Feeds

Phew! Google saves US netizens from Gov snoops

What's wrong with this headline?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Hurrah! Google has made the internet safe for US citizens! Or at least that was what the company implied late on Friday evening, after a federal judge ruled that the company didn't have to turn over a sample of anonymized search queries to the US Department of Justice, and only needed to provide a sampling of websites it searched.

"This is a clear victory for our users," Google said in a statement.

The DoJ had wanted the anonymized data to bolster its attempt to revive COPA, or the Child Online Protection Act, a 1998 law requiring site owners to restrict content, or access to content. In 2004 the Supreme Court agreed with an appellate court decision that the law violated the First Amendment.

It should be noted that Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo! meekly handed over the data without a fight. But the case was never about protecting the privacy of Google users - as no personal information was requested.

And ominously, the judge explained that there was no reason for Google to hand over the queries because the DoJ already had obtained what it wanted from Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo! who had supplied a week's worth of search queries, and a sample of million websites in their respective indices.

What should put this decision in its proper perspective is explained [subscription required] in this month's issue of article of The Atlantic, where investigative journalist and author James Bamford, whose 1983 book Puzzle Palace documented much of the work of the National Security Agency for the first time.

"Today the NSA has access to more information than ever before," Bamford reminds us.

"People express their most intimate thoughts in emails, send their tax returns over the internet, satisfy their curiosity and desires with Google searches, let their hair down in chat rooms, discuss every event over cell phones, make appointments with their BlackBerrys, and do business at Wi-Fi hot spots."

"NSA personnel ... have the ultimate goal of intercepting and reviewing every syllable and murmur zapping into, out of, or through the United States. They are close to achieving it." ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.