If you haven't heard yet, the Bush Administration wanted one million random web addresses and records of all Google searches for a one week period. The government apparently wants to estimate how much pornography shows up in the searches that children do.
The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.
From perusing DailyKos, I gather there is a chill running through the netroots, and it's being misdirected at Google, when the real story is:
The government indicated that other unspecified search engines have agreed to release the information, but NOT Google.
Whereas other seach engines rolled right on over without a fight Google general counsel said the company will fight "vigorously."
And isn't it just modern media poetic circumstance (irony) that the Google Guys get vilified BECAUSE they're doing the right thing, while the ones we CAN'T trust quietly sell us out, then benefit indirectly because of our FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt).
So, before you run screaming to Big Brother, check for updates on Search Engine Watch. So far, Ask Jeeves did not hand over data, because they weren't asked to. Yahoo! and AOL have not responded, and MSN issued some legalese that sounds like they caved. Also, noteworthy. Search Engine Watch (www.blog.SearchEngineWatch.com)(still learning to make links) has a better method for the government to get what it wants WITHOUT "...get(ting) the search engines to do their research for them in a way that compromises the civil liberties of other people." as Ray Everett-Church, a South Bay privacy consultant for internet companies describes it. He also pointed out, "The government can't even claim that it's for national security."
Furthermore, this looks like a major move toward a Unitary Executive (i.e. more powerful presidency). Apparently, simple talk of Alito's confirmation was emboldening enough that they're ready to try using new and improved SCOTUS to create a precedent for the government's Right to Spy.
I'm afraid, very afraid. And THAT really makes me nervous. So, the more afraid I get, the more I'm going to act...while I still have the right.
P.S. If anything happens, don't forget to look for me in the blacksites.