Feeds

Watchdog sues US Justice Department over Google chatter

When privacy czars defect

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
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
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
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.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.