Thursday, January 26, 2006

Re: [interarchive] Government v. Google?

Christiane Paul on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 9:16 AM -0500 wrote:
>They are gathering enormous amounts of data but don't have a system in place that is capable of processing this information (which doesn't mean that this system won't be developed sooner or later). My guess would be that "an archive of all Internet
>activities" would be a similar data dumpster.
Christiane's argument is supported by a story in today's NYTimes that claims privacy isn't the reason Google resisted the Justice Department's demand after all:

'In its only extended discussion of its reasons for fighting the subpoena, a Google lawyer told the Justice Department in October that complying would be bad for business. "Google objects," the lawyer, Ashok Ramani, wrote, "because to comply with
the request could endanger its crown-jewel trade secrets." '

It would seem that the Bush administration was simply planning a statistical analysis on search data to disprove the effectiveness of anti-porn filters. (They could have saved a lot of trouble and just asked my 8-year-old.) Apparently Internet
companies almost never wear the sort of white hat netizens have been attributing to Google:

'According to a 2004 decision of a federal court in Virginia, America Online alone responds to about 1,000 criminal warrants each month. AOL, Google and other Internet companies also receive subpoenas in divorce, libel, fraud and other types of
civil cases. With limited exceptions, they are required by law to comply....Google tried to notify users so they could object in court before the company turned over information about them. But the law forbids such notification in some criminal

Still, I don't regret the calls I made to my senators yesterday. Even if the Google case isn't quite what it seems, it has made the average citizen a bit more conscious of how the Internet turns her thought patterns into someone else's
assets--whether that someone works for the government or Google.



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