Thursday, January 19, 2006

Boing Boing: DoJ search requests: Google said no; Yahoo, AOL, MSN yes.:

Earlier today, I asked a Justice Department spokesperson which search engines other than Google received requests to provide search records. The answer: Yahoo, AOL, and MSN were also asked to supply search records information, and all complied. Google did not, and that is why the DoJ asked a federal judge on Wednesday to order the company to do so.

Another fact to consider as you sift through news coverage: Justice is not requesting this data in the course of a criminal investigation, but in order to defend its argument that the Child Online Protection Act is constitutionally sound.

It seems apparent that Google objected to the request not for privacy reasons, but on grounds that the request was too broad and burdensome. Privacy advocates I spoke to today, including attorney Sherwin Siy at EPIC, say while the DoJ's request would not identify individual users, the scope and nature of this request sets a troubling precedent. Today, they argue, only search strings and urls; tomorrow, perhaps, the IP addresses of all users who typed in "Osama Bin Laden."

11:52 PM