Google fights off the feds

Internet superpower Google is fighting off a US Dept of Justice attempt to obtain a week’s worth of search terms and visited websites. The DOJ wants the data as part of its defense of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which the US Supreme Court has blocked, citing constitutionality issues. Google’s competitors, like Yahoo, have already rolled over and handed over what the DOJ wants.

Apparently, the DOJ wants to have some evidence that search engines are used to find pornographic sites, presumably by minors. Seems like a no-brainer to me, actually. Google, meanwhile, says divulging the information would reveal trade secrets and weaken its users’ trust in the company.

I say, bully for Google! Someone needs to stand up to Washington’s efforts to whittle away at online privacy and personal first amendment rights. I fail to see how the Google data could possibly support an already questionable law.

To see a news account about the issue from a non-US source, click here.

For a brief review of the COPA controversy, check out Wikipedia.

Author Judith Levine has an interesting take on children and sexuality. Her book, Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from SexHarmful to Minors: the Perils of Protecting Children from Sex is available from amazon.com.
(Click on the book.)

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