"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.
The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.
In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.
A couple of points - first, note that the usual "national security" canard is inapplicable in this instance. The feds aren't looking for al Qaeda operatives, they're looking for dirty pictures and the people who search for them. There is no longer even a pretense that the assault on privacy is limited to extraordinary matters of life and death; this government simply believes that it is entitled to invade its citizens' private lives as a matter of course.
Second, I hadn't noticed this passage from the story cited above until I saw it highlighted at The Next Hurrah:
The government indicated that other, unspecified search engines have agreed to release the information, but not Google.
So, kudos to Google for doing the right thing, and a plague of server crashes upon the "unspecified search engines" (rhymes with "Yahoo"?) that are complicit in this shameful fishing expedition.