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Feds Requesting Google Search Records

   
5:32 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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[mercurynews.com...]

Surprised I haven't seen this on here yet. Implications loom large.

7:20 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yup - just saw this on the AP [news.yahoo.com]

It's strange b/c it is not for any specific criminal case. Also were any other SEs subpoenaed or was it just Google?

Interesting part here:

Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government's efforts "vigorously."

"Google is not a party to this lawsuit, and the demand for the information is overreaching," Wong said.

8:06 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)



>> Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government's efforts "vigorously."

Hey Nicole, how about NOT keeping the info forever to begin with? If you don't have it, they can't ask for it. It is just a matter of time before Google is forced to reveal searches

8:16 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for... records of all Google searches from any one-week period.

If Google released one weeks worth of Google queries for use in a court of law, then wouldn't it eventually become public record?

That's an important amount of data.

8:23 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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> was it just Google?

ZDNet links to the court documents and says that other SEs, including AOL, MSN and Yahoo, complied voluntarily.

[news.zdnet.com...]

8:34 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks RonPK
8:46 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)



"Sherwin Siy, staff counsel at the privacy rights advocacy organization Electronic Privacy Information Center, praised Google for fighting the administration's request. However, he said there would not even be an issue if the search engine hadn't collected the information and made it aggregatable in the first place."

[news.zdnet.com...]
bears repeating

8:53 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Incredibly disturbing - and certainly just a salvo to pave the way for DCS1000/Echelon type surveillance devices to be installed in all US-based server farms.
9:12 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I knew this had to of been posted somewhere already. Cnet/News.com just put out an article as well

*edit* heh, just noticed you posted zdnet... same article, different branch of Cnet :)

10:26 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google should do its analytics and throw away the data nightly.
6:42 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



FYI Additional discussion in the supporters forum. [webmasterworld.com]
6:44 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone know if the feds are requesting both search result data AND *specific IP addresses related to each search*? I could easily see releasing search results without IP addresses.
6:45 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Good for Google. The Government does not own this information, Google does. Why should Google have to hand it over?

It looks like Yahoo and others bent over without a fight. I'm glad Google took a stand, regardless of the eventual outcome.

7:05 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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As I said in the supporters forum I am happy that Google apposed this. But what does this mean with the other search engines and their services? Will the goverment soon ask for access to our emails? How far will this go? And as we saw that Yahoo! just gave it right up I am wondering if I need a new email account that I have had since 1998...

I wish I could go more in depth with this but I respect that no politics be discussed in WW.

7:12 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)



after reading the doc ( [i.i.com.com...] ), I noticed that
DOJ wants the searches "absent any information identifying the person who entered such query."

Not really a privacy issue, however the precendent is scary. The next order might require search strings and all the info for the searcher.

7:15 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google isn't doing anything but getting free pr from this. They're not pushing people to take a stand for digital rights, they're not making any public statement of values or standing for principals. They're just playing a game and using the free publicity to get some press time.

the simple fact is google collects this info, uses it for however they feel and personally i'm more comfortable with someone elected getting this than some black box corporation holding on to it.

but then again, i despise our current administration so screw them all. The problem isn't our government asking for data its the people running our government using the data to push an agenda rather than solve a pressing issue.

"oh, iraq is going bad, osama is back so lets focus on some kid porn law for those 'family values'" and google is going "screw this, we have an upper hand, lets play the game and look good but actually not take a stand and ride the wave and people will forget about this tomorrow"

way to blow it google.

7:22 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Will the goverment soon ask for access to our emails?

If you are a US citizen, this has already been put in place:

[en.wikipedia.org...]

7:26 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



When I heard G was keeping a lot of info on people and their surfing habits, I thought well why not.

Now I have my answer.

How naive can you be?

7:29 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It seems Yahoo, AOL and MSN got a similar request and delivered the data.

[marketingvox.com...]

7:35 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)



"A Yahoo spokesperson said it provided data that company executives believed did not violate Yahoo's privacy guidelines. An AOL spokesperson said it provided a "generic list of aggregate and anonymous search terms." A Microsoft representative, too, said it gave search-term data but not information about the customers doing the searches."

link on the post above mine.

7:41 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yeah I read the same thing here . [infowars.com ]
The motives are good, but where do you draw the line, the USA government is poking there noses in everywhere. Next thing you know they will be hooked up to the CIA database and scanning every search and recording IPs. You will probably get a instant fine in the mail or a Knock on the door if your search is not politcally correct.
7:52 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"absent any information identifying the person who entered such query."

Thank you. There are no privacy concerns here. Google is making a business decision, not a privacy decision. I wish these morons in the media would stop making this into something that it's not.

7:56 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)



Interent Yogi,
if you read my previous comments, you'll understand that I'm no fan of tracking, I just think that Google is using this for good PR. See message #3 for what I think the real issue is.
8:02 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just another invasion by the gov't. Pretty soon you won't have any privacy. Another good article here: [commondreams.org...]
8:13 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Walkman

I have to agree . Be very carefull what you leave online.

8:15 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



It's all good and well that they asked for just searches and terms, but what exactly does that prove to the Gov. about the children viewing porn? It doesn't give specific filter information or IP address, so they couldn't know if the parents are infact filtering anything or if Google, MSN, Yahoo, Aol are filtering anything or even if the school itself is filtering anything. And more importantly, it doesn't even give information on if the person doing the searches resides within the United States in the first place!

So, what purpose does this information serve to the Government except for the lobbyists? It's all about precedence, and that's scary.

8:35 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>There are no privacy concerns here.

I disagree - over half the queries entered into searchh engines are unique. Some of these will have identifying info. Just because most of them won't doesn't mean there aren't privacy concerns. I have typed in detailed queries before that I would not want anyone to see. I don't care that they probably don't trace back to me.

Lots of people google themselves - and add on other queries to narrow down the pages.

Even if 99% of people don't care if the gov't has this info - I do - and so do others. The governement has no legitimate need for the info. They do not need it to try and prove their case - which every court that has heard it has said will not likely prevail onb the merits.

8:37 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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They will want the Webmaster World Sticky mails next.
8:46 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I asked this question on a different thread, but wanted to ask again, but a little differently.

Lets say that Google ends up having to provide the information, there is a chance they will. A year goes by and the US government decides to use that instance as the groundwork to obtain random information from search engines. Maybe some IP addresses, or some other identifiable means of information.

Google is a US based company, but the information they collect is world wide. Would this not be a possible infringement of privacy laws in other countries? Countries like China, UK, Russia, and so on.

At a glance, this could be more of an international thing in the long run because if the US Government is the only nation to have access to it, then other countries will flip out.

So, I am going to put my tin foil hat on for just one second and take it right back off, i promise.

If that is the case, and it could very well be, would it be a fair assumption to say that there is a chance that more than the US would have a vested interest in this so they may possibly be able to gather private information as well?

Mabey that is one of the reasons that the UN wants to become more involved with the internet?

Ok, the tinfoil is giving me a headache. It's off.

8:54 pm on Jan 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>>Google is a US based company, but the information they collect is world wide. Would this not be a possible infringement of privacy laws in other countries? Countries like China, UK, Russia, and so on.

While I am pretty sure the answer would be no about China and Russia - the UK and EU could be a different story.

This can be tricky and sometimes SEs run against similar situations with conflicts in laws.

Google will follow what the courts tell them If a US court orders them to hand over the data - there is nothing they can do except appeal it - and then assuming they lose - then they will have to hand over the data.

I find it hard to believe any law in another country would hold Google liable for something that is beyond their control.

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