From the Associated Press, “A federal judge said Tuesday he intends to require Google Inc. to turn over some information to the Department of Justice in its quest to revive a law making it harder for children to see online pornography.” This ruling comes after Google initially resisted a subpoena to turn over any information because of user privacy and trade secret concerns.
The Press reports that a lawyer for the Justice Department told Ware that the government would like to have a random selection of 50,000 Web addresses and 5,000 random search requests from Google, a small fraction of the millions the government originally sought.
University of Connecticut law professor Paul Schiff Berman, who specializes in Internet law, was quoted as saying, “Although the Justice Department said it doesn’t want any personal information now, the victory would likely encourage far more invasive requests in the future. The erosion of privacy tends to happen incrementally. While no one intrusion may seem that big, over the course of the next decade or two, you might end up in a place as a society where you never thought you would be.”
Regarding the significantly smaller amount of data that the government has settled for, search engine expert Danny Sullivan, who was also originally interviewed by ABC’s Nightline in lieu of the story, made the following comment:
“Geez, if that’s all you need, guess it’s confirmed you went overkill on the first request, eh? And what a nice spend of taxpayers money to contest this. I can think of better ways to get 5,000 random URLs out of the Google index and 5,000 search requests from other sources.”