TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Google Loses Court Case -- Mostly

Google Loses Court Case -- Mostly

Catherine Elsworth (
Tue, 14 Mar 2006 20:42:21 -0600

Judge tells Google it must hand over data
By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles

Google will have to hand over details of users' internet searches to
the United States government after a judge said the company must
comply with a federal investigation.

After hearing arguments in a key battle over internet data privacy,
the judge said he was inclined to force the company to hand over at
least some of the records sought by the justice department.

The court clash followed the company's refusal to obey a subpoena
demanding data on every search conducted on Google's site during a
one-week period.

The government argued the information was vital for its bid to restore
laws protecting children from online pornography that were struck down
by the US Supreme Court.

Google refused, arguing that as well as jeopardising the privacy
rights of internet users, the company's trade secrets were at risk
because the government was seeking technical information to sort the
research data.

Tuesday the US government scaled back the amount of data on Google's
searches it sought.

James Ware, US District Court Judge for northern California, said the
case was in essence about the government seeking the search data to
test child-safe content filters and though "reticent" to decide on the
relevance of the request, was inclined to give the government "some
relief", but "not everything, no fishing allowed; a much smaller sample."

The judge did not say whether the data would include words that users
enter into the search engine.

Copyright 2006

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