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Judge says no to search query data, yes to URL list
Green2K




msg:1232218
 2:54 am on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good news for Google, I think this is the very best they could have hoped for.

Makes Yahoo and MSN look bad.

[cbs5.com...]

[edited by: tedster at 3:18 am (utc) on Mar. 18, 2006]
[edit reason] switch link [/edit]

 

gregbo




msg:1232219
 5:14 am on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

With all the bad press they've had lately, they needed to do something to maintain people's confidence in them.

engine




msg:1232220
 6:16 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

More on this story.

As expected, a US Judge has ordered search engine Google to hand over a random 50,000 URLs in its database to the Department of Justice. However, Google managed to scale down the original request and Judge Wade has also ordered that any request by the Government to disclose the search queries of any users would be denied.

[pcpro.co.uk...]

rogerd




msg:1232221
 7:25 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

It will be interesting to see if the government appeals this, or whether they would prefer to wait for a situation where the need was more compelling (and the odds of victory greater).

delphian




msg:1232222
 7:52 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

rogerd is correct. The goverment would be foolish to respond at this time with an apeal. Far better to wait until there is a high profile case, and certain public outcry, to take any further legal action. The piles of data they got from the other engines will be enough for now.

rehabguy




msg:1232223
 8:24 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Can't the DOJ just purchase this info from Word Tracker?

Liane




msg:1232224
 8:59 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

That is excellent news and good for Google for sticking to their guns on this one. Its a shame they didn't do the same in China. :(

The judge allowed the government to preserve a small modicum of dignity while still giving them next to nothing. Well done!

Let's hope they find other (less damaging) ways to go after the scum bags of the world! The government does not have to run rough shod over civil rights in order to accomplish their goals ... legally!

Shame on MSN and Yahoo for caving to the pressures.

rohitj




msg:1232225
 9:07 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

this is hardly nothing--its only the start. the government may have only gotten a little now but they'll keep pushing. how's that expression go? if you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk...

Liane




msg:1232226
 9:22 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

You may be right, but I somehow don't think so. I think the government will back off as the PR damage they have sustained already is quite sufficient.

I see this as a win for Google and for civil rights. The government did not get nearly what they had demanded. At some point in time, the people and corporations have to put the government back in its place and insist they respect, protect and uphold the bill of rights.

Amendment IV

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.


Conard




msg:1232227
 9:35 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

All of those points are quickly overridden with the patriot act.
I think they are just looking for a better request that will enable a foot in the door. Then the precedent will be set and your privacy will be no more.

NoLimits




msg:1232228
 9:50 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm tired of government corruption. Are there any politicians left without some kind of monetary scheme, or hidden agenda.

I'm seriously considering moving to another country to live the duration of my years out. I fear that things will continue to spiral out of control (as they are now) until civil war is the only option.

I'd love to stick around and all... but Switzerland is sounding mighty nice from where I sit currently.

walkman




msg:1232229
 10:53 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> With all the bad press they've had lately, they needed to do something to maintain people's confidence in them.

...until the next case, where they will be a real criminal investigation, and Google will be forced to hand out all your searches stored. It's just a matter of time

G_Smitty




msg:1232230
 11:13 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Switzerland is without corruption? Is it the land of opportunity?

rohitj




msg:1232231
 3:58 am on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

as for the bad pr argument, short of the webmaster realm no one really understands the technical jargon nor is the mass likely aware of the ongoing efforts to collect info from the major search engines. the pr damages could be undone in a few short speeches and a couple of statements...

Receptional




msg:1232232
 9:12 am on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

50,000 URLs is nothing... except the principal. This decision makes little or no sense to me. Surely it was the principal that Google objected to, not catching child porn users. Now the principal has been undermined, but the bad guys ain't gonna get caught.

Sometimes legal systems drive me nuts.

also, from engine's link:
According to Dr Philip B. Stark, a California Professor who is acting on behalf of the DoJ, over a quarter of Internet searches are for pornography.

This would imply that the porn industry is by far the largest industry in the world. Imagine a quarter of the world's active web population looking at porn at any one time. It just is outrageous that a claim like that can be made by a man with a doctorate and be taken seriously in a court of law. If I was the judge I'd throw the DOJ's claims out on that alone... 50,000 consequetive URLS would probably demonstrate that this is ludicrous.

I don't think it is good for Google (or - more importantly - not good for personal freedom) when looking below the surface. Yes, they thwarted the DOJ, but no, they didn't win the case.

Better would be a well thought out law working out the circumstances, the means and the limitations by which the state might be allowed to make use of corporate IP. Controlling and taming multinationals is becoming legitimate territory for state intevention in my book, but the true agenda should be as clear as day from the start and the data and the ruling should not be transferrable to the next legal case in line due, otherwise the competitor strategy would be to use Washington to make the ruling on child pron, and then that ruling is next made on (say) a list of everyone that has bought pepsi over coke on the premace that there may be side affects of one or the other and this needs testing.

activeco




msg:1232233
 9:23 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

This would imply that the porn industry is by far the largest industry in the world. Imagine a quarter of the world's active web population looking at porn at any one time. It just is outrageous that a claim like that can be made by a man with a doctorate and be taken seriously in a court of law. If I was the judge I'd throw the DOJ's claims out on that alone...

I just put an unfiltered Wordtracker report into a spreadsheet. I copied all the adult searched terms on a side table, leaving out some personal names which could possibly also be related to porn.
The results?

50.06 % searches were related to porn!

Liane




msg:1232234
 7:45 am on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

activeo ... did you also leave out words like "virgin"?

You know thre are many searches which include that particular word which are NOT porn related including Virgin Mary, Virgin Islands, Virgin Beer, Virgin Textiles, Virgin wool, Virgin this and Virgin that!

You can use all the filters you like but if you aren't careful, you can easily misconstrue the results. That is of course unless you are specifically looking for words which are "ONLY" associated with porn.

Even so, I think your findings are highly suspect ... but I'm willing to check for myself if you are willing to sticky me with the exact tool (URL) you used and the specifics used which resulted in your findings?

activeco




msg:1232235
 12:01 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

OK, I used a few months older set of Wordtracker data: "Top 200 keyword report (last 90 days)".
I have adult filter enabled now (just changed it to off again, but I have to wait for the next report to see all the current searches), so I had to use this one.

I did the calculation again, now with more strict policy:
I used only the de facto porn search terms and DID NOT COUNT dubious terms such as: "#*$!" (could be related to health), "preteen models", "teen girls", "breasts", "nudist", "hot", "sexy", "lingerie", "asian" or even "britney spears nude".
There are more terms excluded, this is just to give you an idea of the policy.

Now, this was related to the top 200 search phrases.
In total there were 12,051,052 searches for those 200 terms in selected search engines, so pretty representative sample.

Out of 200 phrases, there were 76 clear porn terms, which counted for 4,824,545 searches or 40.03%.
23 excluded phrases were worth 1,405,721 additional searches.

Just another proof that we are not what we think of ourselves.

I have sent you a sticky, Lian, about the data used.

[edited by: activeco at 12:08 pm (utc) on Mar. 23, 2006]

activeco




msg:1232236
 12:06 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The auto-corrected "#*$!" word started with "p", ended with "s".
lol

gregbo




msg:1232237
 3:05 am on Mar 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

You know thre are many searches which include that particular word which are NOT porn related including Virgin Mary, Virgin Islands, Virgin Beer, Virgin Textiles, Virgin wool, Virgin this and Virgin that!

A search with no intent to find porn might actually return porn results, which is a reasonable consideration for a well-designed study of search trends (not what we have in this case).

activeco




msg:1232238
 8:09 am on Mar 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

A search with no intent to find porn might actually return porn results, which is a reasonable consideration for a well-designed study of search trends (not what we have in this case).

So, analyzing a filtered list with some accidentally slipped results should be a base for a well designed study?
What parameters should return porn phrases if you don't have intent to find porn?

I was always amazed by people defending their deep convictions, even in an illogical way, no matter how hard evidence you put in front of them.

And I am surely among the last ones who would defend (any) government's anti-privacy action.
In this case I think they even downplayed the numbers in order not to disturb (the very same) public.

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