U.S. sought data from more than search engines

The Justice Department demanded information from at least 34 Internet service providers, search companies and security software companies as part of its probe related to the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), according to an article in InformationWeek on Thursday.

Some companies, including Cablevision Systems and Verizon, objected to the government demands, the article says. Other subpoena recipients included AT&T, Comcast Cable, Cox Communications, EarthLink, Symantec and United Online, according to InformationWeek, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the information.

Google made headlines in January when it was disclosed that the search company had refused to hand over random search terms and Web address data that Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online had provided the government when asked. Google challenged the subpoena in court, arguing that it was overreaching. Earlier this month a judge ruled that Google didn't have to provide any search queries but did have to provide a much smaller number of Web sites in its index than the government had sought.

The government is seeking information on Web user behavior and filtering software and other tools in an effort to justify COPA, which faces a trial later this year. That law restricts the posting on commercial Web sites of sexually explicit material deemed "harmful to minors," unless it's made unavailable to the youngsters. The ACLU argues that Web sites cannot realistically comply with such requirements and that the law violates the right to freedom of speech mandated by the First Amendment.

 

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