Everyone is out to get Google these days it seems. Privacy doesn’t seem to be worth a damn in the new American century where Total Information Awareness is once again on the table.
Bloomberg – Google Inc., the most-used Internet search engine, was sued by the Justice Department after it refused to turn over information that may help the government monitor sexually explicit material on the Web.
A motion to compel compliance with a subpoena, filed yesterday in federal court in San Jose, California, said the government seeks the data to enforce the Child Online Protection Act, designed to protect minors from pornography. A challenge to the law is being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Justice Department said it asked for all Google queries for a week and for 1 million Internet addresses in the company’s database. According to the lawsuit, other search engines have complied with similar requests, “and have not reported that they encountered any difficulty or burden in doing so.”
Boing Boing has a better recap of events. As for the Child Online Protection Act being constitutionally sound, the American Civil Liberties Union didn’t think so when they sued to block enforcement a few years back. Google argues that handing over the data would (A) reveal trade secrets and (B) disclose personally identifiable information about its users. The flimsy excuses by the government don’t do much to calm anyone though. A few other search engines did comply, but were able to keep it quiet until Google put up a fight. The problem is that this unprecedented turn of events opens up for a veritable Total Information Awareness program that could very well be on a slippery slope that would demand user information linked to say IP in the near future. Once Google et al have committed this original sin, they would be much easier to control. Especially so had the existence of this program not been leaked by Google’s untimely resistance.