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Judge May Force Google to Submit to Feds 418

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the lubricious-embankment dept.
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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Judge May Force Google to Submit to Feds

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  • by Tweekster (949766) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:08PM (#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:Reluctance? (Score:5, Informative)

    by conJunk (779958) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:32PM (#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

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:42PM (#14920440) Homepage Journal
    Where nothing is considered private and personal.

    Live your life accordingly.
  • Re:Reluctance? (Score:4, Informative)

    by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:44PM (#14920457) Homepage
    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).
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:01PM (#14920574) Homepage
    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.

  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:09PM (#14920965) Journal
    they are not looking for people searching for porn. the investigation is how often SFW search tems give NSFW results....
  • Re:Why is it... (Score:3, Informative)

    by The Cydonian (603441) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:41PM (#14921378) Homepage Journal
    Actually, a more pertinent point here is that Google has refused to maintain any identifiable information from its China-based users; note that Blogspot and Gmail are not operating in China.
  • by ttfkam (37064) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:13PM (#14921493) Homepage Journal
    First, conservative and liberal mean different things in Canada and Europe. To those regions, a conservative is what the US would call a liberal Democrat. A liberal is what the US would call the Green party or a socialist party.

    And before you continue to slam those regions, check out what the US spends on health care versus those countries [huppi.com]. Bear in mind that these stats are from 1991. They are worse now in most areas except paid maternity leave (unless Bush rolled back those improvements too).

    We spend more and get less. Nice.
    Americans spend $5,267 per capita on health care every year, almost two and half times the industrialized world's median of $2,193; the extra spending comes to hundreds of billions of dollars a year. What does that extra spending buy us? Americans have fewer doctors per capita than most Western countries. We go to the doctor less than people in other Western countries. We get admitted to the hospital less frequently than people in other Western countries. We are less satisfied with our health care than our counterparts in other countries. American life expectancy is lower than the Western average. Childhood-immunization rates in the United States are lower than average. Infant-mortality rates are in the nineteenth percentile of industrialized nations. Doctors here perform more high-end medical procedures, such as coronary angioplasties, than in other countries, but most of the wealthier Western countries have more CT scanners than the United States does, and Switzerland, Japan, Austria, and Finland all have more MRI machines per capita. Nor is our system more efficient. The United States spends more than a thousand dollars per capita per year--or close to four hundred billion dollars--on health-care-related paperwork and administration, whereas Canada, for example, spends only about three hundred dollars per capita. And, of course, every other country in the industrialized world insures all its citizens; despite those extra hundreds of billions of dollars we spend each year, we leave forty-five million people without any insurance. A country that displays an almost ruthless commitment to efficiency and performance in every aspect of its economy--a country that switched to Japanese cars the moment they were more reliable, and to Chinese T-shirts the moment they were five cents cheaper--has loyally stuck with a health-care system that leaves its citizenry pulling out their teeth with pliers.
    ...
    The issue about what to do with the health-care system is sometimes presented as a technical argument about the merits of one kind of coverage over another or as an ideological argument about socialized versus private medicine. It is, instead, about a few very simple questions. Do you think that this kind of redistribution of risk is a good idea? Do you think that people whose genes predispose them to depression or cancer, or whose poverty complicates asthma or diabetes, or who get hit by a drunk driver, or who have to keep their mouths closed because their teeth are rotting ought to bear a greater share of the costs of their health care than those of us who are lucky enough to escape such misfortunes? In the rest of the industrialized world, it is assumed that the more equally and widely the burdens of illness are shared, the better off the population as a whole is likely to be. The reason the United States has forty-five million people without coverage is that its health-care policy is in the hands of people who disagree, and who regard health insurance not as the solution but as the problem.

      - Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker [newyorker.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:26AM (#14922262)
    "To those regions, a conservative is what the US would call a liberal Democrat. A liberal is what the US would call the Green party or a socialist party."

    Actually, outside of the US, they still think of liberals as being small government people, more like what American libertarians are. Your comparison would have worked better if you'd used the terms right/left, which carry better. Conservatives refer to people trying to maintain the status quo: the socialists.

    The basic point is sound. Bill Clinton would have been considered right of center (or centre) in most countries. However, your use of the American terms to categorize non-Americans left me re-reading your post several times trying to figure out what you were trying to say.
  • Clear head, anyone?? (Score:2, Informative)

    by agentcdog (885108) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:05AM (#14922543)
    OK... Let's get FACTS:
    1. THIS IS NOT A WARRANT!!!!!!
    It's a subpoena... there's a BIG difference. No one thinks Google committed a crime and the feds aren't feeding them a warrant.
    So Why a subpoena..? cause the feds want to SPY on us?
    Short answer: no.
    Long answer: There is a case being heard (which the feds don't want and didn't initiate) about the legitimacy of their law. Their case is based on the idea that their law is necessary because less intrusive means do not work. In order to PROVE this, they need evidence, which the big search engines have; thus the subpoena.

    2. As has been stated, this is about the availability of porn to minors. They say they are targeting people making pornography available.

    3. There is no personal privacy being infringed upon here. There may be a "collective" privacy, i.e. what we as a whole are doing/searching for, but there is no information about YOU being requested. There may be concerns about Google's rights as a corporation, but this is a subpoena, and they DO have information that may be useful for the case.

    I personally think this is a bad idea, but not because GW is some fascist freak. I think it is impractical. We have much more pressing battles in terms of liberties, and it's good to see people care... but for goodness sakes PLEASE don't get all irrational about it, or we will end up like the French revolution or McCarthyism, just doing people in by association.

    p.s. I think the real legal question here is whether you can use a subpoena for this kind of situation. I think the answer is no, but I would like to see Google offer the information up. I know there's a possibility that the government will say "hey who searched for that," but there are clear protections for that (see 1st amendment). I am not a lawyer, maybe the goverment subpoenas businesses often for data mining... maybe not... anyone know whether this happens?

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