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The 18-page brief filed Friday argues that because the
information provided would not identify or be traceable to
specific users, privacy rights would not be violated.
Well, the lawyers are going to be banging away on this one. I guess we'll know more in a couple weeks. A hearing is scheduled in San Jose March 13.
No single government can hope to regulate the net, it would require an international regulatory body.
[edited by: tedster at 11:13 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2006]
Yeah right...if the Feds see a certain search string, they will just let it go and not follow up.
Part of me wants Google to lose the first round, this way more attention is brought to the data retention policies.
When will Big Brother learn that government is meant to be benevolent, represent the people who elected them and above all else ... respect and protect our freedoms and rights.
I despise porn and porn mongers but this is going too far! Next thing you know, they will have cameras installed in every library and every magazine rack in the land.
If your child sticks his finger in a light socket ... who's fault is it? If he sneaks into an "R" rated movie, will the government get involved and prosecute the theater owner who allowed it to happen, the parents who didn't teach their kid properly or the kid himself for being a naughty boy?
Does anyone know precisely what law Google is alleged to be breaking by not providing this information?
The government have requested that Google volunteer the information, which the government (and you, me, or anybody else) has every right to ask. Doesn't mean the government, you or me will actually get it - which is basically what's happened, and now they're trying for the court order to force Google to hand over the information.
Philip B. Stark, a researcher who rejected the privacy concerns....... "The study does not involve examining the queries in more than a cursory way...." Stark, a statistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said.
Maybe Google should just submit his search history....
They have never had the influence and control over the internet that they have the mainstream media. I think they are trying to change that.
Just imagine, as a webmaster, that you had access to the information that the government are requesting. Imagine how useful that information would be to get people to your site.
Targeted pages could be created immediately for commonly entered queries, especially in sectors where there is little or no competition, or poorly optimised pages that appear under those queries.
It will place the government above all webmasters in the world in terms of the power they have to generate internet readership and patronage to their websites.
However, the whole thing is odd because the request for records is not part of an active court case -- how many businesses would turn over sensitive data just for the purpose of exploration?
I can't imagine it, unless perhaps the request was part of a criminal proceeding -- and there is none in this instance. That's what make the whole thing seem more than a bit peculiar.
[edited by: tedster at 11:11 pm (utc) on Feb. 27, 2006]
If you're correct and the USG does move to further regulate the net (perish the thought), it will accomplish nothing more than to push internet business into countries where there is not regulation.
Agreed, on so many levels.
Between the DMCA, and now this move to be allowed access to private SE logs, the US government is moving increasingly in a direction that will simply force more tech companies outside the US.
While I'm not going to go into the DMCA (parts of which I'm very much in favor of), if the USG wins this case, it will send a chill through any major database holder, not just the search engines.
Got a private forum? Then if the USG wins this, they will have the right to access your forum query logs.
Have any kind of search tool to access information on your site? Then the USG will gain the right to access those search logs.
The implications are far reaching. Any internet presence that has an interest in privacy will look at the results of this case closely, and if the USG wins, then I can guarantee that many, many internet hosting providers and websites are simply going to move outside the juristiction of the USG, simply to protect their data.
We live and work in an industry where data is life, and data is our profits. Surrendering our rights to maintain the confidentiality of our data is something that a great many internet corporations will be unable to tolerate.
So, as a Canadian, in a country with much stricter privacy laws that protect us from the over-reaching hand of the government (and private corporations), I would like to extend a hand to GW, and thank him for sending even more business our way.
At the same time, I feel sympathy for the small operators and businesses that are going to be hurt by this in the US. The hosting providers and US based sites and engines that are going to lose business, and money, as operators interested in the privacy of their data begin to slowly move outside the bounds of the US.
Actually, you can be compelled to turn over your data in the U.S., but it will generally take the involvement of a judge who will sign a court order demanding it. (The initial U.S. government request of Google did not have a judicial order.)
And it's not just the government, it can be anyone - if, for example, I find that your server is being used to launch attacks on my web site, I can begin a lawsuit and request that the court make you disclose specific portions of your logs so that the perpetrators can be identified.
The judge has the responsibility of determining that the request is appropriate and reasonable, and not, for example, a fishing expedition or a means of gaining competitive intelligence. And, if you feel the order is inappropriate, you may have your attorneys contest it.
I'm taking this slightly OT, but I am frankly sick and tired of all this whining about 'giving in' to the Chinese government.
No filter is perfect, and I frankly would rather people can get through and see some scraps of info than see nothing at all.
To rely on "scraps" of information leads to the very question of trustability on the internet itself, this essentially boils down to the “garbage in, garbage out” philosophy. If Google's putting Chinese propaganda ahead in the SERPS in the following of Chinese law, then the "scraps" of information are flawed by default. To make the argument that Google is empowering the powerless Chinese individual with an overwhelming wealth of information, the likes of which cannot be 100% accurately censored, is so incredibly flawed, it is laughable at best.
This leads to my point, if Google is going to extreme lengths challenging its “do no evil” mission statement by willingly censoring its results to comply with the Chinese, than Google should honor the United States Government request in offering evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of COPA.
To make the argument that Google is empowering the powerless Chinese individual with an overwhelming wealth of information, the likes of which cannot be 100% accurately censored, is so incredibly flawed, it is laughable at best.
Is any censoring program 100%? Of course not. So lets say even 99.9% is censored. I would rather have 0.1% available than 0%. So laugh all you want, but somehow my logic is making more sense here.
The US govt's bill was already struck down a long time ago, which makes their request even more absurd.