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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 ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:03PM (#14920117) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Reluctance? (Score:5, Insightful)

    ...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.
  • 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.
  • sad really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:08PM (#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"

  • by Zarel (900479) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:09PM (#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:Reluctance? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by conJunk (779958) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:10PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:14PM (#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.
  • Blade:Trinity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bodysurf (645983) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:15PM (#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.

  • by Petrushka (815171) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:19PM (#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.

  • by Serveert (102805) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:22PM (#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"?
  • by phoenix.bam! (642635) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:24PM (#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.
  • by necro2607 (771790) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:27PM (#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:Reluctance? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:31PM (#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.

  • by heatdeath (217147) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:31PM (#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.
  • Re:Why is it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by daemones (188271) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:36PM (#14920389) Homepage
    Because oppresive regimes don't have constitutions that (pretend to) limit government power.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:39PM (#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?
  • by shawb (16347) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:42PM (#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.
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:42PM (#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!
  • Re:Why is it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adisakp (705706) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:44PM (#14920456) Journal
    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.
  • by heinousjay (683506) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:44PM (#14920460) Journal
    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.)
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:57PM (#14920547)
    What constitutes terrorism is relative to that which you are afraid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:04PM (#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 :)

  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother&optonline,net> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:16PM (#14920656) Journal

    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."

  • by PetriBORG (518266) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:16PM (#14920657) Homepage
    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.
  • by illspirit (957034) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:16PM (#14920660) Homepage

    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?

  • Re:sad really (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:17PM (#14920663)
    I think in this case Google made our bed, and now we're sleeping in it.
  • We have ALWAYS been at war with the terrorists.

    Yeah but when will they pack and leave the White House? :(
  • Re:Reluctance? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by syukton (256348) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:22PM (#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!
  • by hackstraw (262471) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:22PM (#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.

  • Eh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neurokaotix (892464) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:25PM (#14920715)
    Before anyone spreads anymore misinformation, it's not to stop child pornography. It's to stop children from looking at porn, which, anyone with half a brain can tell you, is impossible because of how the Internet works. There is no identification layer to the 'net. The only way these extremely prude, old ass ignorant senators are going to be able to stop kids from looking at porn (and we all know they don't like porn at all, for anyone anyway) is to simply ban porn sites. Or forbid the viewing of any pornographic material to anyone who hasn't used a credit card to pay for it (this kind of indentifying the person as being at least over 18). The government is out of control. The time to start bearing arms and getting ready for the revolution is now.
  • 1776 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_REAL_sam (670858) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:25PM (#14920723) Journal

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    A FASCIST in power is a tyrant, right?

    The administration's CLAIM is that they want to sort the data to find the child porn downloaders. But all that means is they would like to be able to search in a blanket way, without first meeting the requirements set forth in the bill of rights.

    From Article 4 of the Bill of Rights:
    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    The article spells it out: blanket searches are unconstitutional b/c they do not spell out the particular place to be searched. Just saying "there's got to be SOMETHING on that server that's illegal just isn't good enough.

    On those grounds, conducting blanket evesdropping on server(s) that THEY DON'T OWN is completely unconstitutional; furthermore, there is already a supreme court ruling which says they cannot perform ANY evesdropping on THEIR OWN servers. So they couldn't "work around it" by putting "snoopy routers" at various checkpoints.

  • Well that whole exchange has tons of stupidity and shows none of the participants in a particularly favorable light. OTOH, it demonstrates that you have views that I find so utterly repugnant that I would likely not be able to manage to sit quietly in the same room as you.

    And by referencing it, it seems you want everybody to not only know that tomhudson is a git, but that you hold the opinions and viewpoints you do.

  • Re:Why is it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hackstraw (262471) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:37PM (#14920793)
    Why do oppressive regimes get special treatment?

    Time will tell.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:46PM (#14920843)
    Sadly that party is either out of power, or no longer exists, or is too small.. Since Reagan's time, the Democrats have been the party of fiscal responsibility and minimum regulation in your personal life. The Libertarian party is the only party that ever really wanted less government regulation overall.
  • Re:Reluctance? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Struct (660658) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:48PM (#14920853)
    I'm opposed to it. It's not the federal government's job to make it hard for kids to search for porn on the internet. It's also not their job to make sure kids eat the right food and avoid playing violent video games. And that's coming from a guy who leans left.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:48PM (#14920856)
    Keep modding this up. This is exactly the point.

    I am not sure if I understand the legal difference in this case between subpoenas for a half dozen or so search engines and a subpoenaing 10 million Americans for the same info. This is going to be one hell of a precedent.
  • Its fully open to the public and viewable by all.


    What? What the fuck are you talking about?

    I'm going to do a search on google right now. I'll check back and see if you can tell me what it was.

    HTTP in the clear is potentially viewable by a reasonably determined attacker, but that's a hell of a long way from "fully open to the public and viewable by all."

    Its not like what you transmit to a search engine via the internet is private and secured.


    If it's not private, why is there a privacy policy [google.com] governing it?

    -Peter
  • by nwbvt (768631) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:55PM (#14920900)
    Yeah, but "Google defending privacy against evil government goons" is a nicer soundbite. That way they sound like they care about the rights of their users (unless of course they live in China).
  • Re:Why is it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bombadier_beetle (871107) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:10PM (#14920975)
    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.

    Because rights aren't granted by governments.
  • by flyingsquid (813711) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:33PM (#14921081)
    How much does anyone want to wager that Dubya has never even read the entire text of the Constitution?

    What George W. Bush really needs is a practical lesson in checks and balances: people need to make sure they're registered to vote and then, this fall, go out and vote against the Republican congressional candidates. Even assuming their Democratic replacements aren't any better, losing a few seats will help limit the damage that Bush and the Republicans can do.

    We've had a disastrously planned war, spending increases that make the Democrats look like cheapskates, a massive deficit, an incompetent response to Katrina, a gulag in Cuba, they're chipping away at our civil liberties, and they're destroying the checks and balances that have kept this country running for the past two hundred years. All of this has happened on the Republican party's watch. With complete control of Congress and the White House, the Republican Party has been free to do whatever it pleases, and the result of implementing their ideas has been a disaster for this nation.

    At worst, voting the Republicans out would result in total gridlock, with the government unable to do anything. But that would be a massive improvement over the way the country is currently run.

  • Parking Garage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tilrman (234948) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:33PM (#14921082) Homepage

    Suppose Google owned a parking garage with valet service. It lets people park there for free, with the understanding that you'd receive advertisements on your windshield. The Justice Department steps up and says it that Google should hand over the keys to every car so that the government can check them out, just in case.

    And the judge is "reluctant" to give them what they want because it might somehow give the appearance of Big Brother.

    Thanks for sticking up for us, Your Honor.

  • by Bull999999 (652264) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:56PM (#14921185) Journal
    Even assuming their Democratic replacements aren't any better, losing a few seats will help limit the damage that Bush and the Republicans can do.

    While I'm not fan of the current administration, I don't think that blindingly voting Democrats to spite Republicans. The problem is that there are too many people who expect the government to do everything for them. Take a look at Europe and Canada. People expected the liberals to fix everything for them and when that didn't happen, they started to elect more conservatives. If Democrats gain power in a couple of years, do you really think that the Americans will:

    1. Spend less money on crap that they don't need. Even worse, putting it on a credit card? Current savings rate for the Americans is at -0.4% and it looks like Canadians are headed that way as well.

    2. Eat better and exercise more? While people bitch about health care costs going up, they do nothing to curb it themselves because obesity rate is going up and I'm pretty sure that doesn't help with the medial costs.

    3. Have higher turnout for the Election Day? Kerry was a favorite amongst the younger crowd but unfortunately for him, they proved again that they have the poorest turnout of all age groups. This shows that while the younger crowd bitches loud, they constantly fail to deliver.
  • by killjoe (766577) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:04PM (#14921229)
    A couple of days ago there was a topic about a bill that would criminlize critizing the presidents survaillance program. Many people said something to the effect "this will never get through the courts".

    I invite those people to carefully observe how far backwards the courts can bend to appease the federal govt.
  • by nwbvt (768631) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:04PM (#14921231)
    "What was Google supposed to do, not filter search results and get completely blocked by the Communist Party? "

    YES!!!!

    At least if they really cared about their "Do no evil" policy. Sure, you can argue that the Chinese people are not really missing anything as without this version of the search engine they would not be able to use Google at all, but by obeying the government's demands Google has, for all intents and purposes, given their stamp of approval to Chinese censorship. If they had instead made a big fuss about it, insisting that their service would not be censored, that would certainly raise some eyebrows in China. People would hear about this great search engine that their friends from other parts of the world use, and would want to know why it is that their government has this huge problem with it. This would end up pushing China to enact more democratic reforms. Which would be a good thing.

  • by Punboy (737239) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:20PM (#14921291) Homepage
    Um, Google's presence in China is a good thing and they, being an all-powerful corporate entity in control of a lot of resources, can help pressure China into lessening their crazy web restrictions.

    But, Google has to be ALLOWED in China first.
  • Re:sad really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by raoul666 (870362) <pi.rocks@gm a i l .com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:36PM (#14921355)
    But the thing is, I don't mind google having all that info on me. Not one bit. Because I know all they want it for is to make money. The government, on the other hand, I don't trust one bit, cause their intentions are nowhere near as simple or honest.
  • Data Hosting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:39PM (#14921370)
    So, if I was to create the Next Big Search Engine, which country should I choose to site my servers in order to avoid this sort of nonsense?

    How long will it be before existing companies move their data offshore?

  • Re:my bad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:41PM (#14921380)
    If you ask me, we have become the very thing that people so many years ago tried to escape by getting on a boat in search of a freedom that didnt exist, yet was so desired. To leave behind an overbearing government and to start a new world....not a new world order mind you, but a new world. Oh how fast they would destroy the Mayflower today, and then spread disinformation to the public. Great Job!!!
  • by MrNougat (927651) <ckratsch&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:08PM (#14921477)
    And I'm not talking about Jenny McCarthy, either.

    For five years now, "terrorism" has been the excuse to trample on all sorts of privacy concerns in the US, even though there have not been any terrorist acts perpetrated in the US since WTC, and there's been no hard evidence that intrusion of privacy has prevented anything. One of the major differences, though, is that the rooting out of Communists in the early 1950's started in the State Dept; the rooting out of terrorists today completely skips that and goes right for the citizenry.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:11PM (#14921488) Homepage Journal
    Here [slashdot.org] is the story in question. It's even worse than outlawing criticism, actually; it would outlaw any reporting on the program at all. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that this is the worst challenge free speech in the US has faced since the Sedition Act.
  • by yurnotsoeviltwin (891389) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:12PM (#14921491) Homepage
    There's a big difference: in the US, they had a chance of winning. In China, it was either censor or nothing, and as the other poster here mentioned, it gives Google a foothold in China from which they can attempt to affect some change.
  • by robertjw (728654) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:22PM (#14921528) Homepage
    It's interesting to me how the Federal Government always has to have some big cause to use as an excuse to violate citizen's civil liberties. In the 40's it was nationality with Japanese internments and such. In the 50's it was communism. In the 70's, 80's and 90's it was the 'war on drugs'. Now it's terrorism.

    Too bad that the American public can never seem to tie all of these 'issues' together...
  • by 3fiddy (899339) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @11:41PM (#14921625)
    Will we ever have a president we can feel really good about again?

    Again? When did we have a feel-good president in our lives (or ever?) You're fooling yourself if you think anyone has lived up to that recently. I will grant that dubya is about the worst president I can think of in this nation's history, but I think you'd be hard pressed to convince me we've had a truly decent president in the last 30 years (my life.)

    A big part of the problem is the single-issue voting that the two-party system creates, perpetuates, and feeds off of. But anyway, this is pretty far off topic. So, boooo google for rolling over.
  • by Bull999999 (652264) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:05AM (#14921757) Journal
    So are you saying that the Americans eat poorly and exercise less because of high health care costs? Or are you impling that diet and exercise has no impact on health care costs?

    To those regions, a conservative is what the US would call a liberal Democrat.

    And since when did liberal Democrats wanted to reach out to Bush? Warming relationship with the US is one of their goals.

    We spend more and get less. Nice.

    My wife got an MRI in less than a week so that counts for something. If Canadian healthcare is so perfect, why are private clinics poping up?

    From http://www.canadian-healthcare.org/page6.html [canadian-healthcare.org] The advantage of private clinics is that they typically offer services with reduced wait times compared to the public health care system. For example, obtaining an MRI scan in a hospital could require a waiting period of months, whereas it could be obtained much faster in a private clinic. Why did they pass a law to prevent private clinics? What are they afraid of?

    Under federal law, private clinics are not legally allowed to provide services covered by the Canada Health Act. Regardless of this legal issue, many do offer such services.

    From http://www.mult-sclerosis.org/news/Dec2002/WomanwM SCanadianPrivateClinics.html [mult-sclerosis.org]

    But at the Canada Diagnostic Centre clinic in Halifax, Viscount said public demand for private clinics in Nova Scotia -- where waiting times are weeks rather than months at hospitals -- will remain.

    In her case, the MRI scans of her brain could show telltale fissures and reveal multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable neurological condition that in extreme cases causes blindness and paralysis.

    With early treatment, the disease is easier to combat. That's why patients eager to relieve anxiety will keep paying for private-clinic results, said Viscount.

    "I think it's another option for the public," the woman, in her 20s, said before her test.

    "You have a choice of where you want to eat, where you want to drink. This is the same.


    From http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/01/11 /private-care060111.html [www.cbc.ca]

    But critics say the cost associated with such private clinics is out of reach for most families. Sharon Sholzberg-Gray, president of the Ottawa-based Canadian Healthcare Association, says a family of four could face a $10,000 bill.

    "There's a certain limited client base for that. That is not the way to run a health-care system and that is not going to solve access issues for most Canadians."

    She says the opening of private clinics highlights the government's need to address a shortage of family physicians.


    Combined with dwindling savings and rising healthcare costs, it looks like Canada's on track to becoming a 51st state of USA. No wonder why its citizens are fed up with their government. Do you still think that the grass looks greener on the other side? Oh and bare in mind that the above article was updated January 2006.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:14AM (#14921798)
    "And I think gay marriage is not a guaranteed freedom in the Constitution. "

    Neither is eating ice-cream with a fork, but you are still alloweed to do it.
  • by fuzznutz (789413) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:15AM (#14921810)
    ... For these reasons I am, no... was, pro-Republican.
    I couldn't have said it better myself. As a registered Republican, I intend to vote against all the incumbent Republicans this fall, simply because I fear having no opposition to the President. I cannot believe they didn't call him on the wiretap issue. I cannot believe they renewed the PATRIOT Act.

    I am worried...
  • by zcat_NZ (267672) <zcat@wired.net.nz> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:43AM (#14921937) Homepage
    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.

    And vice-versa.

    When's the last time J. L Webcunt had to had over a bunch (only a few mere terrabytes) of their personal or business data to the Feds for no better reason than because the Feds thought it might be useful to have?

    An actual court case I can understand, if it's relevent, and if the same information can't be obtained by some less obtrusive means. But the Government hardly needs to ask googke to figure out that there's a crapload of pr0n on the web and an approximately equal number of people looking for it.

  • by tolkienfan (892463) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @01:10AM (#14922038) Journal
    Gay marriage and abortion may be important issues - but none that should be the concern of government.

    To choose an administration based on such marginal subjects is to miss the point.

    The two parties agree on more than they disagree on, and use these highly controversial subjects to (incredibly successfully) distract the general public. Ever notice that the public is roughly 50/50 split on most of the issues that were debated the last few elections?

    Ever wonder what WASN'T debated???
  • by ttfkam (37064) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @01:18AM (#14922065) Homepage Journal
    Population of the US: 295,734,134
    Number without any health insurance: ~45,000,000

    With Canada, you speak of the difference between an MRI in a week instead of months.

    With the US, it's the difference between getting an MRI or not at all. (Any stats on how long it takes on average to get an MRI in the US?)

    With Canada, you bring up the anecdotal evidence of one woman with multiple sclerosis.

    With the US, I bring up the statistically sound evidence that the life expectancy of the entire country of Canada per capita is higher than the US, the infant mortality rate is lower than the US, the amount of money spent per capita is less than the US, the death rate is lower than the US (even if you subtract the US's obscenely high murder rate), etc.
    If Canadian healthcare is so perfect, why are private clinics poping up?

    1. I never said that Canadian healthcare was perfect. Go back and review my post Mr. Strawman Argument.
    2. Private clinics are popping up because people are commonly willing to shell out some extra cash -- if they have it -- when sick and usually (with justification) afraid.

    Those with larger disposable incomes will always be more vocal about their right to cut in line on the basis of wealth than those below the poverty line. But rather than pooling their funds to get more physicians in the general workforce, they go for the quick fix that helps far fewer as long as the fewer includes themselves.

    It's like bottled water. With all the money spent on bottled water every year, imagine what it would be like if that same money were spent managing the general water supply and enforcing clean water laws.

    Canadian healthcare is far from perfect. Then again, it's like capitalism: the worst form of economic policy known to man, save all the others. US healthcare falls within the category of "one of the others."
  • by mrraven (129238) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:15AM (#14922235)
    If by "The current [Dems] leadership are a bunch of wild-eyed, press hogging nutballs." you mean ball less wonders who have done NOTHING to oppose Bush's lying us into war and riding roughshod over the constitution I would agree with you. The Dems have a few good eggs like Feingold, McKinney, Conyers, and Kucinich who actually act as opposition to Bush but in the main the Dems DLC leadership like Lieberman are ball less suck ups to the neo-cons and Bush. In fact the Dems actively destroy their best up and coming leaders like Hackett and Cindy Sheehan both of whom were forced to bow out by the Dems leadership. The Daily Show had an excellent look at the ball less wonder quality of Dems on Tuesday night. If you have a good local Dem who stands up for your rights by all means vote for them, but don't expect me too DLC Dems like Lieberman, Hilary Clinton, Schumer, Biden, etc, to change anything other than possible be WORSE prigs about censorship than the heavily distracted Bush and call for a draft in the name of "fairness." Fuck that!
  • by houghi (78078) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:45AM (#14922315)
    Google's presence [...] can help pressure China into lessening their crazy web restrictions

    Google is a company and should stay away from politics. Eiter they comply to what is being done or they stay away. Those are the only options.

    Having companies go in for political reasons is wrong in very many levels.
  • Re:To Arms Men! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fishbowl (7759) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:59AM (#14922347)
    If you set out to incite your armed rebellion, you will quickly discover that the time is *not* now, and that relatively few people have decided that it would be better to die in the opposition of tyranny than to endure it for another day. Most importantly, there is no such issue that is so divisive as to bring large parts of the military, whole chains of command together with the civilian industry, finance, and supply of raw materials, in line with your revolutionary cause. Things simply aren't that bad now. People will choose to live another day, rather than risk their lives in the hope that others may throw off shackles.

  • Re:Reluctance? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WilliamSChips (793741) <full.infinity@gmail.OPENBSDcom minus bsd> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:09AM (#14922953) Journal
    It's impossible to make something only affect children and not adults on the Internet. Because on the Internet, nobody knows you're a child.
  • by TheConfusedOne (442158) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .eno.desufnoc.eht.> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:45AM (#14923028) Journal
    The 4th Ammendment protects against unreasonable search not all unwarranted searches.

    The issue in this case is that the information request in question isn't really a search as it's not being used in a criminal case. Also it is not being used to prosecute anyone and the information, by itself, does not uniquely identify anyone. So this makes the whole issue a lot more complicated than simply slapping down the "4th Ammendment Trump Card(tm)" and walking away from the table.

    Of course this great defender of freedom is also busy making sure Chinese people don't see tanks with their searches. Also, do you think that China allows Google to keep the logs from search request to google.cn private?
  • by keraneuology (760918) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:08AM (#14923078) Journal
    Am I the only person who speculates that perhaps Google shouldn't keep the data in the first place? Yes, I understand the geek mentality that never deleting any files is a good thing, but does Google really need to log every search along with the IP address?
  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:50PM (#14926178) Homepage
    As far as abortion goes, IMO either it has human rights or it doesn't, and if it does that it has them in full and equal to any other human. I'm of the opinion that they don't, but I realize some people do. What I don't understand is the intermediate stages where the fetus has the right to life - except if it is incest or rape or whatever. Either it has, or it hasn't, or you're saying that some right of the mother overrides the most fundamental right there is - the right to life itself. I can't make such "half-human" rights make sense.

    This is such a silly issue. Another Slashdotter made a point I'd never considered, and it closes the issue for me: We already determine when a life ends. Brain death. Most people, medical professionals, etc believe that life ends when brain activity ceases. Hence the term "brain dead". So, why don't we use the same standard to decide when life begins?

    The problem is, this isn't isn't about *fact*. This is about religion. People talk about fetuses having "souls", even though they have no developed brain. But if that's the case, then there's no way we should be allowed to stop resuscitating people who are brain dead because, apparently, brain activity is not the end-all and be-all of life.

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