January 26, 2006 11:15 PM PST

Court date set for Google lawsuit

Google's attempt to fend off the government's request for millions of search terms will move to a federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Feb. 27.

U.S. District Judge James Ware on Thursday set the date for the highly anticipated hearing, which is expected to determine whether the U.S. Justice Department will prevail in its fight to force Google to help it defend an anti-pornography law this fall.

Although the Justice Department also demanded that Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online hand over similar records, Google was the only recipient that chose to fight the subpoena in court. After the spat became public last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said: "This is important for the Department of Justice and we will pursue this matter."

The government's request has raised eyebrows among privacy advocates and members of Congress, some of whom fear it could open the door to future fishing expeditions. Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he would introduce legislation to curb records retained by Web sites, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, has asked Gonzales for details.

Ware also set a date of Feb. 6 for Google to file a legal brief with its arguments, and a Feb. 13 date for the Justice Department to submit its reply.

Ware is no stranger to technology cases. He heard the Sex.com case in 2001, a spam lawsuit in 1998, and a legal spat between RealNetworks and Microsoft in 2004.

Prosecutors are requesting a "random sampling" of 1 million Internet addresses accessible through Google's popular search engine, and a random sampling of 1 million search queries submitted to Google over a one-week period.

The request is part of the Justice Department's attempt to defend the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act. The law orders commercial Web sites to shield minors from materials that may be "harmful" to them. The American Civil Liberties Union claims it violates free expression rights.


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What about...
What about MSN and Yahoo they ave up their records without any question. Will google stand a chance in court after that?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't see any reason why a court won't hear Google's case regardless, and Google does seem to track more information than either of the other two.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.NWLB.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.NWLB.net</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Link Flag
MSN, Yahoo arent evil
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blogs.msdn.com/msnsearch/archive/2006/01/20/515606.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://blogs.msdn.com/msnsearch/archive/2006/01/20/515606.aspx</a>

Thats Microsofts response.

But, the US Government is not asking for any records where they can track individuals. They are simply asking how many times "TermA" and or "TermB" were searched for, thats all. Google is trying to market their "Dont be evil" slogan and its not working.
Posted by robertdohnert (12 comments )
Link Flag
It is all [b]supposed[/b] to come down to
What our says and how it is written. If the judge is a fair judge, and really works for The Law of the Land (that happens to be us americans), what the law on internet privacy is, and a bit of morality thrown in, then I believe that google should overcome. In todays news, one company called choice point has been slapped with a $15 million dollar fine, because it broke consumer protection law. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/ChoicePoint+to+pay+15+million+over+data+leak/2100-7350_3-6031629.html?tag=html.alert" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/ChoicePoint+to+pay+15+million+over+data+leak/2100-7350_3-6031629.html?tag=html.alert</a> Now if these people have to pay for breaching consumer data, Why do people think that some issue because of some peoples getting on the net and making a search, give them the right to poke into our privacy? And why is this just now becoming an issue? There are ways to keep your kids from becoming exposed and why should we have to worry about other peoples kids? This is a parents job. They want internet but they want to say what should or should not be out here? Get real. So let them kids search other places besides google if they think that will help. Geez people, cry some more. If you don't understand the net and how it works, then keep your mouth shut, and go learn what you need to know. The knowledge is out here. All you have to do is go to google....lol
Posted by Eskiegirl302 (82 comments )
Link Flag
I hope Google wins
This is a major case that could affect the government's view on the internet. If the government wins the case and forces Google to give away peoples' private information, the government will think they can control the entire internet. That would not be a good thing at all.
Posted by Hello, dwlor! (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression do not permit the New York Times to publish sexually explicit content on the front page of their paper, or anywhere in their publication for that matter. The governments argument isn't to abolish porn, that would never happen, but to make those doling it out for free to the 9 out of 10 scumbags cruising the net for porn that are under the false impression that it should be free, put their content behind a payment system, or AVS. You can't walk into a Quick E Mart and see the latest copies of Hustler or Juggies, they're in a plain brown wrapper, and you have to pay to view it, thus having the clerk verify you're of age. You can't walk into a sex shop as an underage child. Why in the world would anyone argue about keeping porn locked away on the internet? And the only people crying about the Google incident are those scumbags who are on the internet looking for free porn, and think this might just be a crutch for them to help keep the status quo.

Gary Niederhelman
[CNET editors' note: Promotional content deleted.]
Posted by garyn1 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What I don't understand....
I'm trying to figure out what law the Justice Department is relying upon that says the government can force a private citizen or company to testify or produce documental facts in support of an unrelated case. I mean if they were sueing Google this would be covered under discovery, but Google has nothing to do with the constitutionality of a law. usually such documents are gathered by a party through "friend of the court" briefs. Is the DoJ saying they have no "friends" willing to offer up help in support of their position so they must force people to support their case? I think that's stretching the DOJ's subpeona powers quite a bit.
Posted by Methuss (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is HOAX: US Gov and Google are together
Wake up: this is a Hoax that US Gov is asking for records from Google and Google is refusing to provide it and thus the suite.
The purpose of this HOAX is 2 fold:
1- To make people have sympathy for Google, thinking: "Oh, look poor Google is standing for our privacy right against bad US Gov, when in fact Google is as much part of the US Gov as are CIA and NSA.
2- Keep Google in the news non-stop so that you are totally brain washed as to any other search engine being good for you.

Now as bad as this is for people in USA, it is even worst for us outside of USA, here in Europe, I in Germany.
What we need is not world domination of our "eyes" and "minds" by 2 US media giant search engines which are inevitably controlled by US government.What we need is a de-centralized search engine. What we need is an open source search engine, one that is run from many different countries. One that its not controlled by any one organization.
We need for search engine what <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://european.orsn.net/" target="_newWindow">http://european.orsn.net/</a> is doing for DNS.
That is to get it outside of US control, and spread it worldwide.
Posted by peter2009 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh please....
I have no problem with search engines outside of the US, but to suggest that the US Federal Goverment and Google are together is just silly.

If the US controlled Google, then I would think Google would be trying to "spread democracy." Seeing as how they are willing to go along with China's regulations for their Chinese site, I don't see this being the case.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
Ah but there is one, it is AnooX search engine
In response to your point, there is a search engine that is Open Source and available to be run by different providers from different countries. So as a result, as you so well put it, the search results (thus information) of people world wide are not limited to 2 giant US media companies. It is called AnooX, you can read about AnooX open source, de-centralized &#38; distributed model here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.anoox.com/sep-overview.jsp" target="_newWindow">http://www.anoox.com/sep-overview.jsp</a>

Actually we are hoping to soon sign up anoox.de, although soon after anoox.it
All operated by Search engine providers (SEPs) from these countries, all tied together into one massive yet localized search engine.


Sorry for my bad German
Posted by Dean_Ansari (61 comments )
Link Flag


Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
The Nature of Brain-Washing
The nature of brain-washing, if it truly effective, is to convince a person of a "fact" so clearly that they no longer question its truth, no matter how untrue that "fact" really is. Now I believe your conjecture has a reasonable value. There are too many folks in the United States that take political and corporate ideas at face value---what they PERCEIVE as true. When it comes out as not true, they end up with pie on their face.

It is perfectly reasonable to conjecture the theory that Google may be in conjunction with the United States government. In an earlier post, I wrote the following:

"...The American government is surely quite interested in the searching activities of Americans. Knowledge such as Google has collected would be of immense interest to them, and I would be willing to wager that the American government would pay a large price to obtain that information, from Google or from any other source." Michael G.---CNET Post 01/27/06

In another post, I wrote the following:

"I have often thought that illegal sites, such as child porn, terrorist, or hacker sites, are allowed to exist because the American government wants them to---they are BAIT, set up to catch certain criminals in the act. Google may be in secret participation with the American governmental agencies on this point. While Google reassures Americans they protect their privacy, who knows what information is being secretly collected and traded on individuals? Though Google puts on a big show about protecting American privacy, how much of it is smoke and mirrors?" Michael G.---CNET Post 01/28/06

I believe that it makes perfect sense in an American society, to question the government's actions and intentions---especially in light of the recent reports of wire-tapping and other suspicious activities that people swore WASN'T happening. Now if the people that
are denying any type of conspiracy could possibly exist have any PROOF that Google ISN'T engaged in secret activity with the American government, bring it out. We would all like to know. Otherwise, I think it is foolhardy to dismiss any reasonable theory concerning conspiracy, especially in these times.
Posted by Michael G. (185 comments )
Link Flag
Don't Give In Google...
The Government does not need to watch me, and what I am searching on a search engine.....parents need to watch their children, and who they are communicating with, as well as what websites they are going to.

I love google, and I use their e-mail as well. Best e-mail I have found. Keep up the good work Google.
Posted by patt0122 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Search Engines
Are but a data base. When you go to google, or msn, or yahoo, and you use the search engine, you get a listing and a bit of description about the site associated with the link. Now you have to click on the link to go to the site. This is when you leave the search engine. Now your on a website. Not google, not msn and not yahoo. What kind of a keyword did you type in the search engine that directed you to the page with all the links? And why did you go to the porn site instead of some other one? If you had wanted information on child pornography, did you not type in something related to that? of course u did. Did you happen to read the description associated wth the link, before you clicked it? hmmm So google is not the one responsible for what you do once you leave there. It only is there to serve up the information that you have requested. Google did not show you the porn. You did it all by yourself.
Posted by Eskiegirl302 (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree - Pointing the finger
People are going to do what they want
and are more inclined to find ways to
circumvent any restrictions the
government tries to place on then.

What's next? Forcing us to provide
our address books on a whim?
Posted by patgrahamblock (6 comments )
Link Flag
Show You The Porn
Ah, but if you perform a search using the Image search capabilities of any of the major search engines you can in fact browse page after page of pornographic images AT THE SEARCH ENGINE SITE. So yes, you did select the search terms, but you don't have to actually visit a pornographic site to view the pornographic content. This is at the core of this issue. Since the search engines are caching copies of pornographic images and serving them up in response to search queries, are they in violation of the laws or not. I believe we will see this question answered as part of this whole issue.
Posted by cpeterso87 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Totally absurd
First, The government has no position to make this request from a private firm, it is not the companies job to do the governments work for them. Second it is an invasion of privacy, when using my computer I expect that without a justified court order my actions are not to be recorded or monitored in any way shape or form, including the use of search engines. We all sit and raise hell when we find that the music companies, and many others place spyware or tracking cookies on our systems or monitor the sites we visit, yet the Government expects that it should be allowed to do the same without any justification? Like it or not ever action you take online is recorded in one manner or another, if it wasn't then those brains that write the worms and so forth would never be caught as some have.

Secondly, it is our place as parents to raise our kids, not the Governments. Being to lazy to police your children is not an excuse, the last time I looked it was the USA not the USSR. But at the rate we are handing over ever little aspect of our lives it will not be much longer before there is no difference. It amazes me that we promote democracy all over the world but at home we are sliding farther and farther into a Government controlled country, it appears we are no longer able to stand together for ourselves as we once did, but we would rather close our blinds and make believe that every thing is just perfect. When it goes bad we can blame someone else rather then ourselves for allowing it. Just the way people always exclaim How could God let this happen, yet had they taken the time to read that book they would know that this is not Gods time and that he has nothing to do with any of it, but for him to intervene they must ask it of him.
Lastly, this could go on forever but thankfully the one so many wish to blame does have a time frame outlined already, and whether or not I make the cut I do so hope I am allowed to watch as those that turned their eyes away are brought face to face with the truest justice.
Posted by Commonsensa (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
New Legislation, great...
Internet search engines provide an extraordinary service, but the preservation of that service does not rely on a bottomless, timeless database that can do great damage despite good intentions, said Rep. Markey. I will be introducing a bill to prohibit the storage of personally identifiable information in internet data bases beyond a reasonable period of time.

So what defines "reasonable period of time" to you or to me? For Google, they keep archives of news group posts going back many years. This contains personally identifiable information, but is relevant for that archive no matter how old it gets. Information about people, for people will never expire a reasonable period of time.

This impending legislation is set to limit data archival, but will either destroy the use of that data or not have enough bite to make any difference.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
this topic is hot
First off, google automatically filters content for new users. So for those of you who says that the images that you get are only porn images, try searching for Belladonna with the filter on.

You will get about 10 pages with images the the plant named Belladonna.

So, there goes the point that only porn images are on the image search.

Second, the filter takes out 99% of the porn for you. The rest depends on what you search for.

All of you lazy parents need to get up and actually raise your own kids instead of letting tv and the internet do it for you.

And people wonder why so many youths are messed up today. The reason? Lack of actual parenting by their parents.
Posted by techguy83 (295 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wake up.....
Yes, true we must all be aware of predators-of all
However, we cannot afford to begin or continue to
give up our private, personal freedoms...because the past has or should have, taught us that. Next,
what "right", freedom will be taken..especially with the patriot act, which may be associated with
any activity any law enforcement deems "is necessary or helping".
No, we must not allow this to happen. We condemned
China for their internet searching rules, what about what our government is trying to do? Where's the real difference?
I'm sure, after talking with several people,
this is a shared opinion, and real concern.
Posted by palamedes (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Google provides a service. The service is used by all of those that pay for the right of service. Records of service are legally allowed to be maintained by google and google alone. If a porn company's site abides by the Wc3 and Googles terms of service (which is tough but doable I imagine) then noone is in the wrong and google should have to release their private records if everything is in accordance with those two factors.
Posted by Leviatas (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I do not agree with Peter... Imo, you are an idiot. A hoax? Please... I have been part of a Worldwide Company. Not necissarily a host for a search engine... However, I used to work for Sony Online Entertainment and I assure you that these companies have much better things to do than worry about their image. Besides, there are many more options than creating a court case to get attention. If you think that a multi-million dollar company has to create a court-case to persuade people or get attention, then you are seriously disillusioned... Go out and learn a bit more about corporate life if you are so willing to assume what is going on.

Also, Google has never failed me. I find everything I need. My wife and I also use them for advertising for our business sites.

I am in agreement with Eskie. What you do outside of the search engine is not their problem. They are indeed there to provide information for what you are looking up. I also believe (With the exception of child pornography) that what someone looks up adult pornography-wise, on their own computer in their own home, is completely up to them. Instead of the government attempting to interrupt adult lives, why don't you go after the people that are actually producing and serving child pornography, or more serious drugs than Marijuana... I have not agreed with what Bush has thought and done since he got into office. I don't like him, I did not vote for him and I do not believe that his intentions are best for this country... I have some other thoughts but they would probably arrest me for freakin terrorism or something.

Bottom line is, noone is at fault here, stop making a mountain out of a salt flat. MSN and Yahoo may have decided to hand in their records, that is their company death... Google did not have any intentions of handing over records that are not truly needed by the Government. So all of you suites, go bother someone else and leave our web-communities alone... Do what you steal so much money from us for...
Posted by Leviatas (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Websites that should be sued.

Have you ever found your name or the name of a friend that showed up on a ?BULLY? website for no reason, or false reasons

Google is starting to show its true colors, and they aren?t very pretty. Google is becoming the bully on the block. Very careless and unprofessional.

People are using google as a weapon, so if you type in a name, you get a malicious listing but if you click on the link, ? it goes nowhere. This comes from people posting entries on google just to be malicious and hurt others.

When you ask google to remove such listings because there is no content behind it, its like pulling teeth and proves very hard to do.

This tells me that google supports the activities of slander, liable and blackballing. I think this is wrong. I personally feel google is so big, its out of control. It?s time to shut this search engine down if they can?t be a proper example setter.

I also don?t like the amount of smut that can be accessed by the Google search engine. I would strongly like to see this stop too.

Posted by Joe_from_Wisconsin (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Google Inc gets to meet an Arkansas J-U-R-Y next year during the 221 anniversary of the "copy-right" HOAX. I have sued Google Inc and tried to add every American search engine and the FCC. The end of unregulated PORN broadcast by WIRE is within two years with absolutely no question at all. Google Inc has filed scores of motions and scores of attorneys are trying to keep the internet about free porn.
Neeley Jr v NameMedia Inc et al.,(5:09-cv-05151) will be the end of UNREGULATED porn by wire.
Posted by curtisneeley (19 comments )
Link Flag
Google Inc gets to meet an Arkansas J-U-R-Y next year during the 221 anniversary of the "copy-right" HOAX. I have sued Google Inc and tried to add every American search engine and the FCC. The end of unregulated PORN broadcast by WIRE is within two years with absolutely no question at all. Google Inc has filed scores of motions and scores of attorneys are trying to keep the internet about free porn.
Neeley Jr v NameMedia Inc et al.,(5:09-cv-05151) will be the end of UNREGULATED porn by wire.
Posted by curtisneeley (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
GOOG is maybe so powerful they can thumb their nose at the entire population of the Earth as will be made clear soon in Neeley v NameMedia Ind and Google Inc (5:09-cv-05151)
Posted by curtisneeley (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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