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Justice Dept. Rejects Google's Privacy Concerns

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the who-needs-that-kind-of-pressure dept.

350

Philip K Dickhead writes "The Associated Press is reporting that the Justice Department rejected Google's concerns over a Bush administration demand to examine millions of its users' Internet search requests on privacy grounds. The department claims this will help revive an online child protection law that the Supreme Court has blocked, by proving that Internet filters are not strong enough to prevent children from viewing pornography online. A federal court hearing is scheduled in San Jose, California, March 13th."

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350 comments

Scroogle (0)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807586)


Just one more reason to use the Scroogle scraper [scroogle.org].

Not already... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807624)

Aw, come on, dude! Give us a damned break and at least let the caffeine settle in first, will you?! It's way too early in the day (week?) to start with your karma-whoring, external-linking, first posting! That's a very cruel thing for you to do on a Monday morning!!

Re:Scroogle (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807683)

Until the scroogle pages function as a serious tool - i.e. cut out the anti-google propaganda - it'll still look like a bunch of geeks who have a chip on their collective shoulders.

Re:Scroogle (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807689)

What the hell is it? Even the site doesn't make it clear. It's not literally scraping anything, so perhaps an explanation is in order?

Does it really matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807724)

Do you REALLY think that matters? He's got his first post, and he's got his link -- the first of his 50 inane posts that he'll make this week to keep his karma-whoring narcissism strong. Now it's just a matter of waiting until his TMM fanboys come around and mod him as "Informative" or "Insightful", following right along like the good little TMM fanboys that they are.

Re:Does it really matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807805)

"TMM Fanboys" stinks of a belief in conspiracy. The more likely explanation for the majority of his mod points are:

1) People who don't pay attention to user names and don't know who he is.
2) People who know and don't care because they think the post should be modded up anyway.
3) The closest thing to fanboys: people who are positively biased by name/sig recognition.

Actual fanboys on Slashdot? I don't think that that's possible without being a site admin or famous outside of Slashdot like Wil Wheaton.

War on porn (2, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807591)

Is this a surprise? The Bush admin is waging a war on porn [huffingtonpost.com] and this is a logical step.

Re:War on porn (0, Troll)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807641)

Anything that can divert attention from the quagmire that is Iraq or the bajillion US deficit is a good thing.

Wedge Issue (4, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807773)

You're close but not quite on the money. This has wedge issue written all over it. Much like gay marriage in 2004 (and soon to be gay adoption in 2006), this is an issue to draw out the single-issue conservative voters to the polls. The point isn't necessarily to win this battle, though that'd be feather in the cap of the Republican Party, as it is to have the fight in the first place.

The majority of American's wouldn't support a conservative agenda on the environment, healthcare, and corporate welfare, but they will support an agenda about terrorism and "protection of values." This is known as a "wedge issue." It's designed to drive a wedge between the conflicting loyalties of swing voters to force them to choose between two different positives and to draw out partisans from the woodwork who couldn't care enough to vote about economic policy issues.

Bringing back up net filtering and monitoring gives the Republicans another chance to decry "liberal judicial activism" in a bid to install more pro-executive power, pro-business judges. As a bonus, they get to legislate morality and provide an in for more monitoring of citizens. In case you don't recall, sexual scandals are just about the only scandals that have any traction in the media any more, so the opportunity to catch a current or future politician looking at porn is a great tool for whoever's in power, and it's even better if your opposition consider using that power against your people to be wrong.

This is just a win-win fight for the Republican Party no matter how it plays out.

Re:Wedge Issue (0, Offtopic)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807817)

Wow, that post was riddled with typoes.
I really shouldn't post when groggy in the morning.

No surprise... (2, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807728)

Is this a surprise? The Bush admin is waging a war on porn and this is a logical step.

Logical yes.. but one gets the feeling that this has more to do with getting yet another controversial surveillance law enacted by attatching it to a campaign against child porn. The clever aspect of this tactic is that it is hard to be against this sort of a law because it is probably one of the the best ways to hunt down one of the most revolting but also elusive and dangerous species of pervert out there. On the other hand experience teaches us that once it is in place, such a law allowing the US. Govt. agencies to rifle through peoples search queries to their hearts content, is guaranteed to be massively abused by those same agencies for all sorts of other reasons that have nothing to do with catching pedophiles.

Re:No surprise... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807819)

This CPA is designed to prevent children from accessing regular porn, not adults from accessing child porn.

Still a bad law, but let's keep the facts straight.

Re:War on porn (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807818)

The Bush admin is waging a war on porn

Stopping porn movies altogether is the only way to keep his daughters from eventually starring in one.

-Eric

But... (2, Insightful)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807594)

...wait, I thought censorship was bad and UnAmerican(TM)?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807613)

Well, if it's american for your 9 year old son to watch beastiality porn online, rather than your rights being infringed... I geuss.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807642)

oh, this isn't censorship, this is anti-terrorist stuff. china otoh, they censor...

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807669)

Only terrorists have uncensored net access. Are you a terrorist, son?

Re:But... (3, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807700)

...wait, I thought censorship was bad and UnAmerican(TM)?

Only if you're some sort of commie liberal! In this post-9/11 world, UnAmerican is anything that criticizes the government, and anything the government does in violation of the Constitution and its amendments is kosher as long as it's to protect Americans from Evil People.

Really, though, who's surprised at this. Their stated agenda here was to invade privacy to bolster a case for overturning a Supreme Court decision that prevents them from invading privacy... for the children, of course. Considering how much this administration has stacked every single non-partisan agency with as many political operatives as possible, it's no real surprise that the DoJ would rule in its own favor.

Hell, even without that, it's no surprise that the DoJ would rule in its own favor. They've never been the most objective of agencies.

Today Search, tomorrow Desktop (3, Interesting)

clevershark (130296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807602)

All of you who use Google Desktop might want to uninstall it, just in case the "DoJ" starts going after that data next.

Will somebody.. (2, Funny)

biscon (942763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807608)

PLEASE think of the children!

Re:Will somebody.. (1)

Fosnez (928152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807717)

I think the point is crazy men ARE thinking of the children... with strange grins on their faces...

Re:Will somebody.. (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807826)

PLEASE think of the children!

Yeah, like their parents should for once. It's not Uncle Sam's job to make sure that kids aren't looking at porn.

Great Moments in Hypocrisy (5, Interesting)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807618)

Can the government really go after Google for aiding Chinese censorship and for NOT aiding US censorship AT THE SAME TIME?

Re:Great Moments in Hypocrisy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807627)

YES! Welcome to nationalism my friend.

Re:Great Moments in Hypocrisy (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807635)

On the one hand, Google has removed certain results from the index as requested by the Chinese Government.

On the other, google removes items from the index according to DMCA requests and other governmental issues (white house blockout on maps etc).

Google has NOT given the chinese government wholesale access logs for everything searched and the results they obtained.
Google should make a change of policy to stop storing this information (at least in government controlled locations).

Is it possible to host a datacentre out at sea?

Re:Great Moments in Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807693)

On the one hand, Google has removed certain results from the index as requested by the Chinese Government.

On the other, google removes items from the index according to DMCA requests and other governmental issues (white house blockout on maps etc).

Google has NOT given the chinese government wholesale access logs for everything searched and the results they obtained.
Google should make a change of policy to stop storing this information (at least in government controlled locations).

Is it possible to host a datacentre out at sea?


The way you put it, the US goverment is asking more from google than the chinese one, invading the privacy of millions of non-US citizens. Very interesting. Anyway, I don't know if you would have any benefits of having a datacenter at sea because if I recall correctly the ship is considered soil of the country of the flag you're under. Space on OTOH... :)

Re:Great Moments in Hypocrisy (1)

massivefoot (922746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807702)

Is it possible to host a datacentre out at sea?

Now it's very interesting that you should mention that. I remember seeing an article several years ago, shortly after Napster was shut down, regarding a proposal to set up a peer-to-peer server on Sealand [wikipedia.org]. As the internet seems likely to remain in US control, I would feel happier at times if my search engine was at sea...

It could be worse ... (2, Interesting)

dc29A (636871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807677)

Oh wait, it is worse [theregister.co.uk]. Let's hope it's not true.

Re:It could be worse ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807790)

It's not. Anyone who uploads a video to Google Video can speccify what countries to show or not show the video in. This is oooooooold news.

Re:It could be worse ... (2, Informative)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807795)

That one is a hoax. When you upload a video to Google Video, you get to choose which countries you want to exclude from viewing it (say, for copyright reasons). Whoever uploaded that video of an explosion, supposedly in Iraq, chose to exclude only the US. End of story.

Re:It could be worse ... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807799)

It's not true. The person who uploaded the movie has the option to select which countries can/cannot access the movie. For some reason the submitter has chosen not to allow people from the USA watch it.

Mod Parent Down, incorrect (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807832)

no text.

Re:Great Moments in Hypocrisy (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807731)

You've only just realised that the government is hypocritical? You must be one of those people that thinks the war in Iraq is about bringing freedom to the Iraqi people...

Re:Great Moments in Hypocrisy (1, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807804)

Can the government really go after Google for aiding Chinese censorship and for NOT aiding US censorship AT THE SAME TIME?
Incomparable. What US wants from Google are sample anonymous records to use in law-making.

What China requested (and received) from Yahoo! (not Google) was personally identifying information, which lead to several people being jailed. What China wanted (and got) from Google was censorship of its search results [wikipedia.org].

The only was you can equate the two censorships (so as to be able to sustain your charge of "hypocrisy" against the US government) is to equate exchanging child pornography with discussing alternative forms of government.

But you already knew that. Sorry to get in the way of your US-bashing...

Who gave the DoJ jurisdiction? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807621)

Google should be forced to turn over evidence in response to a court's order, and by nothing less. The DoJ can shove it.

I can't understand google.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807623)

Send them a convoy of brinks trucks with the printouts of everything they ask for... Attach a memo reading: "child porn" != "child looking for porn" love googlebot...

Another one bites the dust (1)

roe-roe (930889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807639)

bah... bah ... bah another one bites the dust another one down, another one down, another one bites the dust... its funny, I was just remarking to my self "Man, my parents are just too busy, I wish there was some large organization that could assume the role for my parents, I mean honestly they need a vacation"

Huh? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807666)

If the supreme court struck down a law, and the government is using its resources to try and bring it back, isn't that illegal?

So, if I get caught with a couple of sawed-off body parts dissolving in my bathtub, I can just tell the sheriff "No worries, my good man. I'm simply performing research into overturning the murder statute. You can go about your business..." *insert jedi-wave*

Court Brief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807732)

Does anyone have a link to the actual DoJ response to Google?

Re:Huh? (1)

acvh (120205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807754)

"If the supreme court struck down a law, and the government is using its resources to try and bring it back, isn't that illegal?"

No. That's how things are supposed to work here. The SC is NOT the last word, they are one of three coequal branches. Their decisions can be challenged, overridden, ignored or followed, as the other branches see fit. Lately we have deferred to the Court on just about everything, but that assuredly is not what anyone intended 200 years ago.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807834)

I think you misunderstood the parent post. What they were trying to say was that the Justice Dept was cirumventing existing law and admitting as much as that by doing so, they would gather evidence to show why the SC was wrong for rejecting COPA.

So what if a child sees pr0n on the Internet? (4, Interesting)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807670)

I saw plenty of nudie pics and porn as a child and I'm pretty well-adjusted as an adult. Yes, seriously. I'm getting pretty sick of government types thinking they can run our lives better than we can.

Hmm - maybe they should be allowed after all? (1)

broothal (186066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807675)

Ok, so from what I can read all they want is a list of search words - nothing that can track back to any users. Well - I say give it to them. After all, the purpose seems allright "By showing the wide variety of Web sites that people find through search engines, the government hopes to prove Internet filters are not strong enough to prevent children from viewing pornography and other inappropriate material online.". They're right. Internet filters sucks, and if they can throw a court verdict after them, then maybe this will help end the censorship and convince the government that filters are a dead end.

Or maybe I'm missing something?

Re:Hmm - maybe they should be allowed after all? (3, Informative)

Garse Janacek (554329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807756)

They're right. Internet filters sucks, and if they can throw a court verdict after them, then maybe this will help end the censorship and convince the government that filters are a dead end.

Or maybe I'm missing something?

Sadly, you're missing something.

Their conclusion will not be "Filters are a dead end, let's give up and throw them out."

Their conclusion will be, "Filters are not absolutely 100% bullet-proof!!! Our kids are looking at PORN ON THE INTERNET!!! Won't someone PLEASE think of the children!", after which they will be free to re-pass a controversial, struck-down-by-the-courts censorship law restricting Internet porn. Sure, this will be about as effective as a law restricting the sharing of copyrighted mp3s, but even so, it's kind of sketchy that they're making these sorts of laws in the first place...

Re:Hmm - maybe they should be allowed after all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807770)

then maybe this will help end the censorship and convince the government that filters are a dead end.

LOL, you completely miss the point. The government wants to remove porn from the internet because filters are a dead end. If the filters can't keep kids from seeing it, then the internet better not have any for kids to see or else they'll launch some nukular bombs at it!

This is of course, assuming that after all of these years the government is still capable of telling the truth. Is this data really for checking to see how common porn is? If so, then why the hell are they wasting this judge's time and (MY!) money instead of just googling for porn themselves on their own time? No, both this administration's past behavior and this current request point to something else going on behind the scenes.

Is this really a top priority right now? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807680)

With all the other problems in the world, I am at a loss as to why this is a top concern for this Administration?

How about addressing problems related to global warming, poverty, war, and pollution - first and foremost?

Re:Is this really a top priority right now? (1)

omeg (907329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807713)

War? Yes! But poverty? Global warming? My good friend, as much as we'd LIKE to concern ourselves with these matters, there's no more money to do so... :)

Re:Is this really a top priority right now? (1)

PetriBORG (518266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807764)

With all the other problems in the world, I am at a loss as to why this is a top concern for this Administration?

Because the top priority for this adminstration has been and will continue to be spying on Americans in the name of the War on Terror.

Re:Is this really a top priority right now? (1)

krutadal (601941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807811)

Because global warming, poverty, war, and pollution isn't a priority for the rightwing christians. Pornography is evil, don't you know? Our children can go to hell for watching it! ;)

Re:Is this really a top priority right now? (0)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807824)

Global warming? What's that? Never heard of it. NO EVIDENCE! (makes cleansing cross)
Poverty? Huh?
War? There's no war, it's just an armed conflict where 1000+ of our soldiers have died for no cause
Pollution? Fighting it? No money in it, you see. Haliburton doesn't like this "po-lut-ion" word being spread around.

Seriously though, I completely agree with you. Just this administration had repetadly demonstrated that they just don't care.

Re:Is this really a top priority right now? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807836)

How about addressing problems related to global warming, poverty, war, and pollution - first and foremost?

Welcome, you must be new here!
Please direct your inquiries to the ineffectual opposition parties. We're too busy saving America for Americans here! (..you damn hippie.)

why does the doj need these records? (1)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807685)

Is the doj incapable of coming up with their own search strings to defeat filters?
I don't really understand how the department can reject something in order to revive a law that their own highest court has blocked.
I was under the understanding that the judicial branch was seperate from the executive - perhaps I missed a factoid that zipped by at the bottom of the screen on cnn....

Asking for search data... (2, Informative)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807697)

Has the government really thought this through?

They have to realise they're setting a precident here.

Google works in many countries around the world. How is the US government going to react if, say, the EU requests the same data from Google? How about China? Or Iran?

Are they restricting the data they gather to searches only made by US citizens? Because here in the EU there are pretty strong laws about how companies can use personal data they gather. If the US government forces them to hand over data that pertains to EU citizens, I believe Google will be breaking EU data laws and could be opening themselves up for legal action in the EU.

Actually, there maybe something that EU citizens can do about this. Perhaps EFF Europe should start a campaign...

Re:Asking for search data... (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807856)

Has the government really thought this through?
Yes.
They have to realise they're setting a precident here.
They most certainly are.

That precedent is this: When we ask for whatever information we want, you'd better damned well give it to us!

Google should get the DOJ in touch with Lantos (1)

lazlo (15906) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807699)

Maybe google should get the DOJ in touch with representative Tom Lantos [slashdot.org] and have a bit of a discussion on the moral implications of complying with legal orders. Just sayin'.

It's just plain wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807703)

It's not so much a privacy issue as a conscription issue. Do we really want the government going around and strong arming data out of companies for their research?

The data is the property of google, the government really should not have any right to it, nor should it be able to force google into preparing it and giving it to them. You want it pay for it, just like the rest of the slobs. It's not like it's part of a criminal investigation.

No suprise here. (2, Interesting)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807706)

.. the Justice Department rejected Google's concerns over a Bush administration demand to examine millions of its users' Internet search requests on privacy grounds.

This administration has no concept of the right to privacy, except when it come to them and their friends.

Re:No suprise here. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807827)

No, they're perfectly open--as long as it doesn't relate to an ongoing investigation. And they investigate everything they don't want to talk about.

-Eric

Screw the DOJ---and the ACLU (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807712)

Why can't they just ask Google for a list of keywords that they think might fall in the border areas between obscene and non-obscene results, and then ask for permission to run a simulation on them from the DOJ headquarters? The answer? Power. The DOJ wants to be able to force them to give them something for nothing because they asked for it. Google is being forced to foot the bill for what amounts to an unfunded mandate on a private entity. In olden times, what did black people call being forced to work without compensation and criminal record? Slavery!

This case does, however, remind me why I have come to have little respect for the ACLU. According to CNet/ZDNet, the ACLU is not just content with getting the same data, they want the trade secrets as well [zdnet.com]. Google is just getting bitch slapped no matter how you look at this. They are caught between the fascists at the DOJ and the socialists at the ACLU who could care less about Google's trade secrets.

Misleading! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807720)

The DOJ only "rejected" anything in the sense that they don't agree with Google - the court will decide, not the DOJ

Since When? (3, Insightful)

TheWorkz (866187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807721)

Since when did the government start caring about our children. I have a simple solution, Don't leave your child on your computer with internet access alone. When they are old enough to browse and be responsible by themselves, they are old enough to look at porn.. BUSH ADMIN, quit wasting resources on BS and fix the real issues at hand.. Like our Deficit, the war, social security and countless other items. Leave the parenting up to us.

Re:Since When? (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807766)

My coworker has a decent idea.. setup a squid proxy and make the kids login to it before surfing a whitelist of sites you've pre-approved. Anything else gets blocked until you update the whitelist. There's no reason for kids to be surfing the net like an adult does so you should be able to reasonably confine them to a set of "safe" sites. At first I thought he was being a Nazi, but I may re-evaluate that as my baby gets older and starts using a computer. There's nothing helpful about just sitting there like an omnipresent overlord next to your kids while they use the computer (unless they request your help of course), it'll just make them paranoid. If you let them free in a pre-approved whitelist of sites then they will be able to gain more independence while still conforming to your rules.

Worst administration - ever - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807725)

As stated by several White House reporters (even that lady who's name I don't recall but who was there from the time Kennedy was president) its becoming more and more clear that the Bush administration is turning into the worst thing ever happened to the US. The days where a single scandal ('watergate' comes to mind) was enough to eventually remove a president seem to have been long gone.

The President can illegally wiretap his own citizens, start a war under false information, illegally detain people without process or trial (closing Guantanomo will only move things to the Policharky prion in Kabul), try to block a movie because he feels being portraited as the bad guy (Darth Bush?) and now he's trying to gain access to an internation crowd through Google (I really don't believe that his interests will stop with US citizens).

I guess times are really changing... Perhaps Google should move his offices outside the US so they don't have to deal with these constant attacks on freedom and democracy.

'Do no wrong' faulty from the start !! (1)

japes (467237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807726)

Here is what I don't get. One of Google's hippocratic values, 'Do no harm', was ignored at the start. They were capturing information on users searches and for what!? OK, I can understand that this info is helpful for the adsearch which is what pays the bills, but the adsearch program would only find this data useful for a limited amount of time. There is no need to keep and hold that data ad infinitum. Why not purge that data as it is old?

Re:'Do no wrong' faulty from the start !! (1)

Kredal (566494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807748)

First, it's "Do no evil"

Second, ever hear of trends analysis? Their company is founded on information storage and retreival. Why WOULDN'T they keep all of the information from their business ad infinitum?

That would be like asking why the NFL keeps track of scores from 40 years ago. "None of the players are still playing now, so why do the scores matter? Dump em!"

Data Usefullness (3, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807730)

From the article:
The Justice Department submitted a declaration by Philip B. Stark, a researcher who rejected the privacy concerns, noting that the government specifically requested that Google remove any identifying information from the search requests.

"The study does not involve examining the queries in more than a cursory way. It involves running a random sample of the queries through the Google search engine and categorizing the results," Stark, a statistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said.

So... exactly what information is these representatives of the US Government after? The fact that people search for porn? If they remove any identification of who, and thus what, the person is... what's going to tell them that any given search conducted by a wide-eyed innocent (queue Bush jokes) vs. a consenting adult?

Legal concern (1)

Alarash (746254) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807736)

There's one thing I'm wondering. Is the US government about to access all of Google's logs? I so, isn't there a potential legal issue here? I mean, privacy laws could be different from one country to another. If it's illegal in a country (let's say, Privatizhtan) to get that kind of informations, is the US government allowed to look into Google's logs for people who live in this Privatetizhtan?

Which brings in the "but logs are in the US so it's legal" issue.

Parents! (4, Insightful)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807745)

Once more, a nice display of reverse logics! If I, as a parent, fail to keep track of what my child is doing and/or looking at, I find someone to blame. And the federal government is backing me up on this one.

If you have a small child, you, as a parent, should be aware of what kind of content your child has access to. Preview television shows, whitelist certain webpages. If you leave smutty magazines lying around the house, do you blame the editor if a child finds them and looks through it?

Besides, sex is a natural thing, use education to enable your child to discern right from wrong, instead of keeping the whole subject hidden from him/her until marriage.

Google has nothing to do with this battle the right-wing christians wage against the porn industry. I'm not saying that pornsites should advertise all over the net, or judge porn altogether, but the federal government is taking a very one-sided approach in this matter. The net has always been free, and it should remain that way. I agree with Googles view on this matter.

Re:Parents! (1)

igrigorik (818839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807765)

Uh huh.. Yeah.. Except do you really think this is about the children? When you walked into a gas chamber they used to tell you that it's just a shower for hygiene reasons also...

Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14807750)

It's the DOJ that asked for the data in the first place, right? /Of course/ they disagree with Google.

The DOJ doesn't make laws, and it doesn't rule on laws. The DOJ is in the executive branch, and this decision will be made in the judicial branch, by courts.

/That's/ when words like "reject" actually mean something. Submitter, don't be an attention whore.

- chad

Really? (1)

ROOK*CA (703602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807775)

The department believes the information will help revive an online child protection law that has been blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court. By showing the wide variety of Web sites that people find through search engines ,

Wow and all this time I thought that's what Internet Search Engines were for.

the government hopes to prove Internet filters are not strong enough to prevent children from viewing pornography and other inappropriate material online.

Dear Department of Justice, let me be the first to provide you with a clue, there is indeed a highly effective filter to prevent children from viewing "pornography and other inappropriate material online", it's called a RESPONSIBLE PARENT (which occasionally actually come in SETS)..... last time I read the Constitution I missed any references to where it was the Federal Governments job to play the role of pseudo parent to American Children.

Please stick to doing what I pay you to do for a change, namely protect me & my fellow countrymen from other people that are attempting to violate our rights and not wasting our tax dollars trying to protect us from ourselves.

So let me get this straight (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807778)

Children need protection from porn, because it would be too bad if they would discover their sexuality on a normal speed which coupled with a good sexual education program can significantly reduce the number of underage pregnancies, on the other hand the administration encourages and is fine with the military recruiting from schools, sharing schoolchildren's data in a huge opt-out database and sending these kids to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Clearly, porn is the danger here. Think of the kids!

What did they expect (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807783)

As if there's any branch of the government capable of checking executive power anymore.

I still don't get it. (1)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807784)

The more I hear about this story, the less it makes sense.

First of all, "rejects" seems a bit strong - if I'm reading the article correctly, this is just a counterargument, and the matter is still very much in the air - with a hearing on March 13. So far so good.

What I still don't get is what legal grounds the Justice Department has for filing this subpoena. I really, really, really don't get it. Can someone more familiar with US law or with this case enlighten me?

"The study does not involve examining the queries in more than a cursory way. It involves running a random sample of the queries through the Google search engine and categorizing the results," Stark, a statistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said.


That's great, but why can't they research their own set of queries? You know, the old fashioned way - paying some consultants a boatload of money to come up with some useless results? Or why not ask Google nicely? Okay, maybe that's a bit naive, but why not offer to hire Google to help them with their study? Why a SUBPOENA? And why Google, and not the other search engines? Have they already asked the other search engines and received a list of queries? If so, why are they still going after Google? If not, why haven't they?

None of this makes sense to me. Any help?

Re:I still don't get it. (1)

ROOK*CA (703602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807822)

And why Google, and not the other search engines? Have they already asked the other search engines and received a list of queries? If so, why are they still going after Google? If not, why haven't they?

If I'm not mistaken the other "major" search engines (AOL, MSN and Yahoo) all were asked and complied with the request to one degree or another. Google was the only one that basically said "Hell No". I think the DoJ and the Bush Administration is trying to make a point with this whole Google thing. Which appears to be "When we demand uncompensated cooperation from an American Private Business for any damn reason we please, they damn sure better cooperate with us....and not give us any lip about it"....

Of course I could be wrong, maybe the Bush Administration is just auditioning for a part in George Orwells next novel.

Whitehouse results.... (1)

theoneknuckles (608389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807798)

If the request for the 1 million search sample is left to Google, then I say they hand over search results from Bush, Cheney and all those other cracksheads in that administration. And Google should post it publicly seeing as how we're all disregarding privacy laws here.

I'm sure they won't mind.

I call bullshit (1)

biscon (942763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807807)

I don't believe in protecting children by hiding content such as pornography, besides the smart kids will figure out a way to circumvent the censorship anyway. Stuff like double anal, gagging, spitting, gaping etc is a common part of mainstream porn these days though. What I think would be a better idea is the good ole' father/mother-to-son/daughter talk. It is the parents responsibility to tell their kids about sex and love and why they shouldn't spit their first girl/boyfriend in the face and violently shove a 6 inch up their asshole. Makes me wonder what the administration is trying to archieve though..

Privacy is the "small" part of the problem (1)

Halo- (175936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807808)

While I agree that there are privacy concerns with Google turning over search information, I'm much more concerned why Google (or anyone) is being forced to turn over anything at all.

Perhaps I don't fully understand, but isn't this basically a government research effort? They want to see if their assumption is correct to support a law which doesn't currently exist. Correct?

So why should a private company be compelled to give them data? It's not like this is a search warrant. How is this different from if NASA when to the academic community and said: "give us all your observations about the moon?" Just because the government wants data that a private company has, doesn't give them to right to demand it.

I know they are looking for evidence of something which ties (loosely) to illegal acts committed using Google, but that is an awfully broad net to be casting.

Am I totally missing something here?

Wait a second, what ARE the privacy concerns here? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807809)

From TFA:

The Justice Department submitted a declaration by Philip B. Stark, a researcher who rejected the privacy concerns, noting that the government specifically requested that Google remove any identifying information from the search requests.

So, what's the problem with the request, really? The government finds out what people are searching for, but not who searches for what.

I admit though that the article doesn't say whether the information requested could be used to group searches by user, which could be used to ID anyone who likes to google their own name (i.e. plenty of people.) But if that's not the case, I don't see what all the fuss is about.

Re:Wait a second, what ARE the privacy concerns he (1)

ROOK*CA (703602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807848)

So, what's the problem with the request, really? The government finds out what people are searching for, but not who searches for what.

Because giving inches to the gubment eventually ends up turning into miles, since there's a none to small probability that the next time they ask for "cooperation" it will be with the idenitifying information attached.

In a nutshell the gubment has no right to or justification for this information, and if they want to run a tax payer funded "study" of how effective "Internet filters" are they can damn well do it on their own, and not strong arm private business into giving them anything they feel like asking for.

This is why you have to resist data collection (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807829)

This is why you have to resist data collection, regardless of the immediate purpose or perceived benefits. Privacy policies and current legislation are of exactly zero relevance.

It's why I'm against ID cards in the UK, a scheme which involves a wholly unnecessary central database of biometric information. The current government may give assurances as to its scope and use, but once they have the data there's absolutely nothing to stop them or a future government from extending the scope and selling the data to the highest bidder. And that's beside the security implications of a central database.

At a museum event I once bumped into the CEO of the company behind the development of the Oyster card (a smart card for London transport, which as well as being a convenient rechargeable ticket, records against your name in the register your movements through the transport system (i.e. not solely for statistical purposes)). I asked him what data was being recorded and who had access to it; he laughed and asked me whether I'd like to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Yup, Google's put themselves in an interesting pos (1)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807840)

Er, position that is. One week, they say "Oh, don't worry about us being in China; NO filter can eliminate every thing a government doesn't want people to see!" and the next week they find themselves having to admit that what's true "over there" is true "over here": NO filter can eliminate every thing a government doesn't want (their young) people to see.


Maybe their motto should have been something more like "Don't be careless."

Now, don't get me wrong: I don't think little Johnny (or Joanie) ought to be "lookin' at them nekkid people on the internet" (for a number of reasons we won't go into right here) -- I just don't think the government should think itself in the business of making sure he (or she) doesn't. That goes for China AND the good ol' U.S. of A. ANY time a government puts itself (or is put by its people) in the position of "parenting" that nation's youth, that government is in the WRONG place in the "grand scheme of things" and needs to be put (back) in its proper place.


Just one guy's sometimes humble opinion (JOGSHO).

Ooh! Big surprise there! (1)

rnturn (11092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807855)

With the current administration, you can count on anything that infringes upon an individual's right to any sort of privacy to get the green light. The only group that seems to get any privacy in this country any more are those who operate behind closed doors in the Executive Branch.

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