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US gov demands Google search records

Fishing expedition

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The US Department of Justice has taken Google to court, demanding it hand over all searches made in a one week period. It's a fishing expedition, unconnected with any ongoing criminal prosecution. The DOJ wants the information to back up its attempt to revive an anti-pornography law derailed by the Supreme Court two years ago.

The subpoena was issued last year, and Google refused the request - but we only learn of the case week, via a San Jose Mercury News report. The DoJ has now ordered a Federal Judge to force Google to comply.

It's a step too far even for a company with a fast and loose attitude to privacy.

"Google is not a party to this lawsuit, and the demand for the information is overreaching,'' Google counsel Nicola Wong told the Merc.

Google sets its cookies to expire in 2038, and launched products and services which make that cookie personally identifiable with a user, such as GMail, and a "personalized" search page.

"We are moving to a Google that knows more about you," Google CEO Eric Schmidt promised last year.

If, as looks likely, the DoJ succeeds, then surfers worldwide will have a US Attorney General who knows a lot more about you, too. ®

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