Feeds

Watchdog sues US Justice Department over Google chatter

When privacy czars defect

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.