Department of Justice vs. Google Continues

March 1, 2006

Topics: Google, Privacy.

So the Department of Justice has now rejected Google’s protest against the US Government. The Department of Justice claims that the request for search data is neither a threat to privacy nor a threat to Google’s proprietary data, on the grounds that no individual user data will be disclosed and that the examination of the data will be "cursory", according to statistician Philip Stark of the University of California, Berkeley.

Although I can accept that the data released is not necessarily associated with a specific person, the Center for Democracy in Technology makes an interesting comment:

"It’s never been a principle of law that people can read your e-mail as long as they don’t know who you are."

Jim Dempsey, CDT’s policy director

I also have my doubts about the claim that the examination of the data will be "cursory" – I haven’t seen any specific statements as to the Government’s intentions, and I can’t help but say that once the data is in the hands of the government, they are not necessarily restricted to the examination they have described.

If they could supply a decent idea of what they intended to do, perhaps they’d have a better case.

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