The federal government has asked Google to turn over search records as part of its battle to protect an antipornography law.
According to an article in the San Jose Mercury News, lawyers for the Justice Department issued a subpoena to the search company last year, asking for "one million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period."
The government is seeking the records to bolster its argument in a federal court in Pennsylvania over the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act. Google has refused to comply with the order, saying "the demand for the information is overreaching," the paper said.
Reaction on the blogs was predictably shocked and appalled.
Blog community response:
"This is worrisome, in part, because by hiding this behind the 'protecting kids from porn' argument will distract from the real issue, and could set a bad precedent. It's also worth noting that the government claims other search engines had no problem at all turning over similar data -- which may be the most worrying point."
"They should not be allowed to get away with this, and more power to Google for taking them on."
"It's not just about this one request. This is a major, major moment. And shame on the other engines for not standing up and fighting."
--John Battelle's SearchBlog
"This is YOUR information we are talking about here. The government has no need to know what I have checked out on the Internet unless I am suspected of a crime and then, you know, there are courts to go through."
--Just a Bump in the Beltway