Feeds

Watchdog sues US Justice Department over Google chatter

When privacy czars defect

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

The Electronic Frontier Foundation thinks it's mighty suspicious that Jayne Horvath left the US Department of Justice for a privacy gig at Google.

On Tuesday, the net-minded public watchdog filed suit (PDF) against the DoJ, demanding records of conversations that took place between Horvath and Google before she defected to the world's largest search engine.

In a press release trumpeting the suit, the EFF points out that Horvath was named the DoJ's first chief privacy and civil liberties officer back in February 2006 - just as the department was pressing Google to turn over a whole week's worth of its web search traffic.

Hoping to gather support for an anti-net-porn law, the DoJ had slapped a subpoena on the search giant. But according to the EFF, the department eventually softened its demands, and Horvath later badmouthed this subpoena. In the end, Google turned over records for a mere 5,000 random searches.

Then, in August 2007, the EFF says, Horvath joined Google as its senior privacy counsel. As she was preparing to change jobs, the watchdog made an initial play for chatter between Horvath and Google, tossing the DoJ a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). But more than six months have passed since that request, and the feds have not responded.

"Google has an unprecedented ability to collect and retain very personal information about millions of Americans, and the DOJ and other law enforcement agencies have developed a huge appetite for that information," says a canned statement from EFF senior counsel David Sobel. "We want to know what discussions DOJ's top privacy lawyer had with Google before leaving her government position to join the company."

What does the EFF hope to find in these discussions? We have no idea. We're not even sure the EFF knows. But our interest is certainly piqued. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.