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Judge May Force Google to Submit to Feds

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the lubricious-embankment dept.

418

illeism writes "News.com is reporting that a California judge may force Google to give the feds at least some of the information it wanted. The feds may get some of Google's index of sites but none of the user search terms. From the article, the judge said he was 'reluctant to give the Justice Department everything it wanted because of the "perception by the public that this is subject to government scrutiny" when they type search terms into Google.com.'"

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Less than originally expected (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920117)

At least the judge is favouring less than the gorvernment originally requested, still... I feel this is again the over-eager government wiping its feet on the flag and blowing its nose in the Constitution.

Re:Less than originally expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920159)

Either that or just using white out and a pencil on the constitution.

Re:Less than originally expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920180)

The original copy of the constitution is faded enough that they only need the pencil and no whiteout.

I wonder if they suddenly reprinted all books with the constitution in it if anyone would notice.

Re:Less than originally expected (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920597)

Just to be on the safe side, I'll move the gift shop copies from a childhood visit to the National Archives to the side of the desk away from the memory slot ...

Re:Less than originally expected (5, Informative)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920170)

if you read the article you would notice that google does not oppose the extremely limited amount of info requested. and if the govt would have asked in the first place they wouldnt have gone to court.

Re:Less than originally expected (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920282)

It's outragous that a gentle and social company like Google should be subject to the same law that Jane LOL Webcunt has to obey.

For christ's sake they even tell you tto do no evil.

Do we really wnat to ruin this greatest of all American enterprises by nitpicking on these issues?

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920299)

It sounds like the information Google will be handing over as a result of this ruling, are really not all that different from the information they already publicly release every week to the entire world as the Google Zeitgeist [google.com] .

Reluctance? (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920133)

...the Judge said he was 'reluctant to give the Justice Department everything it wanted because of the "perception by the public that this is subject to government scrutiny" when they type search terms into Google.com.

Perhaps he should be more reluctant because it's against the US constitution.

Re:Reluctance? (4, Insightful)

conJunk (779958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920189)

no kidding. what really trives me nuts is the way that we put so much value on "reaching an agreement" in this culture that people look the other way to "doing increadibly wrong things"

doj asked for a million urls and 50,000 searches... "well," says the judge, "they've reduced that to much smaller numbers, so i'm impressed with their ability compromise, so i'm inclined to give it to them"

well hold the fuck on! discolsing private information is still disclosing private information. who cares if they're even asking for just one url and just one search term... it's still wrong. *especially* since it's (a) not for an investigation of anything, and (b) being used to try to justify their own failed attempts at legislation

excuse me, but it's not google's job to do the government's homework for them.

Re:Reluctance? (1)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920315)

interesting that you said the government's homework. I'm curious as to what you mean by that.

Re:Reluctance? (5, Informative)

conJunk (779958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920367)

from tfa:
The outcome will determine whether the Justice Department will be able to use Google search terms in a social science research project that will be used this fall to defend an antipornography law. The Bush administration argues that criminal sanctions in the 1998 law--which has been placed on hold by the courts--are more effective ways to shield children than antiporn filtering software.

from teh beeb [bbc.co.uk]

Essentially it wants data from search engines to prove how easy it is to stumble over porn on the net. If it can prove this the result might be onerous regulation for many websites.
In court documents the US government said it had tried to generate the same information using the Internet Archive website but did not get the results it wanted.

essentially, the doj wants this data to make a point about child porn online. they are not investigating any violations of any law. this is not an issue where a warant even *could* be issued

rather, they are trying to make a point regarding aspects of the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, which the ACLU has successfully blocked in court. the government wants figures to support it's position in that case, but those figures don't exist, so they're demanding that google *give* them the raw data they need to make the argument they want to make

Re:Reluctance? (3, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920457)

No, this is not about child porn. It's about how readily children can see any kind of online porn (and thus whether legal pornographers should have to take steps to make it harder to access porn).

Re:Reluctance? (3, Insightful)

syukton (256348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920697)

EXACTLY. This is what people are failing to understand. It isn't about child porn, it's about childrens' access to porn. It's more "for the children" bullshit. To quote George Carlin, "Fuck the children."

I don't get this at all really...suppose they pass a law stating that you need to make it harder for kids to find porn online. So then everyone will simply host their websites overseas, circumventing the jurisdiction of the USA and keeping their porn easily accessible. What does the new law then accomplish? Answer: nothing!

Compromise is not the problem. (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920325)

Compromise would be trying to figure out what part of their search fit within the law, the Constitution and the authority's need to know. (The Federal Government does NOT have an automatic need to know, even when it lawfully CAN know.)


Compromise would also involve determining how much of the request would actually be meaningful - signal versus noise. Handing the Feds a bunch of noise would weaken the Feds' ability to do useful work. Which, given the useful work done since the Total Information Awareness campaign began, explains a lot.


And, lastly, compromise involves looking at what data Google has that is essentially public knowledge (eg: it can be looked up through Google, given time) and what information should rightfully be more widely distributed.


THAT is compromise, the essence of "reaching an agreement". The only ones who "reach an agreement" by giving the other side essentially everything they want are the victims of a crime like a mugging, extortion or a protection racket. I can't help it if that's the view of compromise that certain politicians have, but it's flat-out wrong.

Re:Reluctance? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920360)


What I'm interested in is what exactly the Feds wanted. From what I can see all they want is the search terms and results for those search terms, not who was doing the searching. If that's the case (and I have yet to see that it wasn't) I don't see a privacy issue here.

Imagine if the government asked for purchase data on cold meds to look for patterns meth makers use to get their ephedrine. So long as the stores don't tell the government who did the purchasing I don't see a problem.

Re:Reluctance? (5, Interesting)

penix1 (722987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920476)

It isn't a "privacy issue" it is a 4th ammendment issue. Google has 4th ammendment rights. They are entitled to the protection from unwarrented searches. There is no crime being investigated in this request. This is the government trying to build a case where none exist.

B.

Re:Reluctance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920394)

why do you think this is private information? Do you have some kind of
privacy agreement with Google? How much do you pay them each month for the
use of their service and their continued protection of your privacy?

exactly, gov't doesn't want to do their OWN work (1, Interesting)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920540)

Its not like what you transmit to a search engine via the internet is private and secured. Its fully open to the public and viewable by all. What the administration is trying to do is get google to do the legwork for them using the courts. Google doesn't want to do it, doesn't want to get tangled into what it could lead to. Its not like the NSA or someone else couldn't aggregate the data.
 
And it is bullshit, they shouldn't have to. Others have to pay a lot of money for this data, and google doesn't even want to be in the data selling business (read: non-evil ;).

Re:Reluctance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920214)

Innate morality was largely lost with the invention of religion, religion was obsoleted by law. This isn't an issue of the constitution it is one of morality. Now that the law is being eroded all they have left to worry about is "public perception".

Re:Reluctance? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920359)

Perhaps he should be more reluctant because it's against the US constitution.

Isn't it the judge's job to determine Constitutionality?

Isn't the disagreement between Google & the DOJ what the case is all about?

You may not personally like or agree with DOJ asking for the data, but that doesn't make it unconstitutional.

Re:Reluctance? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920486)

The law doesn't matter. It's the perception. The gov't operates by pure public relations. The people that you elect merely work in the PR department. You will never know to whom you're giving the real power. Unless, of course, you (en masse) really want to know. It's as easy as you want it to be.

rolfgasim (-1, Offtopic)

comm3c (670264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920148)

all i have to say is wtf bbq... roflgasim

Why does the government need this data? (5, Interesting)

bcarl314 (804900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920152)

I've said it before, but I can't understand why the government needs this data when they already have search results from MSN, Yahoo, and AOL. One would think that statistical analysis should be able to give enough information to make or break their case already. What are they looking for from a MOE perspective?

I'm just not sure what they need this data for. Are the google search results that much different than MSN or "live.com"???

Re:Why does the government need this data? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920211)

You're correct, the government doesn't need this information.

What the government does desire, however, is established precedent which permits it to seize information from any company, even when no actual crime is being investigated.

Re:Why does the government need this data? (1)

Phillup (317168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920238)

One would think that statistical analysis should be able to give enough information to make or break their case already.

But... they aren't trying to *break* thier case.

That is why they need this data.

Re:Why does the government need this data? (2, Interesting)

Repton (60818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920243)

It would be interesting to know if they are!

The perception is that google is used by more net-savvy people, whereas MSN (say) is used by the mum-and-dad types who just use the search button in IE. So, it'd be interesting to see how much the actual searches made reflect this.

I bet there's more porn in the google results :-)

You may be sadly deluded (4, Funny)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920499)

All I can say is Never check your parents browser history.

Re:Why does the government need this data? (2, Insightful)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920363)

I can't understand why the government needs this data

Because if google says no, and they give in, then they look weak. This government has had a "not backing down under any circumstances" complex for the last 6 years. Hrm, I wonder why.

Because they are paranoid... (2, Informative)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920574)

I've said it before, but I can't understand why the government needs this data when they already have search results from MSN, Yahoo, and AOL.

Google's data it probably a better sample than the other two, and all three combined provide an excellent pool of numbers to derive whatever their statistitions are looking for.

But there may be more to it. I think they are also interested in establishing a precedent as well, a "toe-hold" they can try to exploit later for additional, and perhaps more invasive data. Think of it: MSN is in their pocket, and Yahoo is not far behind. With Google and the other three, there would be endless ways for them to mine and extrapolate all sorts of extremely personal data on just about anyone. These people are by their nature extremely paranoid, so who knows what they would ultimately try and do with the information, but they have an extensive history of trying to do oppressive and illegal things, so look to the past for ideas.

Because the goal *IS* the invasion of personal dat (3, Insightful)

PetriBORG (518266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920657)

They want to set a precedent however losely for collection of search data without a warent so that they can do it randomly in the future.... Think of this in the same way they want to go after your library records.

Re:Why does the government need this data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920671)

In the age of the Patriot act, in which all the cowards have forsaked the privacy and freedom that our parents and grandparent fought for, the government does not need a reason. The government merrely needs to state that it wants the information, and then state that justifing the request will violate national security.

And the most annoying thing is why did the cowards give up the right? So they could hav a bigger TV. So they could have a bigger car? I think we need to realize that there is no such things as magic beans. If we trade a cow for a few beans, nothing special is going to happen when we plant those beans.

It is said that mark of true insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. If you send money to someone who promises you somehting for almost nothing, you are probably going to get screwed. It is insane to expect otherwise. If you invade a country, you are porbably going get bogged down in a long tern conflict, that will ultimately get negotiated to your detriment. The Germans should have learned this in WWI, the russina learned this in Afganastan, and we should did learn in Korea and Vietnam, but the leaders who send people into die while never taking any chances themselves ignored that lesson. Most importantly, we know that massive survelance of the populous is just a waste of money and does not really increase long term security, it merely build distrust and wastes money, vis a vis the Soviet Union.

Now, if the borrow and spend republicans want to trade out country to Chine over some bizzare meglomaniacal trip, that is thier right. They won the right to do as they wish fair and square. But don't, like the hypocrite, hide behind a mask of moral integrity and security. After all, as the people who are paying for thier hookers and drugs, we deserve a little more respect than that.

Time to Google Bomb them (4, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920154)

Just imagine what would happen if people decided to rebel, and started typing in useful search phrases over and over, while hosting web pages which had those keywords.

It's like a thousand al-Qaedas all at once.

That's how you deal with an intrusive government in Soviet America.

Re:Time to Google Bomb them (1)

realcoolguy425 (587426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920228)

It will be 911 times 2356.


My God, that's... I don't even know what that is!


Nobody does!

Re:Time to Google Bomb them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920480)

Unfortunately, in Soviet America, an intrusive government deals with you. Haven't committed a crime? They can't get a warrant? Doesn't matter! They can arrest you and hold you without charge for years, and even torture you if they feel like it (or send you overseas for more extreme torture).

Re:Time to Google Bomb them (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920535)

That's how you deal with an intrusive government in Soviet America.

Silly me. I always thought you could vote in qualified people that actually represent you, the voter. I guess as long as you simply vote for the guy with the most money, then that is what the candidates (and party) will represent. It seems to me that they are doing an excellent job of that. If big money is what gets them into office, it's because we vote for big money. Waddaya know, the system works!

Excellent Idea, MOD UP INSIGHTFUL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920701)

If there was ever a reason for me to write a virus and create a bot net it would be this... Then millions of fake google searches could be run for any topic I want thus spiking their results and preventing them from gathering too useful of information against people.

Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (4, Insightful)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920162)

Because we all know that if the government really wanted that information from Google, they'd have persued it via Patriot Act style secret warrants. Since I haven't heard about a bunch of Google employees going to jail, I assume they're following the law.

It is subject to government scrutiny when you type something into Google.

The reason that the Justice Department publicised this rejection from Google is because they thought it helped them. That's what baffles me about this case. Was it their public image that they thought this helped? Was it in their interest to make people think their information was safe with Google? Did they think it would cause Fox News to smear Google? (And how would that help them?) Is this information honestly going to help them get their preferred verdict? I don't see how...

Iduno. I can't tell if I'm over thinking this or under thinking it.

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920237)

Since I haven't heard about a bunch of Google employees going to jail

Good, they are being quiet enough.

I might have left my tin-foil off to long but I think you are over thinking it. The DOJ might in this case be telling the truth and they are getting only the list of sites (and no names/IPs).

Correct me if I am wrong isn't this what they originaly wanted, just the list of sites that are indexed.

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (4, Interesting)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920250)

"It is subject to government scrutiny when you type something into Google."

Oh, what? So my internet browsing habits are subject to scrutiny by foreign governments? I live in Canada. IMHO the US government should keep the hell out of my personal information completely, and should have not even the slightest rights to ever know of such information unless I actually enter their country. Otherwise, GTFO ...

BC Medical Records (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920434)

That's why there was a controversy over the contracting out of medical billing in BC. Had a fertility test in BC in the last 2 years? A US defence contractor knows about it....

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920601)

The US Government has way fewer scruples about spying on Soviet Canadia. With y'all they don't even have to pretend to follow the Bill of Rights.

If you care about this, use a Canadian service provider. I guess Canadia could sign a treaty with the US providing privacy for your data, but... somehow I don't think that's going to happen.

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (3, Insightful)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920264)

It is subject to government scrutiny when you type something into Google.

And this is why I long for a search engine that isn't based in the US, and which isn't subject to US law.

It's weird that the DMCA controls what comes up in my search results in spite of the fact that I don't live in the US; but that's almost incidental in comparison to the truly dreadful notion that my internet searching habits are likely, over the next few years, to become more and more subject to the scrutiny of a foreign, hostile, government. It seems pretty obvious that this case is just one step along the way to the US government conducting surveillance on pretty much everyone in the world.

Can anyone recommend any non-US-based search engines? The only one that I've managed to find out anything about is one that hasn't actually debuted yet, Quaero [wikipedia.org] ; if there are others I'd love to know. I hope Quaero turns out to be half as good a search engine as Google (somehow I think that unlikely), but at least maybe it'll encourage the existence of non-US-based search engines.

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (4, Interesting)

bnenning (58349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920439)

These guys [scroogle.org] proxy Google and claim to keep no permanent records.

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920271)

The one possibility you missed- they publicised it to change people's behavior- to now use other search engines.

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (1)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920377)

The only thing making sense for me is:

bwahahaha, you see, NOONE can stop us now!!!1111

That anything of this gets out at all convinces me they're on a trophy hunt and are keen to beat their chests about it.

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920477)

Why would anyone possibly want to creat a stock rollercoaster? Who could possibly stand to benefit from Google's stock dropping from >400 to 350 and then heading north again?

Follow the money, it will lead you to the truth.

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920617)

Thanks. Mod parent up.

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920688)

The reason that the Justice Department publicised this rejection from Google is because they thought it helped them. That's what baffles me about this case.

"Think of the children!"

Perhaps they are trying to suggest that in refusing to cooperate with them, Google is enabling child molesters. This type of hyperbole has worked in the past...

Re:Of course he's concerned with the *perception*. (4, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920698)

Because we all know that if the government really wanted that information from Google, they'd have persued it via Patriot Act style secret warrants. Since I haven't heard about a bunch of Google employees going to jail, I assume they're following the law.

Clearly, you know nothing about the USA PATRIOT Act.

1) There are no warrants under it.

2) You do not hear of people going to jail. They are illegally seized and detained indefinitely without charge or warrant and without legal council.

It is subject to government scrutiny when you type something into Google.

scrutiny (skr?t'n-?)
n., pl. -nies.
1 A close, careful examination or study.
2 Close observation; surveillance.

That too is illegal according to our constitution, without a warrant for a specific charge looking for specific information.

Iduno. I can't tell if I'm over thinking this or under thinking it.

I know if you live in the US, you should think more about this stuff.

sad really (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920163)


for the GOV to be undertaking this blatent fishing expedition (still convinced the gov is on the right path ?)

of course if Google had stopped logging every bit of shit that goes over the pipe this problem wouldnt exist, as they say "you have made your bed, now sleep in it"

Re:sad really (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920663)

I think in this case Google made our bed, and now we're sleeping in it.

Pft.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920173)

I dunno whats worse. The US government or the seemingly bipolar privacy protection of Google.

How about zero search queries? (5, Insightful)

Zarel (900479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920176)

From the article:
...the Justice Department...demands a "random sampling" of 1 million Internet addresses accessible through Google's search engine, and a random sampling of 1 million search queries submitted to Google in a one-week period. During negotiations, the Justice Department narrowed its request to 50,000 URLs and said it would look at only 10,000. It also said it wanted 5,000 search queries and would look at 1,000. Ware said that the reduced demand coupled with the government's "willingness to compensate Google" for up to eight days of its programmers' time had convinced him to grant the Justice Department at least some of what it had requested.
So the reduced demand somehow makes it okay to violate first-Amendment rights?

Re:How about zero search queries? (4, Insightful)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920326)

Like I keep seeing quoted in the news articles about this whole thing - Your privacy will be invaded bit by bit, in a gradual, not-so-harsh manner. But in the future you'll look back and realize what has happened...

Re:How about zero search queries? (2, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920460)

You:
So the reduced demand somehow makes it okay to violate first-Amendment rights?

The Constitution:
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Me:
WTF? I hope you don't get paid for your legal brainery. Same goes for the mods that gave you insightful.

(NOTE: this post in no way expresses my opinion regarding the government's actions. Please keep that in mind if you decide to mod/respond.)

Re:How about zero search queries? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920589)

Where in that is the government asking for the identity of the searchers? They're not asking "who searched for X?" They're asking "what results were generated for a search for X?"

Frankly the government should just ignore google and hiring someone good with writing a web spider and just crawl google for the data they want. Hell if they don't want the most recent results they could even hit the google cache for those searches :)

From forum (4, Funny)

Viraptor (898832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920188)

Probably someone from Justice Department asked something on a web forum and got standard "STFW" with google link.
Some people should just learn to use google, not ask feds to force informations out of it, really... ;)

Blade:Trinity (3, Insightful)

Bodysurf (645983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920221)

Ever see the movie Blade: Trinity where the Feds try and seize the computers?

I wouldn't be upset if Google pulled a "Abraham Whistler" on them.

Google's records are none of their business and the courts shouldn't have standing to seize them.

Re:Blade:Trinity (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920402)

For those of us suffering from a Wesley Snipes deficiency, what'd they do in the movie?

Re:Blade:Trinity (2, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920468)

Snipes gave the Feds a stirring speech about the Fourth Amendment, and convincingly demonstrated that under the Strict Construction theory they lacked the constitutional authority to be conducting this search anyway.

Half the Feds hung their heads in shame and chagrin and went home. The others stayed for the practical demonstration of Second Amendment rights.

Flaming piece of shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920571)

Blade Trinity is a flaming piece of shit.

Gotta Maintain The Illusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920242)

We have ALWAYS been at war with the terrorists.

Re:Gotta Maintain The Illusion (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920547)

What constitutes terrorism is relative to that which you are afraid.

Re:Gotta Maintain The Illusion (4, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920695)

We have ALWAYS been at war with the terrorists.

Yeah but when will they pack and leave the White House? :(

Google dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920253)

Any script kiddie with a beowulf cluster and a high speed connection can make google. Nothing to see here, move along.

Only Because It's The American Government (0)

BladesP9 (722608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920267)

They take them to court because in America they can. In America they fight for the right to have privacy and freedom from having their information viewed by big brother. But it's amazing how afterthey sell their souls to the Chinese they willing grab the lube, drop their pants and bend over to appease the Chinese government. They willingly give it up in the name of profits... shame they can't do a little in the name of safety.

Re:Only Because It's The American Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920383)

They take them to court because in America they can

That's the point. Why do you make it out like a negative? The government want to fuck around with corporate data and Google have chosen the option to refuse. They would have done the same in China,if it were possible. What a great world it would be if everyone everywhere could use their legal systems in such a way.

One more thing... how exactly does the Government having the data they're requesting make us any safer?

Re:Only Because It's The American Government (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920413)

shame they can't do a little in the name of safety. What exactly is this executive overreaching of the law making us safe from? If you want to protect your children from objectionable material on the internet, the only truly effective way is to set up a firewall that only allows white-listed URLs to be viewed. Stopping curious adolescents from googling for porn isn't going to accomplish a thing. Personally, I can't imagine why this data would be even remotely useful to the government -- the only reason they are demanding appears to be in order to send a clear "Big Brother is watching You!" message to the unwashed masses.

Re:Only Because It's The American Government (3, Insightful)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920438)

Invalid comparison. In China, the law states that certain things must be censored. In the USA, the law states that people and organizations have a certain expectance of privacy, and that search and seizure can not be done without a court ordered warrant and evidence of a crime. Guess what... this falls under search and seizure. There was no warrant, therefore the demand was illegal.

What happened to less government regulation? (4, Insightful)

Serveert (102805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920280)

I'm very confused here, I thought that a certain party was for less government regulation? Is this justified because we must "protect the children"?

Re:What happened to less government regulation? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920313)

It's justified because a certain group of fascists have hijacked that party's name for their own purposes.

Re:What happened to less government regulation? (3, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920442)

Exactly. An unbiased, rational analysis would show that according to traditional Republican principles, Bill Clinton was a much better Republican than George W. Bush. But just try getting the Republicans to admit that!

I just don't get it (5, Insightful)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920301)

What standing does the government have to even ask for this information?

I see no reason whatsoever that google should be forced to provide for the request other than the DOJ saying "Can we see your information?"

No law has been broken, no crime is under investigation... Can they come to my house next and ask to see the last 1,000 things I searched for? Why can they do that to google? This is insane and that judge is a moron.

What's the theory? (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920318)

What's the political theory that supports the idea that the feds can just demand anything they want and expect to get it?

Would any judge be supporting them if it wasn't about pornography? Did they get whatever they wanted from Enron without a warrant?

Re:What's the theory? (1)

Tony (765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920627)

Would any judge be supporting them if it wasn't about pornography? Did they get whatever they wanted from Enron without a warrant?

See, that's the problem. They didn't want to get anything on Enron; perhaps too many people in the government would be implicated. (Just look at the government folks Enron met with in the year or two prior to their debacle. Interesting list.)

Since this is about people and their own personal "web experience with a happy ending," it must be too nasty for the kids to see. I know when I use Google, all I get is pornography results.

Might have something to do with all my search terms including the word "porn," though.

Time to move servers again... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920339)

No problem, Google can just move their servers to China to keep them safe from a government that thinks it needs to track every citizens activity.

I don't see the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920341)

"The feds may get some of Google's index of sites but none of the user search terms."

So basically the government is going to get the google search results for * ? Couldn't they just hire a room full of monkeys to hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button for a week and review the logs?

Why is it... (1, Flamebait)

gillbates (106458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920354)

That Google bends over backwards when it comes to Chinese censorship, but stonewalls the U.S. Justice Department when it comes to our civil liberties?

Why do oppressive regimes get special treatment?

Re:Why is it... (2, Insightful)

daemones (188271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920389)

Because oppresive regimes don't have constitutions that (pretend to) limit government power.

Re:Why is it... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920423)

Why do oppressive regimes get special treatment?

Perhaps because the oppressive regime has a few billion people who weren't already engaged in increasing Google shareholder value, whilst most of us here have been doing so for years.

Re:Why is it... (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920446)

Because it follows the laws of that country (right or wrong). The scary part is that in China it is the law that they censor search results, last time I checked in America what the goverment is forcing them to do is clearly against it :| Hell it seems to me google resisted because it didn't want to give away secrets, take the cost of goverment fishing and possibly for the geek pr. I never got the impression they were doing it to protect their users in any way.

Re:Why is it... (4, Insightful)

adisakp (705706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920456)

That Google bends over backwards when it comes to Chinese censorship, but stonewalls the U.S. Justice Department when it comes to our civil liberties?

Google is offering Chinese citizens the rights and protections they have for computer access under Chinese law. Unfortunately under these laws Chinese citizens DO NOT have a right to privacy and DO NOT have a right to search sites censored by their government.

Google is trying to offer US citizens the rights and protections they have for computer access under US law. In the US, there are constitution rights to free speech and to privacy (as interpreted by previous Supreme Courts). Google is trying to uphold these constitutional rights and the US Justice department is trying to circumvent these rights.

I fail to see how Google has done wrong by trying to protect the rights that citizens of a country have been given by their respective governments.

Re:Why is it... (2, Interesting)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920491)

For the same reason newspapers are terrified of offending Muslims but show little concern for offending other religious groups.

It's easy to stand up to people you know aren't going to retalliate.

Apologies to Bill Hicks.... (1)

Tony (765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920598)

It's easy to stand up to people you know aren't going to retalliate.

Yeah. Thanks for turning the other cheek, Bub.

Re:Why is it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920561)

Are you asking why opressive regimes should get a special treatment?

May be because they are oppressive regimes that have no respect for the law and human rights.

  So either US government should aknowledge that they are an opressive regime and they deserve a special treatment or they should respect their own law.

Re:Why is it... (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920643)

Why do oppressive regimes get special treatment?

You know, when in Rome...

This country doesn't yet have a set of laws as oppressive as the Chinese, but we're heading there. Just give it another ten years.

Problem is, if you think of the US as a car, now matter what we do, our steering keeps pulling to the right. At the least the Justice Dept keeps trying to.

Time for a big fucking re-alignment. AND an oil change.

Perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920398)

"perception by the public that this is subject to government scrutiny" Because, you know we don't want the 'public' perceiving anything. I mean we already log every search the 'public' performs. We just have to make the perception that the information is safe...

skewed sample (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920408)

forgive me for asking, but who uses google to search for pr0n anyway?

Re:skewed sample (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920501)

Why not do a google search to find out?

Could someone remind me what they need it for? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920416)

Wasn't it the question how many "ordinary" search queries return sex pages?

Would generate a few questions for me:

1. Who cares?
2. Should someone care, of course ALL of them do, sooner or later.
3. What do you need Google's database for? Too stupid to use Google?
4. Or too out of touch with the people you're supposedly representing to come up with "ordinary" search phrases?

Welcome to the new world (2, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920440)

Where nothing is considered private and personal.

Live your life accordingly.

Non random results (0, Troll)

dedeman (726830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920473)

Whats to say that Google won't decide which results to hand over, assuming that the judge feels that compromise is a great way to stomp on Constitutional rights. Perhaps they will turn over 50,000 searches on miserable failure [google.com] .

You want it feds? You got it. I'll commit to about 10,000 searches on that.

Why should the government get free data? (-1, Troll)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920488)

They "demanded" the data... that's the problem

Instead of "give us the records." It should have been "How much for this information..."

THEN they would have gotten somewhere with Google.

So how does this work for International users? (1)

rediguana (104664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920521)

Will they only be handing over information about searches from Americans? Or is it going to be pulled from all Google users? I know this probably doesn't breach any privacy laws in the US (do you have any?) but could be of concern to Europeans. Does anyone have more info on this aspect?

They're justifying it under the takings clause! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920559)

I'll bet Slashdot that I've figured the judge's legal reasoning out. The key is here, from TFA:

"Ware said that the reduced demand, coupled with the government's "willingness to compensate Google" for up to eight days of its programmers' time, had convinced him to grant the Justice Department at least some of what it had requested."

The government is claiming the data as private property to be taken for public use under the 5th amendment. I'm pretty sure this is unprecedented, anyone heard of anything like this before?

Missing the real issue (4, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920656)

Gidari said that Alexa Internet, which is owned by Amazon.com, is a site that offers Web analytics services that can produce similar information "without entangling us in litigation going forward."

That point was raised repeatedly by Ware, who seemed concerned that if he granted the request, "a slew of trial attorneys and curious social scientists could follow suit."

"Now Google could face hundreds of university professors (saying), 'I've got a study I'd like you to conduct,'" Ware said.

Further on...

The dispute has elevated the prominence of search privacy, touching on how divorce lawyers or employers in a severance dispute could gain access to search terms that people have typed in. It's also raised eyebrows because Google chose to cooperate with a demand by the Chinese government to censor searches on the company's Google.cn site.

If the Justice Department does win this case, Google would likely face a second round of subpoenas from the American Civil Liberties Union for follow-up information. The ACLU is challenging the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, or COPA, which makes it a crime for a commercial Web site to post material that some jurors might find "harmful" to any minor who stumbles across it.

The point becomes: if Google complies with this request, either voluntarily or by court order, then that open's a Pandora's box for any group that wants a crack at their data, to prove their pet theory or compile information to use in other court cases. Ultimately, the government doesn't care about the actual data. They'll find enough porn searches in MSN, Yahoo, and AOL to keep them salivating for a good while. But if they can't bring Google to heel, they will a) look powerless in the face of one of the world's largest Internet companies and b) lose any grip they have on the others, who will say "if Google doesn't have to do it, we don't either."

What's the point, really? (5, Insightful)

illspirit (957034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14920660)

The whole reason the DOJ wants the records is to prove that filtering software isn't as effective as COPPA, no? So how exactly is any number of random queries or page indices going to prove this? Even if the random sample was all hardcore porn pages and search strings, there's no way of telling if it was a child who did the search (or viewed the page). And if they're not asking for IP addresses (which they claim they're not), there's no way to know if a search or page even originated in this country, right? So, in theory, the data the DOJ is after might contain the results of people looking at porn in other countries in which it isn't illegal.

So, basically, they want to prove that someone, somewhere, might be breaking a US law, possibly in a country where said law doesn't apply, as evidence to support said law. Brilliant. What's next? Since other countries allow boobs on TV, we should ban TVs here?

fa/il2ors (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14920704)

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