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Google fights US government to protect your privacy

This article at the New York Times is titled ‘Google resists US subpoena of search data‘.

The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to compel Google, the Internet search giant, to turn over records on millions of its users’ search queries as part of the government’s effort to uphold an online pornography law.

Google has been refusing the request since a subpoena was first issued last August, even as three of its competitors agreed to provide information, according to court documents made public this week. Google asserts that the request is unnecessary, overly broad, would be onerous to comply with, would jeopardize its trade secrets and could expose identifying information about its users.

I think it’s great that Google is fighting to protect your privacy and shows that, unlike all the other search engines which complied with the US government’s request for search data, Google is actually interested in your privacy.

Now, the interest is double-edged, as handing over all the search terms made via Google could give away a number of trade secrets that Google holds extremely dear, along with violating your privacy. They want to protect you and protect their income.

It’s ironic that a day after I was talking about Google and data privacy in this article over here about ‘Why Gmail?‘, Google goes to war against the US government to protect the same data that I was commenting about.

A friend of mine was asking impact it would have for Google to hand that information over to the US DOJ. I explained to him that if the US government gets all the search data that they want, then they can match originating IP addresses to search terms, and if they find search terms they don’t like or want to investigate, they can find out who’s IP address it is from the relevent ISP, and before you know it you’ll have jackbooted stormtroopers kicking your door down and arresting you (or shooting you if you ‘resist arrest’) for ‘threats to national security’ or other illegal internet activities.

Google is our friend.

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