Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Go Ahead. Run. And While You're at It, Explain These Google Records to Tipper 

Via our indefatigable colleague Susie Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla: In the wake of the NSA revelations, you will hardly be surprised by a new report that the Bush admininstration is attempting to subpoena Google's search records. You may, however, be shocked to learn that in this instance, and this instance only, the government snoops have decided to give their standard pretext, National Security, a brief rest. No, this time around, the DoJ claims, they're invading your privacy in hopes of rehabilitating an eight-year-old law that's already been declared unconstitutional. And in order to make their case they have to know exactly how often little Billy types "mature anal grannies jizzed internally" (Welcome, new visitors!) or "busty coed gagging on massive cock" (Welcome, new visitors!) in the "I'm feeling lucky" box:
The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.

The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for one million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.

The Mountain View-based search engine opposes releasing the information on a variety of grounds, saying it would violate the privacy rights of its users and reveal company trade secrets, according to court documents . . . .

[G]overnment lawyers said in court papers they are developing a defense of the 1998 law based on the argument that it is far more effective than software filters in protecting children from porn. To back that claim, the government has subpoenaed search engines to develop a factual record of how often Web users encounter online porn and how Web searches turn up material they say is ``harmful to minors.''

The government indicated that other, unspecified search engines have agreed to release the information, but not Google.
No word yet on how the DoJ plans to ascertain which Google porn searches were typed in by minors as opposed to, say, John Ashcroft.

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