Google Resists Fed Subpoena In Child-Porn Probe

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The Justice Department has subpoenaed four major Internet companies for information on what people search for on the Web as part of an eight-year battle over a federal law designed to shield children from online pornography, the Washington Post reports. In a story first reported by the San Jose Mercury News, three of the companies responded to some degree, but Google Inc. resisted the demand. Privacy advocates said the subpoenas raised concerns about the government’s ability to track what ordinary people view on the Internet.

Americans have turned to the Web in growing numbers to view pornography. One industry publication says $2.5 billion was spent on online adult entertainment last year. The government asked Google to turn over every query typed into its search engine over the course of one week without providing identifying information about the people who conducted the searches. While privacy experts said the requests appeared to protect the privacy of the millions of people who carry out searches, they said it could set a precedent for more intrusive government demands. “This is the government’s nose under the search engine’s tent. Once we cross this line it will be very difficult to turn back,” said Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/19/AR2006011903331.html

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