Google refuses to turn over search data to DOJ

[JURIST] Google, Inc. [corporate website] formally rejected a subpoena [PDF text; JURIST report] from the US Department of Justice [official website] for search data on Friday, arguing [Google response, PDF] that the subpoena violated the privacy of Google customers and its own trade secrets. Google also asserted that the government’s demand to disclose Google’s web searches was impractical, as the searches change on a daily basis and it would require at least a week for Google’s engineers to design a script to comply with the demand. The Bush administration seeks to force Google and other internet search engines to turn over web search data in an effort to support its defense of the Child Online Protection Act [text]. Rival companies Microsoft Corp. [corporate website] and Yahoo! Inc. [corporate website] have already complied with the government’s demands. The hearing on the DOJ’s motion to force Google to hand over its search data is scheduled to begin March 13 in San Jose.

Google’s resistance contrasts with a deal Google and other internet companies made with the Chinese government to censor some searches on a new site in China that contain certain political and religious content that the Chinese government views as harmful. The move has drawn sharp criticism [JURIST report] from members of US Congress, who condemned it as “enabling dictatorship” for the “sake of profits.” Though the censorship remains, China continues to broaden the scope of its censorship laws [AP report]. Reuters has more.

 

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