Searching and Searching

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Jan. 20 2006 6:42 PM

Searching and Searching

The blogosphere is outraged over the government's attempt to obtain search records from Google. Also, bloggers ponder Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest troubles and praise Theo Epstein's return to the Red Sox.

Searching and searching: The Justice Department is trying to force Google to hand over records regarding millions of users' search queries. The government is seeking the information to revive an online pornography law that the Supreme Court struck down two years ago and already has records from Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN.

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The reaction in the blogosphere is largely pro-Google."It feels really strange to be cheering on one of the most powerful corporations in America," writes liberal Jack Ballinger at Blue Collar Politics.

The liberal editor at multi-viewpoint Watch Blog writes: "Why stop at pornography? Search engines could be used to ferret out little tidbits with which to attack critics of the administration, dissidents of the Iraq war or just plain Democrats. … Three cheers for Google. I hope they keep resisting."

As Blue Collar and other bloggers point out, Google's motives in resisting the subpoena aren't entirely altruistic. Trade secrets are also at stake.

"Reading through the materials more carefully," observes the tech veteran behind Epigonic, "it would seem Google's resistance is less predicated on principle and more on protection of proprietary information for competitive reasons. (Oops, I should have had my cyncicism barometer dialed up)."

Indeed, Chris Nolan of group blog Spot-On finds a lesson here: Don't trust your privacy to corporate America. "One of the reasons I have steadfastly refused to use Google's GMail," she writes, "is because I don't trust that corporation - or any other - to maintain my privacy. When you're in the business of keeping secrets and not telling people where or how you get information, having private email is a good, good thing."

Not surprisingly, libertarian bloggers are unhappy. "Trying to stop the trafficking of kiddie porn doesn't bother me," writes Jonathan Leffingwell on Crush Liberalism. "However, scouring the search records of millions of people to do it is where I draw the line."

Read more about the Google subpoena here.

More Terminator turmoil: California Republican activists, disappointed with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in general and with his new Democratic chief of staff in particular, will try to strip him of the party's endorsement for re-election unless he fires that controversial appointee, Susan Kennedy.

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