Just An Online Minute... Google Rebuff
For its part, Google is saying "no way" and planning to fight the federal subpoena. In fact, it's already rebuffed the Bush administration's request to examine the data.
The government wants to analyze all requests entered into Google's search engine during a single week which could, for all intents and purposes, cover tens of millions of search queries. The federal government says it doesn't want any data that ties personal information to search requests. Yeah, right. Something smells bad.
The subpoena raises already huge privacy concerns, especially considering recent developments that the White House authorized eavesdropping on civilian communications after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks without obtaining court approvals.
"Search engines now play such an important part in our daily lives that many people probably contact Google more often than they do their own mother," Thomas Burke, a San Francisco attorney who has handled several prominent cases involving privacy issues, told the Associated Press. For sure!
As Wendy Davis wrote in yesterday's Minute: "The government's Google action stems from an effort to revive an anti-pornography law, the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, which the Supreme Court struck down two years ago. The law attempted to ensure that only adults visited porn sites by requiring that visitors register, or use access codes, before gaining entry to such sites."
Of course the Bush administration believes that enforcing the requirements is the only realistic way of preventing minors from accessing online porn. Doesn't the White House have anything better or more important to do? Really. Last I heard, there was a civil war on in Iraq. The U.S. death toll? Something like 2,200.
We look forward to watching from the peanut gallery as the feds try to force Google to open its databases.