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Google Avoids Surrendering Search Info

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the dodged-that-bullet dept.

226

Mercury News has details of a San Francisco judge's decision that Google should give the DoJ some details on its search engine, but is not required to turn over records to the government. From the article: "McElvain emphasized the study would be more meaningful if it included search requests processed by Google, which by some estimates fields nearly half of all online queries in the United States. Ware concurred with the Justice Department on that point, writing in his order that 'the government's study may be significantly hampered if it did not have access to some information from the most often used search engine.' But Ware said the government didn't clearly explain why it needed a list of search requests to conduct its study, prompting him to conclude the Web site addresses would be adequate." Reaction to the news is available on the Google Blog.

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Can't Troll the E-Water (5, Interesting)

fatduck (961824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947592)

So the government isn't allowed to troll the personal information of every American without the slightest probability of cause? What happened to the "If you're not a terrorist, you have nothing to hide" doctrine?

Re:Can't Troll the E-Water (5, Funny)

DavidHOzAu (925585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947610)

That also means that the judge is either human or must've had a bit of common sense. In other news, this unfortunate oversight on the part of the judicial system will no doubt soon be corrected.

Re:Can't Troll the E-Water (4, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947929)

Common sense? That's actually exactly what I find to be severely lacking on the judge's part in this case. If he *really* had some common sense, he would've said, in essence, "there's no legal basis for requiring Google to hand out *any* data if there's not a criminal investigation going on, so go away, n00bs".

If the government demanded that you pay an extra 1000 USD in taxes even though there's no legal reason for them to ask for that, and if a judge then decided that 1000 is too much but that 500 is OK, would you also say that's reasonable? Of course not. There's no middle ground here - you either stick to the law or you don't. Sadly, in this case, neither the government nor the judge did; the former's not surprising, of course, but the latter is.

Re:Can't Troll the E-Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14948103)

A judge would not even grant a search warrant for this kind of info. You need propable cause for a warrant, this is a fishing expedition and it is highly illegal. It is amazing that most people seem to have no problem, however the next time the government can request more. Google really needs to give no info and take this up to the supreme court. And if the justices rule on the side of the government, they should be somehow impeached for violating the constitution!!!!!! I am sure Roberts and Ailto (or however you spell that moron's name) are going to roll over and do whatever the administration wants.

What's the difference between Google and the Gov't (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947729)

People have no problem forking over all of their personal information to the private sector. Credit card companies know what you buy and where. Amazon has statistical models that identify (often correctly), books you might like when you buy another book. Even power companies have models that can generally predict your power usage patterns by demographic and weather forecasts. But, oh, no, if the "government" gets all this stuff, its the end of the world. Ironically, denying the government access to information already freely shared in the corporate world only stacks the deck towards giving corporations the upper hand over government.

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (4, Insightful)

bsane (148894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947747)

Ironically, denying the government access to information already freely shared in the corporate world only stacks the deck towards giving corporations the upper hand over government.

Maybe you weren't aware, but corps only have the power that the government lets them have. The government is vastly more powerful than any coporate entity and has essentially unlimited resources. If you make a list of organzations to be wary of the government is _always_ at the top of the list. The only thing that holds them back is accountability to the people (I won't debate how well that works ;-) )

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947748)

The private sector, at worst, sends you some junk mail and tries to sell you something. If they've processed their data correctly, then you probably are interested. The worst that can happen is that they don't process their data correctly and you get offers on stuff you're not interested in.

The government, on the other hand, can do a lot worse than send you some poorly-targeted advertisements. Being targeted as a potential terrorist can do tremendous damage to your life. You could lose your job, be incarcerated (without trial, incedentally), and possibly get your face blasted across the news.

What American has been incarcerated without trial? (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947764)

That was not, you know, fighting for the Taliban? I'm all in favor of civil rights, but, if you take a gun and go on the side of the enemy in the middle of a war, you deserve to get shot. The act of siding with the enemy is a voluntary surrender of citizenship and the accompanying civil rights.

Re:What American has been incarcerated without tri (2, Insightful)

fatduck (961824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947910)

How many non-Americans have been incarcerated without trial? Who knows, it's classified! The U.S. government reaches far beyond our borders, as does Google.com.

Re:What American has been incarcerated without tri (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947949)

Um, isn't it a little early to be hitting the crack?

they're not citizens!"

Re:What American has been incarcerated without tri (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947962)

Remind me to close those br tags...

Anyway, my point was that citizens aren't the only ones that have civil rights. Otherwise you could shoot tourists as they come out of the airport terminal and say "Not to worry, officer, they're not citizens!"

Re:What American has been incarcerated without tri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947952)

yeah, so you lose your civil rights. You get captured IN A WAR, you get the rights assigned to PRISONERS OF WAR. er, except you don't because the US army likes to arrest enemy combatants during a war on an entirely arbitrary (and illegal) basis claiming that they aren't prisoners of war because the US Army says so. They're also supposed to be released after the war is over, which was May 2003, if I remember rightly.
And then, to try and make it look all legal and above board, the US Army declares that it will be holding military tribunals. Where US Army officers will 'try' people who they have no authority to try for things which weren't illegal at the time and the place where they were done, and even if they were it wouldn't be up to the US army to do the trying.
Which ends up showing the US Army to be making an even bigger mockery of the rule of law than it did just by illegally imprisoning people.

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (1)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947859)

That's true, but Amazon isn't going to send me to gitmo if they don't like the books I'm reading.

-CGP [colingregorypalmer.net]

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948122)

Maybe not Amazon, but who knows? It's not unheard of [wikipedia.org] that companies would engage in such things.
Auschwitz III and satellite camps

The surrounding satellite work camps were closely connected to German industry and were associated with arms factories, foundries and mines. The largest work camp was Auschwitz III Monowitz, named after the Polish village of Monowice. Starting operations in May 1942, it was associated with the synthetic rubber and liquid fuel plant Buna-Werke owned by IG Farben. In regular intervals, doctors from Auschwitz II would visit the work camps and select the weak and sick for the gas chambers of Birkenau. The largest subcamps were built at Trzebinia, Bleechammer and Althammer. Female subcamps were constructed at Budy , Plawy, Zabrze, Gleiwitz I, II, III, Rajsko and at Lichtenwerden.

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (3, Insightful)

jtwJGuevara (749094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947918)

The private sector does not have the ability to interrogate/arrest me for owning a copy of _________ (insert any controversial book here), or the ability to interrogate/arrest me by querying a search engine for something like "join jihad" (if I were insterested in how militant muslims would go about doing so).

Your version of mal-intent by coroporations is one thing - they want to brainwash me into buying their products so their wallets become fatter. That doesn't even hold a candle to the mal-intent a government could achieve by possessing the same info.

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947922)

The difference is that companies are generally interested in selling you stuff while the government is often intent on legislating your rights away, such as in this case. The negative results of one may be some spam in my inbox. The consequences of the other may be heavy handed censorship of the internet.

Now you get it?

What corporate power? (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947932)

Where to begin with how totally wrong you are?

How about this. What power do corporations have over your privacy that is much higher than the government's? I didn't know that a corporation (aside from landlords) could legally enter your home against your wishes, could monitor your communications, could imprison you and even execute you. Thanks for informing us that apparently the corporations have one-upped the government on these powers.

If you're as paranoid about statistical models of your buying habits as you are about government surveillance, then I have one question for you. Are you a terrorist, drug dealer or child pornographer? No, I'm not using that "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" clap trap, but rather it makes no sense to me why as an ordinary person you'd see an equivalence there unless you are buying stuff that is so damning that you're worried that a corporation might feel threatened enough to go after you in a court. Corporations don't care about innocuous buying habits and conversations, government agents with too much time, however, do.

What are you buying from Amazon.com that you have so much fear of others noticing a pattern of that would make you equate that knowledge of you to the government's ability to spy on you?

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (3, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947939)

As much as I dislike the amount of information that many companies collect on me, at least I can sleep comfortably at night knowing that companies are quite predictable in how they act and what they do - they generally act to maximize profits and accrued value to shareholders. So companies will probably abuse my information in predictable ways, trying to spam me and sell me crap. Additionally, companies are still restricted to some degree by laws set by the government, and by excessively bad PR, which prevent them from some of the most egregious abuses of my privacy imagineable.

The government, on the other hand, is not terrible resource-constrained, lacks the profit motive and instead generally is run by bureaucrats and their institutional imperative to maximize their own power and importance in the world, and politicians seeking to score populist brownie points. This means it can be reactionary, illogical and unprofitable, while seeking to maximize control and power for itself, and suppress those it sees as a threat.

As somebody pointed out, the only thing that constrains this beast is accountability through the electoral process for politicians, and the fear of losing their jobs for bureaucrats.

In short, I think I am right to be far more distrustful of the government having oodles of personal data to mine as it pleases than any corporation.

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947963)

<sarcasm>Yeah, when my ISP has my e-mails cached that's fine, but when the government wants them it's ""wrong! What a double standard.</sarcasm>

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (1)

DerGeist (956018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947968)

The real difference here is people willingly give up the information to the private sector, and they know exactly why and how the private sector will use the data. Since they have no vested interest in the consumer besides selling them stuff, the consumer generally doesn't care (note that yes, controlling the consumer is an insidious private sector habit, and handing over that personal data doesn't exactly make it harder to accomplish, but the public at large believes this to be a conspiracy theory not worthy of actual consideration).

The government, however, is all about secrets and spying. They have no vested interest in selling you stuff, they just take your money and give you nothing back (from the mind of the consumer). Why do they want to know about me? Just to spy! That's perverse!

See the difference? So long as the consumer understands why they are being spied on and sees a potential benefit to it they are cool with it. It's when someone is spying on your for what seems to be the sake of spying on you. Or if they are just curious about "how you work".

Also note that the spying the private sector does never includes the things people consider private enough not to reveal (relationships, phone conversations, e-mails, etc.) I can hear someone screaming "GMAIL" in the background, but remember the public was very concerned about gmail at first and had to be repeatedly assured that no human would ever view their emails.

Basically, in the eye of the consumer, privacy is good, and so long as they can do what they want, they'll accept whatever spying comes their way if they can understand it and see a potential benefit from it.

Re:What's the difference between Google and the Go (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947974)

People have no problem forking over all of their personal information to the private sector. [...] But, oh, no, if the "government" gets all this stuff, its the end of the world.

When Google gets the power to arbitrairily lock people up, or 'disappear' them, or execute them. We'll talk.

Well, probably (1)

Kittie Rose (960365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948141)

That the government can arrest you, and is stupid enough to make several cases of mistaken identity.

Re:Can't Troll the E-Water (-1, Flamebait)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947735)

No kidding. I mean really people, what is the big DEAL? If you're not hiding anything, WHY WORRY? Are there really that many of you out there who are terrorists or have ties to terrorism? If so, you should be ashamed and turn yourself in to homeland security right now. I don't know who put it in your american heads that you're shit is so special it requires a judge's warrant to slice it out of the vacuum sealed pack and sniff it.

We will not stand for terrorism in this country do you hear me?!

Re:Can't Troll the E-Water (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947990)

people saw what happened when cheney said "if your not a quail you have no reason to hide"

Re:Can't Troll the E-Water (1)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948037)


Hey, I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than driving with Ted Kennedy.

Re:Can't Troll the E-Water (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948064)

See, this is why Dear Leader decided to skip the courts altogether with his wiretaps, for our own good.

Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration's (3, Insightful)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947602)

request that it turn over anonymous search data for some lame research project.

But they roll over when the ChiCom dictatorship orders them to censor democracy.

Color me not impressed.

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947618)

Well, the DoJ isn't likely to send in armed police rather than take the matter to court...

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (1)

DavidHOzAu (925585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947621)

Color me not impressed that the second post to a Google article is a Google troll.

Some information is better than none at all. Don't we all know that??

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (2, Interesting)

Fanboy Troy (957025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947630)

Well, yes. Google denied giving over information that would be considered a breach of privacy for citizens all around the world to a government that is considered bad all over the world. And I'm not talking about China here. And it is censoring searches in China but at the same time not limiting the people's ability to 'out-smart' google and eventually find what they want about 'tiennamenn square'. So, the coloring part is right to the point. ;)

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947827)

True, I tried and as long as you leave out certain keywords (like Tiananmen), there's no problem finding what you're looking for.
Try 'massacre square chinese' for example.

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (2, Interesting)

fatduck (961824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947652)

First of all, lame research project is a rather mild way to describe allowing the government to legally data mine America's online usage. If you think anonymous data is "useless" or "lame" you may want to take a look at google's business model and an even harder look at their current market capitalization. Not to mention that once a judge allows the government access to an unlimited amount of anonymous data it becomes a precedent for future hearings on subpeonas for say two or three people's full search/URL history.

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (1)

magores (208594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947709)

Here we go again with the anti-China stuff...

"Shiny! Shiny! Looky there! Shiny!"

Come on, people. Fix the US, THEN worry about fixing China.

If you want to complain about other countries, complain about N Korea, Iran, or 50 other places. China isn't acting belligerant or saying belligerant things. Why focus on it?

Do you NEED a new, big menace? No more USSR, so let's choose China? Is that the deal?

Is a lot of small menaces too hard to deal with? And, that's why you invent one big one?

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (0, Offtopic)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947726)

not billigerent at all, tenderly rolling over students with tanks and gently imprisoning and beating religious leaders and destroying centuries old temples

China is extremely belligerent (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947730)

"China isn't acting belligerant or saying belligerant things"

It certainly is. It has been engaging in on ongoing brutal (rape, massacre, loot) occupation of Tibet. It is "saying" that it wants to cross an international boundary and destroy Taiwan. Both of these are belligerent actions against harmless sovereign nations. China is definitely imperalist. Whether or not the US wants a "big menace", the butchers of Beijing have made themselves into one. This is the same government that killed more than 40,000,000 people. They are sickos that actually still proudly display portraits of Mao everywhere.

Before you go saying "Look at what the US did to Iraq!!!", remember your ""Shiny! Shiny! Looky there! Shiny!" statement.

Re:China is extremely belligerent (1)

magores (208594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947894)

Re: Taiwan

Mainland China has been consistent in it's "One China" policy. The majority of the world adhere's to this policy. The current leader of Taiwan has made recent statements that he will disregard/disband Taiwan's current policy (which basically agrees to the status quo).

Seems to me that Taiwan (not the country, just the leader) is stirring things up more than the Mainland is.

Re: China is Imperialist

Are you REALLY worried that China is going to invade the US? Are you REALLY? Wh the hell would China want to even try to take over the US? China has enought to deal with now. If you don't care about the US in Iraq, why do you care about China in Tibet? Is it because its easier to complain about "them" than "ourself"?

Re: Kid vs Tank

It's a different China now. Seriously. China, the country, is evolving the way the internet does. FAST. China 10/20/30 years ago is not the same as China now.

My suggestions:

Let China make the things that the US buys. Otherwise, the US will have to make the stuff itself. America won't do it.

Let China "grow up" economically. Isn't this what the US says will make counties freer, more prosperous, and more democratic?

US citizens should learn to speak more than English. EVERYONE speaks English + their native language. Americans speak English. Who is a more desirable employee in a global economy?

Fix the US. Then worry about China.

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947738)

Is Google censoring it's search results in any of the country's you mentioned? If not, I don't see the relevancy to bringing them up on an article about Google. Bringing up Google's efforts in China to censor the Chinese people is definitely relevant in an article that paints them as saints for fighting to preserve the rights of Americans.

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (2, Insightful)

Moflamby-2042 (919990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947722)

Google doesn't make the information disappear entirely. It doesn't "lie" in this sense. The crucial and great aspect of google censoring links is presenting an annoying tag saying in effect 'this search has broken links due to censored content'. This type of notification upsets people since they're effectively treated like children by people in power but otherwise the same as them. Why should anybody see this information when others can't, even simply to censor it to begin with?

Censoring but tagging upsets people. Upset people cause change in the long run when they take action to correct it one way or another. Either the regional rules will change, or people dodge the rules in various ways (such as an encryption/tech vs. communication law/network isolation/spy law arms race until somebody wins). It's far more subtle, though perhaps less satisfying than a "no-censorship or the highway" style standoff, and it's effective.

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947961)

In addition, Google doesn't provide certain services in China because it would force them to breach privacy. Personally I consider the censorship in a nation with a millenia-long tradition of strong rulers which only had democracy for about 30-40 years a bit less pressingly important than the DMCA censorship [google.com] that is being performed in a nation founded on the ideals of freedom and democracy [usconstitution.net] .

Re:Google bravely refuses the Bush Administration' (1)

Naruki (601680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947781)

What democracy? Is China a democracy now?

For that matter, the US is only a democratic (as in, not a real democracy, but plays one on TV) republic.

But Google isn't censoring a democracy. They are working inside a dictatorship.

Dammit, now I don't know which country I am describing again.

good or bad it is none of their business (5, Interesting)

Drache Kubisuro (469932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947609)

Now we just have to fight "if you're not doing anything bad, you've nothing to hide" -- in a country such as ours, that is heresy against our constitution and the people who live under it. Our general need of having privacy and not being exposed to the world is a natural one and must be protected at all costs. Those who seek to undermine this principal are very treacherous indeed.

Re:good or bad it is none of their business (5, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947704)

The easy and obvious counterargument to the 'you have nothing to hide' line is to point out that it should not be required of a citizen to explain their daily actions on the basis that they look suspicious, as we each do a dozen things every day that could seem out of context to be nefarious or at least odd. The trick is to convince those who actually write this legislative crap.

Somebody ought to surveille every member of Congress for a week or so, and then e-mail them pointed questions about the footage (even if there is nothing untoward, innocuous actions can look suspicious, and of course that's the whole point), and then cc the footage and the questions to a local news outlet...that'd dampen the legislative hankering for citizen surveillance tout suite.

Re:good or bad it is none of their business (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948011)

That's doubtfull. They'll probably be targetting you as an enemy combatant as you've been gathering intel on the country's leaders, their whereabouts and habits - this information, if in the hands of nefarious people, can be used to usurp the entire democratic process, and as such they need to throw your ass in jail before you can do anything with the information.

Re:good or bad it is none of their business (0, Flamebait)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947715)

Perhaps "no-one can hide anything" would be a better doctrine.

I imagine Presedent Bush TV would be a great channel.

Let's have 100% cctv penetration, that would really sort things out.

Want to know what's going on in your neighbour's house, no problem :

http://15.credibility.street.london.se1.cctv.gov.u k/room.5.mpg [cctv.gov.uk]

Would you go for that ?

Re:good or bad it is none of their business (2, Insightful)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947790)

Now we just have to fight "if you're not doing anything bad, you've nothing to hide" -- in a country such as ours, that is heresy against our constitution and the people who live under it.

How can this be against the constitution if no ones rights are being violated? The government is not seizing data, they are subpoenaing it - a legal process clearly within the framework of our legal system . The real question is whether or not the government has a genuine need for the data in support of its case.

Our general need of having privacy and not being exposed to the world is a natural one and must be protected at all costs.

Whose privacy is is being violated and who is being "exposed" by google turning over search terms that are not in any way linked to an individual or ip address? Never mind the fact that like it or not, there is no right to privacy in the consitution.

If google cared one iota for the rights of its users, it wouldn't be censoring the search results of Chinese users. I suspect that google's resistance to this subpoena is two-fold: they clearly don't like the general public to precisely how much information about our browsing habits they retain and secondly, they are probably (rightly) worried that the type of information the government wants could enable their competitors to have insight into how their algorithm works.

Re:good or bad it is none of their business (1)

DerGeist (956018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947936)

You're right for the first part, but the second part you're waaay off.

If google cared one iota for the rights of its users, it wouldn't be censoring the search results of Chinese users

Umm...in China, Google is protecting their "rights" as Chinese citizens. Google is not the U.N., changing laws is not their business, they're working in a foreign market. How would you like it if Chinese companies started forcing Chinese laws on Americans/British/whatever? It's their country and their laws, just because you don't agree doesn't mean you have the right to demand they change to accomodate your sense of right and wrong.

Then you say Google's only reason for hating the subpoena is they don't want the general public to know how much data they retain, and their competitors could use the data against them. Wow, that couldn't be more wrong. First, the Government isn't going to release the information to the public so points one and two instantly fail. Second, the public largely already knows how much information Google retains, and doesn't care. Finally, Google is really just concerned about the negative PR associated with releasing "private" browsing habits. Everyone trusts Google and they intend to keep it that way (until they own the universe :) )

Re:good or bad it is none of their business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14948078)

It's their country and their laws, just because you don't agree doesn't mean you have the right to demand they change to accomodate your sense of right and wrong.

If you really believe this, then you don't believe in human rights. [wikipedia.org]

"Human rights refers to the concept of human beings as having universal rights, or status, regardless of legal jurisdiction or other localizing factors, such as ethnicity and nationality." -- wikipedia article

Study without having a reason? (3, Interesting)

Jump (135604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947626)

But Ware said the government didn't clearly explain why it needed a list of search requests

Tell me what you search for and I tell you who you are. Kind of obvious what they need this for. I wonder why they do not even come up with a fake reason to hide their true intentions. Are people already considered THAT dumb?

Re:Study without having a reason? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947842)

Look who our president is.

Before you Sensationalists Get Riled Up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947646)

It's amazing the idiocy and sensationalism still running around on slashdot and other circles concerning this case.

This facts are this: The feds are trying to defend their Internet child-protection law. They wanted to know how much porn is searched for on the major search engines. They asked for random search data that doesn't identify users in any way. All search engines complied except for google. Now the feds are going to court to get this information.

There is simply no privacy violations at stake here. The feds aren't looking for you or about to knock down your door. Please stop this hysteria, you people look stupid when you cry wolf like this.

Please get the facts before crying about BushCo and Big Brother coming after you. That simply isn't happening in this case.

Re:Before you Sensationalists Get Riled Up (5, Insightful)

magores (208594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947667)

The government doesn't do wiretaps.

It doesn't hold people without a trial.

It doesn't start a war without obvious cause.

It doesn't enrich the friends of the politicians.

Oooh.. Looky Looky! Look at that shiny thing over THERE.

Re:Before you Sensationalists Get Riled Up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947695)

What a lame and terrible comeback. Did you address the facts as I have stated at all? No. All you did was divert to some nonsensical gibberish.

It's funny to see the slashdot kiddies when you throw facts and logic in their face. They can't do anything about so they stutter out the usual "government is evil" crap.

Please try harder next time. You are looking real desperate now.

Re:Before you Sensationalists Get Riled Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947719)

You sir are looking more and more like a troll. Looking for intelligent conversation? Ok, here's a question for you: What sort of information was google asked for, that the DOJ couldn't get by actually routinely searching Google and examining the results?

MOD PARENT UP, please (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948129)

This is what is missed by many. The feds ask for unqualified data over a period of time. But they could have done their own accesses and been further ahead of where they are at this time. In fact, all they had to do was send in the search criteria that MS and Yahoo so nicely provides into google to see what it returns. Yet, they did not do so.

Re:Before you Sensationalists Get Riled Up (-1, Flamebait)

magores (208594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947820)

Obvious troll, but I'll throw out a cookie nonetheless...

You ask for facts from me. Let me ask you for the same.

I see no "facts" in your original post.

Do I really need to provide links to the reality of wiretapping, or the non-speedy trials, or the lack of WMDs which were the original excuse for the Iraq fiasco, or the use of Halliurton as an "agency" of the US government?

I suggest that if you require these links from me because you cannot find them for yourself, you are:
1) A troll, or
2) Hopelessly uninformed, or
3) Hopelessly clueless, or
4) A hopelessly, clueless government spy type dude

I'm going to decide upon troll, and quit talking to you now. This is only option that won't cause me shudder at the lack of hope for the future.

If, on the off chance, you really DO believe that Bush is correct in the way he has led the US, and that the US is right in its current actions, then I'm sorry. We have no common base from which to continue the conversation. And, I'm going to go into a fetal position and ask myself, "Where the fuck did this shithead come from?"

Re:Before you Sensationalists Get Riled Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947856)

I see no "facts" in your original post.

From the GP, since you didn't bother to read the first time:

This facts are this: The feds are trying to defend their Internet child-protection law. They wanted to know how much porn is searched for on the major search engines. They asked for random search data that doesn't identify users in any way. All search engines complied except for google. Now the feds are going to court to get this information.

If you had RTFA, or followed this case with more than a 5 year old's intellect, you would have known that already.

Do I really need to provide links to the reality of wiretapping, or the non-speedy trials, or the lack of WMDs which were the original excuse for the Iraq fiasco, or the use of Halliurton as an "agency" of the US government?

No, and I don't fucking care because that has no relevance at all to this case. So who's the one trying to distract here?

And calling someone a troll is really the last refuge for the desperate and weak-minded. This troll just obliterated you.

Re:Before you Sensationalists Get Riled Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947941)

Last sentence of parent...

Did he just admit to being a troll?

Isn't that against the troll rules or something?

Stop defending scum like the fed. (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947698)

What we do as individuals or as a whole, BOTH is none of the business of the feds. What's more: fuck them and their dumb internet laws. All they want this information for is see what they can take away from us next. Stop defending scum like that.

ATTN:MODERATION ABUSE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947811)

Ah.. the return of the "overrated" moderation abuse.

Do the mods know you can't overrate something that wasn't rated to begin with? The FAQ explicitly states [slashdot.org] what the overrated tag is for and this wasn't it. The anonymous comment wasn't modded yet, so it is abusive to ovverated it down to -1.

This is plainly censorship for a comment that the mod didn't agree with.

Moderators, please rectify this situation. I will report this to the editors to have the moderator banned from mod points forever.

You do not understand meaning of censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947832)

"This is plainly censorship for a comment that the mod didn't agree with."

You do not understand the meaning of the word "censorship". Only the government can do it. Adding/substracting moderation points is part of the moderators' free speech. Nothing more, nothing less. Free speech is not censorship.

I fully expect to be modded off-topic for this, but I won't cry the victim. That's just the moderator's free speech working.

Re:Before you Sensationalists Get Riled Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14948091)

It's strange how the right-wing "conservatives" have now become the "Kowtow Big Brother" party.

Lack of knowledge on your part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14948114)

does not mean that I should surrender my rights to the gov.

You have paid attention to the illegal wiretaps, no? Just of curiosity, how far does this go? Do you know? If they have more knowledge than is being let on, then they could tie certain things together. If the feds really wanted to do a porn study, then great. Simply limit the data to being about PORN. But for some odd reason, they do not. i.e. they are sifting through a seemingly black box, but we have no idea of what it really holds. BTW, before you declare this tinhatism, consider that back in the 50's, we sold copiers to the USSR that had special copy info. Likewise, some of the software that we sold to USSR was used to blow gas pipes in the early 80s. What this should show you, is that the feds do have access to a number of capabilities that most would assume they would not. Now, direct this against your populace.

WW II, Korean War, Vietnam, Watergate, IranContra gate, and now even Iraq Invasion, PlameGate, and of course, the current spying taught a number of lessons. Too bad, you did not learn from it. Do not give those in power that which they crave; more power.

Why should they get anything (5, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947656)

I'm a little confused why Google should legally be required to give the government anything. The government wants to do a study. Great. They can ask (or perhaps even offer to pay) for information they need, but why should they be able to get whatever they want, for nothing? Has Google commited a crime? Are they searching for evidence for a specific crime? Will the data they get from Google be used in any ongoing investigations? If no to all of the above, why should they get some information? They want to do a study, so what? Why should that mean Google has to give them anything it doesn't want to?

Re:Why should they get anything (1)

fatduck (961824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947668)

Because the data is from the "internet" which is used by "terrorists" therefore the government has a right to know everything that happens on the internet.

Re:Why should they get anything (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947742)

I was actually asking an honest question there. What right does the government have to force Google to hand over anything?

Re:Why should they get anything (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947876)

In a sense, that was a serious answer. I don't believe the government does have that right, but the people in charge of the US government at the moment do not understand the internet, and thus have constantly overstepped their bounds in that area.

Re:Why should they get anything (1)

fatduck (961824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947883)

I wasn't trying to make light of your post. I'm not entirely sure how this subpoena is even remotely legal. What the government is asking for amounts to basically a Freedom of Information Act request, not a subpoena.

Re:Why should they get anything (5, Insightful)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947812)

Tell me about it. I want to do a study on how currency is made, so the US treasury should allow me private access to official printing plates, inks and paper used in the process of printing money. My tax dollars helped to purchase the printing facilities and equipment and I'm certain to own some of the money printed in such facilities in the near future, so why shouldn't they aid my research by allowing me access to the materials I need?

DoJ Note to self. (4, Funny)

abhisri (960175) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947663)

"In future if you need a list of website, it will be easier to code a webspider than going around suing search engines".

heh!

Re:DoJ Note to self. (4, Informative)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948146)

"In future if you need a list of website, it will be easier to code a webspider than going around suing search engines".

It would be great if that was anywhere even remotely close to true. As pointed out in another post and in an article I wrote in January, Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online all turned over the records asked for without question. Google was the only one who actually put up a fight... Think about it. Only one of all the corporations asked for records refused. The rest "bent over" immediately.

Thank god for small favors. (4, Interesting)

Matilda the Hun (861460) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947666)

Could you imagine the implications if they had to turn this data over? Every minor study in the country would be trolling Google for user information. It would all be to "protect the children", of course. Nice to see a judge with a brain stem for the first time in awhile. Of course, no doubt soccer moms and politicians angling for reelection'll be complaining about this for awhile. "Google hates kids and supports child pornography!"

I can't wait. Talk about your no-win scenarios.

Your comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947710)

Your comment about "brain stem" having something to do with cognitive function is completely off. The brain stem controls most autonomic functions such as breathing and heart rate. Are you saying that the current Bush Administration and sympathic judges don't breath or have hearts?

...

Shit that explains everything. Rock on bitch!

I can't say about their breathing... (1)

Naruki (601680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947794)

but it's clear that hearts are not necessary for that group. Hell, Cheney has been rejecting his own for years now and still keeps on vigorously sucking money out of taxpayers' wallets.

I suspect the breathing they do is just for show. Little known fact: George really did choke to death on that pretzel a few years ago, but since he didn't need to breathe, no harm done.

Way to stand up to the government (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947674)

This on the release date of V for Vendetta, a (very good) movie about standing up to the government. I think someone's got a sense of timing. :-)

What I don't understand is (4, Insightful)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947676)

How can George Bush get a subpoena in the first place. It's seems odd that a president can compel the private sector to divulge information in the pursuit of political policy.

Plus this is from the Executive branch which doesn't even make the law.

Let Congress pursue this if it wants. It has the responsibilty of making the laws, not the president.

The Constitution gives the president authority over the military and cabinet; the power to grant pardons and make appointments. And thats about it. Not sure where the Executive is coming from with this crap.

Keep in mind, (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948152)

the case of sibel edmunds [justacitizen.org] . That is a case of Bush putting a presidential gag order on somebody in which case it was shown that she did NOT meet the criteria of a security risk.

Too many frivolous lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947684)

I was just reading of another frivolous suit against Google, by a site whining that it is not high enough in the search rankings. In a country where a greedy old lady can get rich by spilling coffee on herself and then successfully sueing the company that sold her the coffee, anything can happen.

Who cares if the Gov has access, Google has access (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14947690)

Who cares whether the government has unrestricted access when a private company - Google - already has it and is using it?

From the horses mouth, "...ads are very targetable, because Google knows a lot about the person surfing, especially if they have used personal search or logged into a service such as Gmail"

Awful just awful.. (4, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947694)

Why does Google hate children? Its not just that, The DoJ is trying to protect everyone from pornography why would anyone want to stop them? People this is one of the most morally destabilizing sins since attacking Americans and we should be adopting the approaches used in the Middle East particularly: Monitoring of all internet access by faith-based guides, gouging of eyes, and strict dress codes that stop the urge in the first place. Google I hope you're happy for all the lives you've destroyed through facilitating this evil.

Re:Awful just awful.. (4, Insightful)

varmittang (849469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947750)

Because you don't have the right to tell others what they can an can not do. As long as they are not hurting someone else, everyone should be able to go about their business. Its peoples right to privacy in how they find porn, via using google or MS search is what is at steak here, not the children. The conservitive right, I think, is what is pushing this DoJ to do this in hoping to get what you want, porn off the internet. But let me tell you this, if it wasn't for porn, there would be a lot of technology that might not have taken off. DVD, internet streaming of video, probably all would have died and be forgotten. Now if this is a funny rant, you got me, but I really think you mean what you say.

Calm down trigger happy moderators. (0, Offtopic)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947783)

Oh come on! Mod that as funny not flamebait, it clearly is irony and there was no intention of any serious comment.

Jesus Fucking Christ (1)

Naruki (601680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947823)

I can't believe some idiots actually thought that was serious.

Well, after the first couple of lines, of course, Before that, it sounded like a typical neo-con diatribe.

Re:Awful just awful.. (4, Funny)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947796)

>> The DoJ is trying to protect everyone from pornography

That's not why we (the people) created the DOJ.

>> People this is one of the most morally destabilizing sins since attacking Americans

Child pornography has been around loooooooooong before that happened.

>> we should be adopting the approaches used in the Middle East particularly: Monitoring of all internet access by faith-based guides

Church and State separation prohibits that. In that other (ironically) faith based doctrine we call the Constitution. However that one is where we, the people put our faith in our government.

>> gouging of eyes, and strict dress codes

Jeb, is that you?

>> Google I hope you're happy for all the lives you've destroyed through facilitating this evil.

You have a (semi) valid point. Google does not facilitate it, humans do. Humans work at Google, and more of them (ought) to be seeing exactly what is in their index and what they make easy to find. So should every other SE on the Internet.

Our legal system permits the DOJ to subpoena *any* individual's records if they can show probable cause for use in any trial aiming to convict a sex offender, and Google has complied with such in the past. What the DOJ is doing is called "fishing" , and its illegal, unconstitutional and unethical.

>> Why does Google hate children?

Awww Jeb! It IS you!

If google was smart... (3, Funny)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947718)

Instead of emailing the URLs requested by the DOJ, they would hand-write them on paper and send them by mail. Preferably hand-written by 50,000 different people, of course.

There is no reason to make this easy for the government.

Re:If google was smart... (2, Insightful)

fatduck (961824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947923)

The text of the subpoena specifies the allowable media upon which the requested information may be provided. I'm guessing "handwritten on table napkins" isn't on there.

Meanwhile, Google blocks searches for "freedom" (1, Offtopic)

tjstork (137384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947746)

Hey Google: If you want to adhere to the principal of "do no evil", that means world wide, not just in your own country! You know, I'm glad to see that everyone has no problem lining up behind Google vs George Bush, but at the same time, give Google a total pass on forking over all of their information to the Chinese government, on demand.

The reality is, Google's "fight against the evil Bush empire" is really nothing more than a sales pitch designed to protect their intellectual property from domestic competition. Google is a business, not the "savior of the world from the clutches of Bill Gates and George Bush". Does anyone here remember when Microsoft was the "savior of the world from the clutches of IBM". Different graphics every day on the search site is no different than the Windows logo or the Nike Swoosh. Same sales pitch, different generation, and anyone that thinks otherwise is either too young to remember or a fool.

Re:Meanwhile, Google blocks searches for "freedom" (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948001)

Google doesn't give information to the Chinese either. In fact, they don't even offer certain services in China so that they won't have to do so. But of course, anything goes for the anti-Google fanatics. If they didn't censor for China you'd be saying that they are doing evil by denying the Chinese access to Google! And Google was not, is not, and never will be powerful enough to become the next Microsoft. Google's products don't have the lock-in quality that Microsoft's and IBM's do/did. Gmail is the only one which comes anywhere close, and even then, looking at the way people switched to Gmail, if they try to abuse their users with it, there will be a mass migration from Gmail.

Note to DoJ (4, Informative)

ChristopherX (956137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947785)

If you want to determine if filters are protecting children from porn... 1. Go to google.com, search for "porn", etc. 2. Click on the first 1000 results to determine if each is evil. 3. Turn on your filtering software. 4. Go back to step 1, repeat for each filter you are interested in. Alternatively, waste tax payer money and look like an ass by paying lawyers to try to bully information out of private companies.

International concern? (4, Insightful)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947817)

What I want to know is - Is there anyway that the government can use this and will get information (ie search requests) that is formed by people in countries other than the US.
i.e. not just getting info on its own citizens but on those from abroad simply because they may have used Google.com as opposed to Google.fr

It would clearly mess up the stats for the research wouldn't it.

The Frustration of the New American Way (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947826)

Google's last line in their blog is really frustrating to me:

When a party resists an overbroad subpoena, our legal process can be an effective check on such demands and be a protector of our users.

The checks and balances system has failed us completely. To resist an overbroad subpoena, one must have both incredible financial strength as well as incredible legal strength. Companies much smaller than Google don't have either -- and the courts seem to accept any growth in government strength as a new standard whenever a smaller company just gives in to government requests.

This country was founded on an idea that the Federal government was to be set up to promote the general welfare of the people -- not by making a police state nor a welfare state. The Federal government was here to protect the rights of the people by making sure that the individual states didn't trample on these rights. Beyond that, the Federal government was given a few BASIC powers over the people and the state -- very very basic powers.

National security was a power for the government in its ability to defend the borders and call up the militia to keep out intruders. National security was NOT about policing the citizens of the country, this was left to the individual states to decide what is criminal and what is acceptable.

I am very mad that the average citizen doesn't see what has happened. Instead of having a federal government with very limited powers -- which can't be controlled by any amount of money -- we have a federal government with unlimited powers controllable by the highest bidder. If the highest bidder has any reason to restrain government, they can do so with the right legal aid. Yet the common man (the minority of 1) -- the most important facet of a free system -- has no power to do anything but fall victim to the wants of the masses. If the masses are ignorant, the minority of 1 will find themselves without any rights because no one came to their aid.

This has nothing to do with money, mind you. This only has to do with a federal government that is no longer a servant but a master, and the belief of the citizens that they're still able to stop Leviathan through voting.

Re:The Frustration of the New American Way (2, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948148)

I like your diatribe, however, ironically, you are part of the problem, like in a larger sense, all of us are.

You have a gmail address. You use the services of these big companies. The consolidation of corporate America into a small OPEC-like coalition of PACs is what allowed the eradication of the Fairness Doctrine [bsalert.com] to go down in the 80s without even a whimper, the emasculation of journalists and political candidates, bringing about the scenario where the people don't feel they have much power to effect change or stand up for their rights. And ultimately, merely as a symptom of its submission to big business, your fixation with Government's negligence in protecting the rights of the people.

If you want to really fix things. You have to stop feeding the behemoths. Microsoft, Comcast, Google, Fox, Time-Warner, Sony, Wal-Mart, Clear Channel, etc. The bigger these companies become, the less chance any of us have of protecting our individual rights.

When you're dealing with small companies, you're dealing with people who are more in touch with their nature of their business, industry and their customers. When you deal with big corporations, it's a hyper-detached hierarchy of people whose primary concern has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with keeping their job. Google's decision to fight "for the privacy of their customers" is a load of bullshit. It was strictly a PR move. If Google really respected their customers' privacy, they wouldn't retain personal information indefinitely, so it is an inevitability that Google will eventually, completely compromise the trust and privacy of their clientele. The bigger the company becomes, the less authority anyone has with any conscience to "to the right thing." Look at history. You will not find a single example of any entity with market share or absolute power that didn't end up completely corrupted. Why people think that Google will be any different, or their surprise at the government's inconsistent motives, is a testimonial to how naive our society has become.

If you don't like the direction in which things are going, then don't feed the beast.

Just pasting without any comment (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947901)

http://www.google.com/privacy.html [google.com]

"We may also share information with third parties in limited circumstances, including when complying with legal process, preventing fraud or imminent harm, and ensuring the security of our network and services."

Re:Just pasting without any comment (1)

fatduck (961824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947930)

Does it say anything about complying with illegal process?

Re:Just pasting without any comment (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948095)

Of course it doesn't say. There is a "tiny smell" of a genius PR in whole debate.

I have even seen people thinking they have the perfect privacy in Google. It is not the case here you know.

Anyone own a printing company? (2, Funny)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14947975)

When Desert Storm hit, Americans rallied and made Saddam toilet paper.

When 9/11 hit, we made Usama Bin Laden toilet paper.

Someone ought to make this document [google.com] into toilet paper, since its now officially useless otherwise :)

It's the American thing to do :) Coming soon to thinkgeek?

Re:Anyone own a printing company? (2, Interesting)

draco664 (960985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948041)

When Desert Storm hit, Americans rallied and made Saddam toilet paper.

When 9/11 hit, we made Usama Bin Laden toilet paper.

Well then, why not a combo Constitution/Bill of Rights TP roll?

Marketing would be a breeze.

"Now everyone at home can find out just why the Bush Administration is so keen on using these historic documents the way they have been. You too can feel the softness of that centuries old parchment as it easily wipes away all that inconvenient crud. Watch as the paper flushes down the s-bend, just like all those rights you thought you had! Buy Constitution TP today! It may just be your last chance to see it in use!"

Here's an idea. (3, Funny)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948046)

The government should just send someone to sit in the lobby of Google where they show everyone's search requests on a giant ticker.

Just a REMINDER! ..WAKE UP!! (4, Insightful)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948119)

I wrote a story about this late January. Let me quote myself to remind ya'all of some important insights into this story:

"While Google is reacting to the government request by refusing and resisting, other "leading search engines" seem less eager to protect their users right to privacy.

It should be pointed out that:

* Yahoo,
* Microsoft and
* America Online

have all turned records over to The Bush administration."

Be very aware of this. Google is the only search engine who put up a fight on this issue! The other "leading" search engines willingly, without question, handed over all information asked for. Google in their glory avoided giving out information, the rest didn't even put up a fight. Your Google searches may be protected - for now - but the rest of your searches are now "safe" in the hands of the US Justice Department.

Child Pornography is the symptom (1, Interesting)

Francisco_G (676828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948120)

Attack the disease.

Herring (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14948144)

I like herring.... even Doj Red Herring.
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