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This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 55 ( 1 [2]     
MSN, Yahoo let US Justice Department access its databases as requested

 6:45 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)




 1:22 am on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

What I want to know is what is Dr. Phillip B. Stark's background in.

The cross reference from an NSF form to Berkley suggests his
research centers on data reduction and inference (inverse) problems, primarily in physical science, emphasizing confidence procedures tailored for specific goals, including studying the internal structure of the Sun, earthquake prediction, the Big Bang, geriatric hearing loss, and information retrieval on the web.

Also he has been
consulted in product liability litigation, truth in advertising, equal protection under the law, jury selection, trade secret litigation, employment discrimination litigation, insurance litigation, import restrictions, natural resource legislation, patent litigation, sampling in litigation, wage and hour class actions, the U.S. census, clinical trials, signal processing, geochemistry, IC mask quality control, targeted marketing, water treatment, sampling the web, and oil exploration.

Now... What would you infer from this background? What would the data used for?


 1:33 am on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

anyone who is surprised ;)

BTW the US isn't the only place that has these kind of laws ..


 4:23 am on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think we need to FOIA the yahoo/msn requests ASAP.


 4:45 am on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

Read some of the documents.

Couple of things I noticed:

One, it looks like the other search engines did not protest much .. they probably gave a lot more than what Google negotiated down to (and then still refused, heh)

Two, it looks they are somewhat concerned that the queries themselves may give up identifying information. I guess something like those vanity queries? Not sure how that would work.

Basically, the trade secret concern revolves around the fact that in order to assure their consultant Stark that they are giving up random queries they'd have to tell him how many servers they have, how often they get queried, etc so that he could be confident that he is getting a fully random sample.

It is also interesting to note that Google said "hey you bugged yahoo/msn .. what do you need us for? or, why not go use archive.com like everyone else?"

Interesting stuff.


 5:52 am on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

You can't request then under FOIA with google - you need to so with the goverment - and the will likely use some of the same defenses in cases where corporate records wer at state.

They have to claim the are corporate trade secrets - which right now they are saying the aren't. Whoever wins you can be sure I will file a FOIA request on it

Right now they use - if memeory serve exception 7a under law enforcement exceptions that allows the to refuse doing to an ongoing investigation.

Also not being the person of interest - you have less rights.


 8:51 am on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think they will need the personal info from Google. Lets imagine the feds have hauled someone in for having illegal stuff on their computer. Then have extracted history and cookies from the users system, now all they need to-do is cross match the query and the time and they will have everything they need from a combination of Google data and system data.

Admittedly I don't like the idea of the feds having access to Google data, but if they use it as they claim they will then the only people who have anything to worry about are the people who deserve to have something to worry about.



 3:48 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

searchers remorse

Methinks Webwork coined a term here.


 4:24 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

>the only people who have anything to worry about are the people who deserve to have something to worry abou

I disagree - many people don't want google to have this info.

No one can explain how this will help the Gov't to enforce any law.

Hunderds - if not thousands of innocent Americans have been investigated as terrorists due to the NSA wiretapping thing - and no one has provided any evidence that one of them has been caught doing anything illegal.

Many americans are willing to waive their privacy for the promise of "security". I am not - nor does anyone - even a majority of Americans have the right to waive mine for me.

This case has nothing to do with child molesters. It has nothing to do with finding terrorists.

The govt is CLAIMING they are trying to prove they can force companies to require age verification systems and require a credit card in order for people to view porn. As the supreme court has pointed out - this will not effect Children being able to access porn. CHildren will still be able to access it - as the law will not apply overseas.

Parents need to take responsibility for their children - and not expect the gov't to curtail the freedoms of others in their goals to get rid of porn.

Since this law will have no effect - kids will still be able to access porn - why should the gov't be given this data?!?!?


 5:07 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

Not to mention the fact that the pron industry already runs MLM schemes requireing age verification with sign up via credit card ( "that wont be debited" ) ..the sites that are behind this do it to gather credit card details tied to names and emails ..

Then they spam the account holders with their other offers ( this is touted as one of the largest Aff markets in pron ..pure MLM whatever they call it )..

Lot of credit card fraud gets started this way ..

To be able to do practically what is likely to be eventually proposed the pron sites would have to have all their pages on secure servers ..including the landing page ..which would obviously have to be totally blank or ( red maybe ;)..no pics ..and no text ..( text can be pron too ) ..all to protect the kids from what they can get by surfing to outside USA sites ..

Of course that is totally impractical..and the gov't will no doubt eventually say so ..and that they give up and let the search engines filter as best they can ..

Unless of course the gov't proposes to ..

( and eventually they will try )

Ban the hosting of all pron on US servers ..block access from the US to all sites deemed by search engines type algo's to be pron in other countries servers ..filter the access of US citizens to proxy servers to block kids using these to access foreign pron ..

Later they will block in their opinion blasphemous sites ..non creationist sites .. ( dont want to expose the kids to "unchristian" ideas ) ..sites which treat the subject of aids , abortion , gay rights etc , non god based science etc

Some political systems will be deemed to be more compatible with good christian moral ways of thinking than others ..

Remind you of anywhere ..?

Why not just change the countries name to the PRCMOL ( Politically Righteous Christian Morality Only Land ) and have done with it ..

If they want "only" to see how many "requests for pron" were made ..how is that gonna tell them if an adult or a child made the request , only how many requests..

So the info is either irrelevant ..or they want more than they are saying for now ..or I may be near the mark with the above scenario ..

Outsource the economy ..insource the thought control of the other country in exchange ..:(


 5:44 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

I believe all the engines should have held out. If this information will be used for something to change the internet based off of search results.

They should have had an employee of the state visit one of those keyword spy pages and log what they can and click the links ;)

Furthermore, once the gov has information why not request more info based on the 'illegal' or 'questionable' keywords. If i searched to pirate tv, will they come back to me? Id rather the information not be added to my fbi profile ;) keyword phrase searches for the past month... mmm maybe they are already.... time to wear my tinfoil hat again.

Chris_R... they wont know who made the request HOWEVER all PARENTS SUPERVISE their CHILDREN at ALL times, so why do changes need be made ;)


 5:54 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

These requests are nothing to do with moderating pron - they are about control, pure and simple. Do you think that Senator McCarthy was actually concerned about Communism? Of course not! That was his "Camel's nose" (excellent story, btw) that allowed him to sniff his chance to control people.

Governments love control - they just cannot help themselves.

That is the founding feature on which the USA was built - to escape the suffocating control of the British Government. That is the reason for ID-Cards in the UK - to be able to better control the people.

Stand up for yourselves, Americans! (and perhaps re-read Orwell's 1984 - written just the year before I was born).


 5:56 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

MSN Responds


 6:12 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

One day a Bedouin and his camel were crossing the desert. Night came and the temperature became colder. The man put up his tent, tied the camel to it, and went to sleep.

The temperature became slightly colder and the camel asked the Bedouin if he could just put his nose in the tent to warm up. The man agreed that the camel could just put his nose in, because the tent was small and there was no room for both. So the camel's nose became warm and after a while the temperature went down even more.

The camel asked the man if he could put his front legs in because they were very cold. The Bedouin reluctantly agreed that the camel could put his front legs in. So the camel moved in his front legs and they became warm. After sometime the camel asked the man to allow him to put in his hind legs or else he won't be able to make the journey the next morning with frozen legs. The man agreed and once the camel moved his hind legs in, there was no room for the Bedouin in his own tent.

Thanks lawman, for that story.


 8:17 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

No kidding!

I build virtual weapons for games like SecondLife (a virtual MMO where people can't even be killed) and I regularly search for images of Tanks, Nuclear Missile Launchers, Grenades which I translate into a 3D world ... you name it!

I also happen to be pretty interested in Palestinian / Jewish history (one of the defining issues of our time), so I have done a lot of google searches on those subjects.

Cross reference that and now suddenly I go on a watch list?

Do you really think the president isn't going to be able to justify compelling Google to cough up my IP address?

Lawyers REGULARLY using blackmail techniques to try to get the full story. Legal torture is the oldest trick in the book... look what Starr did to Clinton's buddies when they tried to get people to cough up information on him.

This is a big brother nightmare.


 8:30 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why didn't the government just ask for statistical occurence of pornography related search terms?

Did anyone ever ask that?


 11:19 pm on Jan 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

BTW the US isn't the only place that has these kind of laws ..

Good point, Leosghost. My first thought when I read the news item was that it was just more Patriot Act nonsense in the US. Your post made me ponder whether there are any governments out there that are incapable of the same thing (didn't come up with any, other than perhaps a few Pacific atolls). If there are any, they'd be great places to base search engines.


 9:15 am on Jan 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

How much computing power / storage space would it take for the major search engines to keep the millions/billions of searches done every single day?

We're talking roughly ten years for the three major engines, if they've actually kept all of this data for all of this time.

Sorry, but I don't have the IQ required to compute the total number of searches done over the course of a DECADE....


 9:20 am on Jan 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

If they're really doing this for illegal porn, it would probably take them about 30 seconds to go find it themselves.

They should be going after the companies promoting this stuff (and the companies which knowingly host these sites).

Kill the head, and the body will die...


 1:55 pm on Jan 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Big Brother is going to get what he wants, he almost always does.


 4:07 pm on Jan 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Couldn't the government just capture Google searches as they pass unencrypted between your computer and Google's servers?


 5:07 pm on Jan 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is there something nefarious that Google doesn't want the Gov't
to find out what they are doing


 9:25 pm on Jan 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is there something nefarious that Google doesn't want the Gov't to find out what they are doing

What sort of evil do you envision?

I suspect their motive is more pecuniary than nefarious. Since G wants to be an information repository, it would hate to see the source of that info dry up.


 9:30 pm on Jan 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> Since G wants to be an information repository, it would hate to see the source of that info dry up.

people will start demanding changes from Google once they learn that what they searched for in 2001 is still in their database, and the Government can simply ask for it.


 7:44 am on Jan 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The topic is so complex that it becomes a nonsense!

For example how many man years are you about to spend investigating that Jessica Simpson in a tight pair of denim shorts is indeed a security risk? Fun Job....I Agree....result achieving, I think not!

I personally think she is a huge security risk, as almost all males on the planet would be influenced, butt (lol), in the big picture what is the answer?

In the war on terrorism there is only one winner in the world today......after 30+ years they figured out how to win.....all else should learn the lesson and not try to re-invent the wheel!

After 30+ years of dismal failure the UK Government finally achieved a win on the war on terror! The rest of the World should learn from this.

Pollatics aside, something unique was achieved. To make it political would be a huge mistake for any party!


 5:09 pm on Jan 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

How can Yahoo say they are rigorous defenders of the privacy of their users?

They tattle-tailed on a Yahoo user in China for sending anti-government emails.

That user is now serving a 10 year jail sentence according to the NY Times.

Of course I understand why Yahoo did it they wanted to maintain a presence in China. But any person or company that would sacrifice its principles in order to preserve economic interests cannot claim to be defenders of privacy. Its just that simple.

The moral of the story is as of today is

Google cares more about the privacy of its users than Yahoo.

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