 million Internet users that's only going to grow

2) Comply with China's request and cash in

Google is expanding into China - just like other companies - only because it's a huge relatively untapped market. Google isn't out to make the world a better place, it's out to make more money for itself and as a result its shareholders. If the two happen to coincide then that makes for great PR, but it certainly isn't going to shoot itself in the foot by "doing no evil", it's far easier to just redefine evil as time progresses to fit their coorporate strategy.

Re:Interesting Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579188)

short sided?

how do you get to #1? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579284)

Your #1 supposes that if Google were to stop operations in China, Chinese would lose access to information. How is that again? Google indexes information, they don't make a ton of it. Additionally, it isn't like Google is the only useable internet search engine or even the first.

If Google were to stop operations in China, then people in China would have to use someone else to search. They wouldn't lose access to any data they had access to before. But Google would lose the ability to sell ads to Chinese customers...

Re:Interesting Point (1)

centie (911828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579321)

1) Refuse China's request, therefore reducing the average Chinese citizen's access to information on the internet greatly.

Google is a search engine helping you find information (and displaying ads at the same time). It is NOT the internet, or information in itself. The average Chinese citizen has access to exactly the same information whether Google is there or not, the same portions of the internet are avilable (or not available as it may be) to them through Google or Yahoo or MSN.

There are atleast two other major search engines (Yahoo and MSN) operating in China, and undoubtably many more local ones. I find it difficult to believe that google is such a better service that it is going to make much difference to the information available there.

Also, the "message notifying them of sites being blocked for politcal reasons" is, I think, a small disclaimer that appears at the bottom of every page, stating that search results may not be shown in accordance with local laws.

As for the food analogy, a closer idea would probabably be refusing to sell (google isn't a charity remember, its in it for the money) food distrubtion technology to North Korea, knowing that they already have several food distrubtion system. They arn't doing this, as with most companies the case is they will do buisness with repressive regimes provided they pay correctly.

Re:Interesting Point (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578745)

America Has freedom of speech on the books , China does not .
If goggle want's to operate in China they have little choice on the matter , The Chinese government is not famous for its leniency on such issues

Re:Interesting Point (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578931)

Look for comparisons between Google search and library records. It is actually quite likely that a judge will find there's no reason Google can't comply but at the same time there's no law (yet) that requires they comply.

I doubt this can be blocked by free speech or any of the other amendments.

Re:Interesting Point (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579304)

A common myth, sort of. China does have freedom of speech, sort of. They do have a constitution which protects the freedom of speech and basic liberties of its citizens. It's just that it has, at the very bottom, a single line which says something like "except where it infringes on the interests of the state." heh.

Re:Interesting Point (1)

RobM9999 (191476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578878)

It's simple to understand.

1.Piss of Americans
2.Usage drops
3.Decrease in ad revenue
4.Not profit

If you have even taken a second to check Google China you will see there is no/little advertising.
What will it hurt to lose the the Chinese?

You kidding me? (4, Insightful)

ranton (36917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578504)

Wait a minute, I read the article and didnt find what law Google is breaking here. I am not even close to being a privacy advocate, in fact I usually am on the side of the government in issues like these. But I do not see what law Google is breaking.

This must not have to do with the "War on Terror", because I thought that Google couldnt even notify the press if that was the case.

Does anyone know more about this than simply what this article is saying?

--

Re:You kidding me? (3, Informative)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578545)

I could tell you but then I would have to kill you.

Seriously, the gist is that the government wants the search records so they can promote/support their war on porn. The law is that the government issued a subpoena, which is a court order, i.e., legal requirement to do something. Google said no because the subpoena essentially is not valid. This is the long story very abbreviated.

Re:You kidding me? (2, Informative)

ranton (36917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578632)

The law is that the government issued a subpoena, which is a court order, i.e., legal requirement to do something. Google said no because the subpoena essentially is not valid

Okay that makes sense, but I wonder what legal trouble Google could get into. I hope that fighting a subpeona is not illegal even if you do not win, expecially if you had a valid reason to fight it.

--

Re:You kidding me? (4, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578895)

Here is more information [wikipedia.org] on subpoenas [tba.org] . Basically you have to show up at court, regardless, but once you get there you can argue for the reason why you shouldn't have to provide the stuff they say you should provide. If the judge thinks you're full of it, he/she can cite you for contempt [wikipedia.org] , which has a variety of penalties, including fines and/or jail time. Otherwise, he/she can rule that the subpoena is invalid, and say that you don't have to comply.

Re:You kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578561)

Go back and reread the article several times, slowly. While you are correct in that it doesn't list any specific law that Google is breaking, it does list what the case is about several times.

Re:You kidding me? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578569)

Wait a minute, I read the article and didnt find what law Google is breaking here.

They're not violating any law. They were subpoenaed for information and are contesting it.

At this point, they might as well hand it over. The only PR they're going to get out of this is "China, China, China".

Re:You kidding me? (1)

stecoop (759508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578580)

Of course it is the war on terror. Think of the children and then think of terror that the word boobies could potential put in them. If the life of one child is saved from the terror word boobies then it is all worth it.

Na thats not it. I think what is happening is there is a law that was passed the deals with pornography. I think Google was asked to fork over records for search queries from certain key words. Google has a team of lawyers saying that the law may be a law but it may not be constitutional. Now the courts are going to decide if Google has to fork over the records instead of Google just saying, "Ok, here you go big brother". Google isn't in the wrong it is in disagreement and that is what the courts are made for.

Re:You kidding me? (2, Informative)

Liza (97242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578638)

I think Google was asked to fork over records for search queries from certain key words.

Actually, they were asked for all searches and search results over a two month period. IMO, the DOJ is trying to prove that lots of "innocent" searches generate porn results, therefore we need a law to protect children from seeing those "harmful to minors" search results.

Liza

Re:You kidding me? (2, Insightful)

Analogy Man (601298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578863)

In other words the government is too lazy to come up with a means of mining this information on their own so they are compelling a public company to supply the logs for them to perform their analysis.

I think with a little creativity the government could instrument a government institution...say HUD, DoD, DoE and trap any outgoing searches to major search engines. This might be even more useful as you could then toss these searches against ALL of the major search engines and see what results come back. You could determine if MSN is more likely to return porn links than Yahoo.

If there wasn't a buzz about government over-reach, people would be more likely to see this for what it is.

Re:You kidding me? (2, Insightful)

glasseyetiger (927602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578801)

If the Feds aren't allowed to get the naked ladies off the internet, THEN WE'RE LETTING THE TERRORISTS WIN.

Re:You kidding me? (3, Insightful)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578855)

Of course it is the war on terror. Think of the children and then think of terror that the word boobies could potential put in them. If the life of one child is saved from the terror word boobies then it is all worth it.

They've got it all wrong. Terrorists don't have boobies, that's why they're so pissed off at the world. If their culture had a little more nudity in it they'd probably be more relaxed.

Re:You kidding me? (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578590)

Wrong "war"

This one falls under the "War on Heathens"

It's about (supposedly) some porn bill.

Re:You kidding me? (5, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578596)

Google is resisting a subpoena.

It like went like this:
Feds: Give us your records
Google: No
Feds: We'll sue you!
Google: We're shaking in our booties
Feds: [thwap] subpoena!
Google: Hey ACLU, the Feds want your search history!
ACLU: F' You feds!
Feds: Hey Judge, they said no :( [pouty face]
Judge: All right ass hats, get in here.

-Rick

Re:You kidding me? (5, Funny)

tribentwrks (807384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578764)

Finally someone explains politics in a way I can understand it! You should write a book explaining everything this way.

Re:You kidding me? (2, Funny)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579230)

And it should have went like this:
Feds: Give us your records
Google: No
Feds: We need IPs and Searches, plz kkthnxbye
Google: No, that's a violation of privacy rights for you to have that and ...
ACLU: The constitution!
Google Customer: Wait, you said "no based on privacy rights" not "no based on that you didn't actually record that information"
Google: ...
Google Customer: So uh, you're recording IPs and searches for those IPs?
Google: ...
ACLU: The constitution!
Feds: haha, Google got pwned by teh customer! lollerskates. Your[sic] no better than us!
Google: :(

Re:You kidding me? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578608)

Wait a minute, I read the article and didnt find what law Google is breaking here.

Nobody said they were breaking any laws. They have been supeonaed to provide supporting evidence for a case in which they are not directly involved. They have refused to provide that evidence and the hearing is to have a judge decide whether they can be forced to or not.

It's SOP shit.

The only thing that makes it of any general interest is that the outcome of the case could affect us all.

KFG

Re:You kidding me? (3, Informative)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578757)

Rough history -
1) congress passed legislation saying if it's 'harmful' for kids to see it then the site owner has a legal duty to restrict access in some arbitrary and perfectly pointless way.
2) AG tried to enforce stupid law.
3) SC said some of the law is OK but other parts of it violate free speach - IE asking for a CC# to view a website restricts your ability to speak to the poor and underprivalidged(sp?).
4) AG says it's not so and even if it is so, it's our patriotic duty [wave flag here] to protect children from seeing or reading about sex. (Violence is ok, but Sex is bad - remember this, it's a core tennent to most conservative conversations)
5) AG says to SC, look we'll prove that there's so much smut on the internet that we HAVE to take THIS action and therefore you'll have to reconcider and let us do what we want.
6) AG says to search engines give us 1m random searches and websites so we can prove there is too much smut on the internet.
7) Yahoo,MS etc say OK.
8) Google says WTF?
9) AG takes them to court and tells the judge make them play our game in our sandbox.
10) judge says .....?

My problem with the whole thing is that even if there is so much smut that something should be done (we of course know that parental guidance and monitoring is positively the wrong way to go here), if the SC already said you can't do it the way the law is written, showing there's smut on the internet [say it isn't so] doesn't change the fact that the law restricts freedom of speech and can't be enforced.
IANAL - and this is so vague it's probably worthless, but it's a general summary of what I have been able to piece together.

Re:You kidding me? (1)

PsychosisC (620748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578828)

This is the post concerning the court order that started all this. http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/19/13 32207 [slashdot.org] As a note, this whole thing seems a bit trite. The government doesn't need "a broad range of material from its[Google's] closely guarded databases", to make the case for some porn law. But on the other hand, releasing information about anonymous porn searches doesn't really seem to be violating anyone's rights.

Re:You kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579248)

The law is irrelevant.

Is it moral or immoral to force a peaceful individual or group of individuals to disclose information about themselves or their endeavors?

There is your answer. Who is committing the initiation of force: the peaceful group of individuals who do business by voluntary association, or the aggressive group which does business by force (meaning eventual violence if necessary)?

and they will have background music on this date.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578505)

Risin' up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

So many times, it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

Face to face, out in the heat
Hangin' tough, stayin' hungry
They stack the odds, till we take to the street
For the kill with the skill to survive

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

Risin' up, straight to the top
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance, now I'm not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger

-Sj53

I hope Google wins this one (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578532)

Let's hope that Google wins. There could be several unexpected consequences if the Government wins this one.

Everything from possible unreasonable search & seizure violations to exposing Google's proprietary trade secrets.

Does anyone actually think that these 'fishing expeditions' are protecting children or making us safer?

Re:I hope Google wins this one (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578746)

You seem to forget that judges are part of the government system. They may seem "impartial" but they are still part of the entire system, they can't be totally impartial.

Re:I hope Google wins this one (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579058)

Well, fair's fair. If the DoJ thinks it's part of the legislative branch, why can't judges appoint themselves part of the executive? ;-)

Amazing (-1, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578540)

help it defend an anti-pornography law this fall

Abasolutely amazing. This admin has show repeatidly that it will lie about anything and everything. Now, they want very open-ended information and state that it is about child-porn. I would say hurrah for Google, except for their china deal

Re: COPA isn't about child porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578900)

Not child porn. It's COPA - the Child Online Protection Act (i.e., "Son of CDA.") COPA is not about prosecuting child pornographers, but about eliminating plain old 'indecency' on the Net that can harm children who find it online. The gov't has been litigating these pathetically vague efforts to regulate Internet decency since ACLU v. RENO in the mid-nineties.

It's gone nowhere, it's an embarrassment and a waste of taxpayer dollars. But Congress has fetishized (appropriate verb, given the context) this need to regulate plain old porn on the Net, and the Justice Dept. gets stuck trying to enforce these ridiculous laws. Chances are, not even everyone at DOJ thinks these net 'indecency' laws are worth the trouble.

Re:Amazing (1)

QCompson (675963) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578953)

I was under the impression that this wasn't about child-pr0n, but about a law attempting to restrict minor's access to good old everyday pr0n. It's a huge waste of time and resources by the government(what else is new). Good luck trying to keep a 15,16 year-old male away from pr0n!

To me it seems like a heavy-handed blow intended to fight pornography in general under the guise of the always effective "won't someone think of the children!" argument.

Re:Amazing (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579107)

This is almost certainly not about any kind of porn. I am guessing that a great deal of porn is downloaded via p2p, and will only grow. IOW, those that are into it, will not use the main search engines. This is probably about terrorism or more likely trying to find out who is querying the capabilities of the NSA or biologicals. BTW, if this was really about porn, the gov would not be scheduling a hearing this fast. There is some other reason to get a hearing within a month.

Not defend a law... (4, Insightful)

NewToNix (668737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578543)

to determine whether the U.S. Justice Department will prevail in its fight to force Google to help it defend an anti-pornography law

This is about trying to revisit (show the need for) a law that has already been struck down.

So it's not about a law at all, it's about the governments attempt to show the need for a law.

And trying to use Google records for that is as relevant as using a /. poll for the same (or any other) purpose.

Re:Not defend a law... (1)

coastin (780654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578628)

Well, there's the answer. "You're Honor, my client (Google) contends that a /. poll could solve this whole issue much faster and at much less cost to the tax payers."

Re:Not defend a law... (0)

NewToNix (668737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578775)

Well, there's the answer. "You're Honor, my client (Google) contends that a /. poll could solve this whole issue much faster and at much less cost to the tax payers."

And in addition, your Honor, with a equal or greater degree of accuracy.

We have a /. poll here to enter into evidence in support of our position.

Please ignore the "CowboyNeal" option, we consider that a statistical anomaly... much like our own records would contain, if we were willing to give them to you - but were not - and for about the same reasons.

Everyone should file... (1)

coastin (780654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578559)

an amicus Curiae brief with the court just to see what your favorite politicians are searching for at Google. I'll bet the Feds would shut the whole thing down if that happened.

Google should comply (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578566)

They should supply a list of URLs that google has indexed.

The list should be in the form of 0 byte length files where the filename is the URL -- on a FAT partition.

When the DOJ asks why all they see is millions of files named "http:/~1" google should point them to the FAT long filenames patents.

Fran

Lovejoy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578572)

Won't somebody think please of the children!?!?

Re:Lovejoy! (1)

st1d (218383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578753)

Lol! Let's see, this is a little like asking for the records of all alchohol and tobacco, "to protect the children from underage purchases". Of course, the fact that google's got all these searches all wrapped up in one place (versus the hassle of taking every mom and pop party store to court) has nothing to do with it, huh?
.
I wonder if they saved those "old german crosses" and eagles, because if this "information gathering" continues unchecked, they might come in handy soon. On the upside, it's understandable that a bunch of old folks with arthritis might enjoy marching and saluting without having to bend their knees and elbows...

When is google going to sue the Chicoms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578583)

It would be fun to watch what would happen to them if google tried that.

But that won't happen because google are cowards.

Slavery (5, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578622)

They are asking Google to pay for this part of their lawsuit to protect the COPA law at their own expense. Google gets nothing out of it. I'm sure that Google could have been paid a few hundred thousand dollars to write a test suite to prove the DoJ's case. One Google engineer could have written a script that would have given them millions of results based on simulating actual search queries.

Yet the DoJ didn't want to be bothered to have to pay for this. This is slavery because they are forcing someone to work for their benefit without compensation or as a form of restitution for a crime against their life or property. There is no middle ground here. The DoJ is in the wrong because they refused to pay for the data they wanted and attempted to extort it using the force of law.

Re:Slavery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579016)

WTF? DoJ's payment are better laws for the society to function.

they can kiss my ... (1)

NaeRey (944457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578629)

!!! If the government wins this one, i'll go around the white house protesting for Privacy Breaking. The China case has been somewhat silent, no details. I'm hoping google wins this, else next thing you see is WhiteHouse shutting down GoogleEarth because it provides too good pictures of possible terrorist-strike-places. To hell em! (Feds) (get me a Flamer icon)

use this time well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578643)

use this time well, search google for the most obscene and not-entirely-legal queries. overwhelm the db with junk data so if google loses the data will be useless (and the look on the faces of people who view the db will be priceless!)

Do we want to innovate on censorship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578685)

What if google makes censoring as easy as searching? No more black markers and photcopiers. Instead, just enter the keyword of what you want to disappear.

Do we really want google building technology to help China censor search? And if they build it, will the US someday want it too?

This is all assuming the above events haven't already occurred.

China Situation Irrelevant (1)

szembek (948327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578687)

Google's actions in China are a completely different situation than this. In order for Google to operate in China they must filter the results. As crappy as that is there's nothing Google can do to change that. China doesn't need Google; there are plenty of sufficient engines out there. In this case however the US government is not enforcing a law that is pre-existing, it is simply trying to gain access to what most consider to be private information. It would be different if there was some federal law saying "if it has to do with child porn, companies have to help us". In summation the China issue has to do with law compliance, this has to do more with compliance to a request.

New Google Service (5, Funny)

JFlex (763276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578714)

Google must have some massive plan to organize the world's porn for faster and more efficient searching. I, for one, look forward to pr0n.google.com!

Re:New Google Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578987)

yeah :) G-wank instead of G-mail :). would be funny if google tried to patent G-Spot :) i dare lawyers to come up with "prior 'art'"

Re:New Google Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579199)

While you may be being funny, it is possible to use a "pr0n only" filter by comparing a safe search to an unfiltered search. And yes, I have made a script to do this.

More details here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578716)

Re:More details here (1)

AaronCampbell (826767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579356)

If your link worked, it would probably help (also, it's unconstitutional not unconstituitional):
Google: DOJ COPA law is unconstitutional [google.com]

Freedom of ? (2, Interesting)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578720)

I know you have freedom of speech in the USA, I was however unaware about the amendment that allowed the government to stick you in a sound shielded room so nobody hears you.

Past records (2, Insightful)

Tourney3p0 (772619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578725)

Even if the government loses this one, they have the power to make laws which will make it legal. Basically they can potentially do anything they want to win this one in the future. It's not like this administration has a history of fighting for our rights. The question then becomes whether or not they'd be able to seize past records. If Google wins this, that means that as of right now my search records are off limits. Hypothetically speaking, I have this reasonable expectation in mind when doing my searches and might change my search patterns appropriately otherwise.

What bothers me (2, Interesting)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578737)

One thing that really bothers me (and no one as yet has asked) is why Google responded the way they did.

IMHO, when the Federal Government asks for searches, getting a response of: "We don't think it's constitutional for you to be requesting that kind of information on the general public" instead of, "WE'RE NOT ASSHOLISH ENOUGH TO RECORD EVERYONE'S SEARCHES!" is the difference between someone who fights for their stock price (theirself in the eyes of the public), and someone who truly does fight for liberty or freedom.

The government is going to win this case. It's a business, not a real person, all the arguments Google can make against the government holding the information the government could make against Google themselves holding it. Google will break a deal and keep recording what people search for. If they would have been smart and just never recorded searches in the first place (which they do on the Google Search Appliance) then this wouldn't have been a big deal.

IMHO, their response should not have been "No, we will not give you that information." it should have been, "No, we do not record that information." I've been using Yahoo's streamlined search at http://search.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] now for the last two months, but this alone would be enough to make me switch if I hadn't already. I loathe MSN's search, but I've found Yahoo's to be nice enough that I just never enable cookies.

I think Internet searching at the same place that you hold an active email account is probably the worst thing you could possibly do for privacy right now. And it doesn't matter who it is.

Also of note:
http://blog.outer-court.com/googlerobot/ [outer-court.com]

While that is intended to be funny, I think this is pertinent:
I have a feeling of being watched by a Google Robot. What about my privacy?
Again, we take great measures to ensure no privacy is ever invaded. Even if there is a Google Robot next to you, it doesn't mean he records everything you say. You can think of him as a quiet neighbor doing gardening work. Do you suspect your neighbor to spy on your life... just because he's within a short distance of you?

"evil" comes from "yfel" and has roots in Germanic languages of High German "ubil" and Gothic "ubils". These are believed to come from the Teutonic root "ubiloz" which carries the meaning of "up" or "over". Basically, it means, "going over the boundaries" or going "above and beyond" in a malicious fashion.

So yes, Google, I *do* think you are evil.

Re:What bothers me (2, Insightful)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578918)

IMHO, their response should not have been "No, we will not give you that information." it should have been, "No, we do not record that information."
I'm not sure that that would be right either. Let us assume that Google is not evil at all. It would still make sense to keep track of every set of search terms every searched for, and the number of times in a certain tyime period (say a week) that that term was searched for. They would use this information to keep track of the current most popular searches. They could look at the results these searches returned and see if there are many irrelevent results. If there are, then they would look at their current algorithm and see if some tweaks could be made to increase the relevence of the top search results.

Perhaps you are confusing retaining information that could potentially be identifying with being evil. But if that is the case, you would be evil if ou archived old email as that may contain personally identifying information.

Or do you think Mozilla Firefox is evil? It is published by Mozilla Foundation's wholely owned commerical subsidiary: Mozilla Corportation.

Re:What bothers me (1)

szembek (948327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578942)

If I'm not mistaken Yahoo! not only keeps the logs you are so upset about, but actually turned theirs over to the DOJ without argument. So doesn't that kind of debunk your argument of google being 'evil' for keeping records?

Re:What bothers me (0, Troll)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579029)

Depends.

Google is putting up a fight (which they'll eventually settle on) simply for the sake of looking good, whereas Yahoo isn't. Granted, there are likely other search engines that don't make up the 99% of searches on the Internet that you could use instead, but they are pretty crappy.

The main point of the post was to suggest people keep email accounts with one provider and do searches on another provider and never accept cookies.

Re:What bothers me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579110)

I'm pretty sure that they are legally required to maintain records by SOX.

Specifically, you need to know what was searched to rank search results. By needing to know that information, SOX mandates that you keep backups of that information.

In order to run a search engine you must thus log all searches. However, you do not need to log user information (though IP information may be maintained simply via the HTTP logs which would also need to be saved).

You'd be stunned at the information IT depts can be legally required to maintain for papertrails to prove no wrongdoing. Search information without IPs is pretty innocent as far as Big Brother is concerned(URL X was returned to searchers 871 times in 2 weeks), but it still should not be given in that it has no relevance to the lawsuit at hand for COPA's reinstatement.

except they do record all that... (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579222)

Did you consider that possibility?

Come on, this company keeps huge caches of a large percentage of the web page on the internet. You think they throw away the data that is generated within their own company?

I'm certain they don't.

So I think that without lying, they did what they could on this issue.

Re:What bothers me (2)

MandoSKippy (708601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579299)

Umm yeah... I am going to have go head and ... disagree with you on this one

A. Google provides a free service. To pay their bills they use search data, add views, etc. They have a right to save that data. THey tell you up front they are saving it (check their terms of of use) and make no pretenses about it not being saved. They need to make money too... sorry, everything in this world is not free. Google worked for the information they store and have a right to it. The goverment does not.

B. This law suit would be like the goverment going up to a Bank and saying give us all your checking account transactions... names hidded (snicker) so we can see who is paying for porn. If that happened, the response would be insane. There is no difference, many checking accounts are free as well. Yes, if there is a crime suspected, the gov't can get bank records, but not just for statistic analysis.

Re:What bothers me (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579337)

The government is going to win this case. It's a business, not a real person

That is not correct. A corporation, according to law, is a person, with the same rights. They have freedom of speech, can't have their property seized with due process, etc, just like and American citizen. I guess they would even have the right to bear arms!

Corporations have been using that "loophole" to quote the constitution in their defence for as long as it exists.

Inside the Courtroom (4, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578793)

Govt lawyer: We need to see this cached data if we're ever to curb terrorism!

Google lawyer (waving hand): You don't need to see our data.

Govt lawyer: We don't need to see their data.

Google lawyer: You won't find any terrorists with it.

Govt lawyer: We won't find any terrorists with it.

Google lawyer: You are dropping your request

Govt lawyer: We are dropping our request

Google lawyer 2: I was sure we were dead back there.

Google lawyer: The Force (tm) has a strong influence on the weak-minded.

Google's Intellectual Property NOT privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578810)

This isnt a privacy issue. The Gov't is NOT asking for Personally identifiable information (PII). They are only asking for query impressions (which any half wit can get through their Google Adwords campaigns today). Google just doesnt want to give up their crown jewel of IP - queries and impression data.

There isn't much of a privacy argument around an aggregation of the times someone types in "boston hotels" in Google. I think its bullshit that Google is hiding the truth of why they dont want to share this info.

Read more @ NYtimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/26/technology/26pri vacy.html?hp&ex=1138251600&en=b4a2e39a6aacb8c1&ei= 5094&partner=homepage [nytimes.com]

fuckedgoogle says you guys are full of it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578822)

http://fuckedgoogle.com/ [fuckedgoogle.com]

Google is just spinning, spinning, spinning.

And they've got the slashdot crowd under their thumb because if Google fails, the dot.com dream of foosball and neck beards and stock options riches dies forever. As long as Google keeps inflating their stock price everyone on slashdot can keep saying "it could happen to me, one day, i know it can!"

Only problem is that Google is based on one thing- selling tiny little text ads. And those ads are getting tuned out by more and more people, just like happened with banners.

All these new and exciting freeware products google has developed? none of them have ever made a dime, except to be vehicles for more tiny little text ads, which as i just said are being tuned out more and more.

Sad, really.

Try starting your OWN company rather than worshiping someone elses. Stop being a fanboy. It's not attractive.

Not Spying (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14578824)

Ok, usually I don't step in to these crazy Slashdot arguments, but I have to voice the truth here.

The government is NOT ATTEMPTING TO SPY ON ITS CITIZENS.

It is asking for general information, i.e. nothing connected with names or individual identities in any way. As far as the information is concerned, it would be the same as the government asking Gallup to do a survey about how easy it is to find porn on the internet when you aren't specifically looking for it.

If asking for statistics is spying, then hundreds of survey companies have been doing it for years. And *GASP* they've been SHOWING THE RESULTS TO THE PUBLIC!!!!!11

While I don't know about the legality of the subpoena, the information itself is completely legal and is in no way spying on citizens.

Here is a good article about the privacy issue:
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/01 /21/google_subpoena_roils_the_web/ [boston.com]

Here is an FAQ from CNet:
http://news.com.com/FAQ+What+does+the+Google+subpo ena+mean/2100-1029_3-6029042.html?tag=st.num [com.com]

From the second article:

"Google even displays a list of live search terms on a screen that visitors can view in its Silicon Valley headquarters. That's probably one reason why the company's lawyers have been careful not to raise privacy arguments."

I don't see how what the government is doing is any worse than that.

Re:Not Spying (1)

Shakes268 (856460) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579010)

Google even displays a list of live search terms on a screen that visitors can view in its Silicon Valley headquarters.

Maybe its just me, but that in itself seems like a HR violation waiting to happen. Imagine having to look at a scrolling board in your companies lobby of all of the things searched for!

You take a break and walk outside for some air, look up and see PORN terms scrolling by during your entire work day.

Re:Not Spying (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579348)

Yeah, because the opinion of an Anonymous Coward carries a lot of weight on the issue. You yourself seem to not want the limited number of people viewing this thread not to know who posted the above. (And it's not flamebait or anything, it's actually quite useful.) So... what do you fear?

I for one, will call bullshit on any claim like this (parent) until I see a complete list of the database fields and specifics of how each field is populated and the typical contents and compare that to what the feds have asked for.

Media has a long, wide, and repeated track record of getting technical stuff wrong. So I DO NOT TRUST their intepretation of "no personal information" in the data the feds asked for.

The IP address and time stamp (maybe not even that is needed) is _PERSONAL_ information that feds have no right to without a warrant. GO GET ONE if you need it. Just about the only data Google may be keeping about searches that the feds have any right to would be search word combinations and the results they yielded at the time. But even those will reveal a lot of information that could personally identify users.

But then, with a T1 and a few scripts they could get results for porn searches themselves.

So stuff you and your anonymous opinion about it.

If the government wins (1)

wayward (770747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14578916)

If the government wins and is able to subpoena Google search records, would it be feasible to develop a script that generates bogus Google queries with terms that will trip off the government's data mining software? If there were enough of these in the logs (coming from different IP addresses), could that make the data much harder to mine? Just curious.

Re:If the government wins (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579324)

If the government wins, Google should destroy their records akin to the way librarians are destroying theirs. The government can't get what you don't have.

Out of court settlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14579069)

'Look guys - let's be reasonable. I'm sure we can resolve this without going to court. My client says you can keep your data. But that thing which "I'm feeling lucky" and "Failure" - that's gotta stop. OK?'

The Judge (1)

g00z (81380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579229)

Anybody know anything about this particular judge or any of his past rulings? If he's a Bush appointee I have to make a call to my bookie.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?