I wasn’t planning on talking about this situation here but since LAist pointed out that Yahoo! has a Santa Monica office and it’s therefor a local topic I’ll throw in my two cents as well. In case you missed this, this DoJ demanded that several search engines turn over all kinds of data. Of those asked, Yahoo!, AOL (they are not saying they didn’t), and MSN handed over what was asked, but Google has refused. At LAist, they making the case that “…the good guy seems to be the Googlers, who are trying to protect users’ privacy. ”
While that makes a great story, it’s not entirely the case. It’s been a long time since Google has been know for being very open about, welll, anything. In fact they are pretty closed lipped about just about everything. So just because someone different is asking the questions, them not being answered by Google isn’t a shocker. However, I think I agree with John Battelle on this one, in that Google isn’t really fighting for our privacy as much as protecting their data. John writes:
“Remember this whole goat rodeo (on the size of indexes)? Remember how slippery both Yahoo and Google got when we tried to figure out exactly how many documents were in their indexes? Well, turns out, that’s pretty much what the DOJ is trying to do as well. Hence, Google’s defense on a “trade secrets” basis.
Apparently, the subpoena originally asked for a lot more than just a million addresses, as reported Thursday. From the motion the DOJ filed to force Google to comply with the subpoena:
“The subpoena asks Google to produce an electronic file containing ‘[a]ll URL’s that rea available to be located through a query on your company’s search engine as of July 31 2005.”
“all queries that have been entered on your company’ search engine between June 1, 2005 and July 31, 2005.”
HELLO. You think Google is going to give that over? Me no think so.”
Google is looking out for #1, like they always do. And I’m glad they are, but I’m guessing they are going to have to turn over something soon. The DoJ is just losing their collective shit because, gasp, people are searching for porn on the internets – because that is what this is all about. They are trying to start some giant war on porn, so they want all this data to show what people are looking for, they try to pair that with who is using the internet when and come to some funky math justification that kids are looking up porn as a reason to start censoring the web. Which is going to be a party.
The fact is we as American’s OK’d the spending of 3x as much cash on investingating if the previous president got a blowjob in the oval office than we have spent on finding out what really happend on 9/11. When we found out that the current president wiped his ass with the constitution (one more time) by authorizing illegal searches/wiretaps on US Citicizens we let out a collective “Meh” so whatever happens with all of this, we brought it on ourselves by handing these people the keys to the bus. Complaining now about how they are diving is coming off less than sincere.