Google and DOJ back in court today

Nine o'clock sharp...

Google and the US government go back to court today to decide if the search giant should hand over records of user searches.

The Justice Department asked Google in January to hand over a week's worth of searches. Google refused saying the demand was unreasonable and not likely to provide useful information. The government is seeking the information to strengthen laws designed to protect children from viewing unsuitable content online.

But Google is fighting the demand because it believes the privacy of its US users should be protected and because it fears commercially sensitive information could be released. The Justice Department insists the information it seeks would not identify individual browsers.

AOL, MSN and Yahoo! all handed over the information requested by the Bush government.

The case has raised fears about government interference in web browsing but also highlighted Google's different international attitudes to such interference - Google worked with the Chinese government to create a censored version of its search engine which Beijing was happy with.

More on the SJ Mercury here.

The two sides will appear before Judge James Ware of the US District Court, Northern District of California. More here.®

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