Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Judge: Google Must Give Info To Feds - CBS News

Judge: Google Must Give Info To Feds - CBS News:
The government believes the requested information will help bolster its arguments in a pornography case in Pennsylvania.

The case has focused attention on just how much personal information is stored by popular Web sites like Google — and the potential for that data to attract the interest of the government and other parties.

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, said University of Connecticut law professor Paul Schiff Berman, who specializes in Internet law.

'The erosion of privacy tends to happen incrementally,' Berman said. '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.'

Google seized on the case to underscore its commitment to privacy rights and differentiate itself from the Internet's other major search engines — Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and Time Warner Inc.'s America Online. All three say they complied with the Justice Department's request without revealing their users' personal information.
The smell of rotting fish gets stronger and stronger where this case is concerned. Other analysts think the government doesn't need this information to prove their case, and many of them think that the filtering software currently available is adequate to the task. Is this just a preamble to other, more invasive requests? It would be nice to know what's really going on, but don't count on getting to the bottom of it any time soon.

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