January 19, 2006

Feds Demand Masses of Google Log Data

Greetings. A privacy-related story is breaking today that is breathtaking in its potential importance and that involves issues that I've been suggesting for years were likely to eventually cause serious privacy problems.

It's been revealed that the U.S. federal government has demanded that Google turn over vast quantities of search log materials (including all searches for a week!) -- apparently not as part of a specific criminal investigation, but rather in support of renewed efforts to push through the Child Online Protection Act (COPA).

Google is fighting the Feds on this, and I strongly applaud Google's efforts not to turn over such data in this case. Some other unspecified search engines have reportedly already complied with this outrageous fishing expedition by the administration.

A good summary of the situation is in this SiliconBeat entry.

This story brings to the forefront yet again the complex risks associated with the retention of sensitive data -- and what happens when outside entities begin to view it as a treasure trove for their own purposes.

This saga has only begun. Stay tuned.


Posted by Lauren at January 19, 2006 09:26 AM | Permalink
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