March 10, 2006 11:07 AM PST

Feds suggest 21-day deadline for Google subpoena

The U.S. Justice Department has set a suggested deadline for Google to hand over information about its users' search habits: 21 days.

In court documents submitted Thursday to U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose, Calif., federal prosecutors said they need a prompt response because of the compressed schedule of the case. They're asking Ware to set a 21-day deadline that would begin as soon as he makes a decision.

"Delay in this court's resolution of the motion to compel would be unwarranted," the three-page brief says.

In January, the Justice Department asked a judge to force Google to hand over a "random sample of 1 million" Web pages from its index, and copies of a week's worth of search terms, to aid in the Bush administration's defense of an Internet pornography law. That information is supposed to be used to highlight flaws in Web-filtering technology during a trial in Philadelphia this fall.

The Justice Department subpoena normally would have been a routine matter, and America Online, Microsoft and Yahoo voluntarily complied with similar requests. But Google's resistance sparked a furor over privacy, with Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, asking the Justice Department for details, and a bill announced in the House of Representatives that would require Web sites to delete information about visitors.

A hearing before Ware has been scheduled for March 14. He could rule on the Justice Department's motion during the hearing or anytime thereafter.

Google objected to the subpoena in a strongly worded brief filed last month by Al Gidari and Lisa Delehunt of the law firm Perkins Coie. It says that complying with the subpoena would be burdensome and violate privacy rights; that it's unnecessary for the government's defense of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA); and that it could even violate the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

The Philadelphia judge overseeing the COPA case wants expert reports in by May 3, which is why the Justice Department has asked Ware for a speedy schedule. After the Justice Department receives the data, it plans to turn it over to an academic statistician who will analyze the prevalence of pornography on the Internet and in Google searches.

For its part, the Justice Department says that it is seeking "this information only to perform a study, in the aggregate, of trends in the Internet. No individual user of Google, or of any other search engine, need fear that his or her personal identifying information will be disclosed."

See more CNET content tagged:
Child Online Protection Act, deadline, Philadelphia, Google Inc., Time Warner Inc.

35 comments

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Quick People, type: "Bush Hitler Child Porn" on Google
once a day for the next two months.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Reply Link Flag
We should just write a sript
I have a spare box on my network I could donate to the cause of running that search over, and over and over.
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
Link Flag
This really is stupid.
I see no reason why the government should get this information. It pertains to no criminal matter and they should information like this just because they want it.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Go get 'em Justice!
Everyone else complied. Google complies with China's needs. Why not the U.S.? Why doen't Google wish to help in the fight against porn?

GO GET 'EM JUSTICE!
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Go get `em Google
It's not about porn, it's about control.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Link Flag
Because the US isn't China
Google's compliance with China can in no way be equated with complying with, from Google's position, an illegal request.

Have You never heard of the 4th Ammendmant; it is obvious that Bush's Justice department lacks any understanding of it, but I had hoped that the general population has a better understanding, especially internet users.
Posted by JosephK35 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Because...
Porn isn't illegal. And, while children shouldn't have access to it, it is up to the parents to make sure they don't get access to it and not everyone else. If it wasn't for crazy Christians in charge of this country this would never have come up. Normal people don't but in to other peoples business. Laws are in place, if a child gains access to porn then punish the parents. They are the ones that bred and created a child or children that they can't seem to monitor. Maybe the parents should be jailed for not doing there jobs anytime one of their kids break the law. Maybe schools should forget about reading, writing and math and teach the kids the whys and hows of following the law.

Robert
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Link Flag
IT'S A VERY SENSETIVE ISSUE!
I don't like the fact that feds are forcing google to give out the information, but at the same time, as I understand feds need the info for a very good purpose, so it's really a catch-22.

"Have you heard of Microsoft? How about <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.enthem.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.enthem.com</a> ?"
Posted by stansoft (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
When Al Qaida calls we want to know
And what exactly is the "very good purpose" here!?

You may trust the Bush adminstration's Justice department, but I don't. Any time they have stated a "purpose" (because Sadamm has WMD and is friends with Bin Laden) it has been a total and outright lie (tax cuts, medicare part D, "who could have thought someone would fly planes into the WTC")

The internet is the last vestige of open/democratic communication in this country. If You want to support the Bush administrations desire to kill it, go ahead -- but don't pretend it has anything to do with child pornography.
Posted by JosephK35 (2 comments )
Link Flag
RE
A good purpose? I think that debatable. The government wants to show filters can't block everything so the court should impose COPA on all use websites. Which of course ignores the volumes of porn produced over seas and out of reach of COPA. This fact alone probably makes COPA less effective than filters. When combined they might be slightly more effective, but probably not enough to warrenty the infringing on the rights of adults. I dare say any body with basic knowledge of filtering software and the how it works could tell you it's not completely effective without the need for search results or statistical analysis.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Link Flag
Yhaoo,Msn, aol should post their 1M searches results
We all can see if googles refusal is a marketing ploy ( see folks we are not like yahoo, msn, aol, we do no evil - as I suspect.

Or if something is really there. Maybe that is why they have not posted it or is because the feds wont let them. Forget all this ancillary garbage - SHOW US THE CONTENT!!!
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's next ?
People searching for the word 'democrat' ?
People searching abortion related information ?
People searching information about Bush and his lies ?

Or is it the first step toward identifying what Google will be asked to censor ?
Posted by My-Self (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google, dig a bunker.
Tell the Feds to go pound sand, and when the info is ultimately turn over... make it garbled junk just to **** them off.

Don't worry people, continue to go about your business in happy oblivion. Our current government would never use this information to control our lives... unless the "benefits" favor the ultra conservative hacks.

What list are you on? "Yer either agin us, or wit us".
Posted by 94hogboy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I M GOING TO REPORT YOU AS OFFENSIVE
I THINK YOU ARE JUST BEING ABSURD ....DEFENDING FREE ENTEPRISE YOU KNOW THAT CURSED CONCEPT IS ONLY TO BE ALLOW TO THE ROCKERFELLERS,MELLONS, FORDS, ETC. OH EXCUSE ME I LEFT OUT THE BUSHES AND THE CHENEY'S.....AND YOU KNOW THEIR DEDICATION TO FREE ENTERPRISE ?

WHOM ARE THE GOOGLES? WHAT PEDEGREE DO THEY HAVE?
HOW DARE THEY UPSET THE SEARCH AND EMAIL INDUSTRY ELITE. WHO IS GOOGLE TO CHALLENGE AOL........MY GOD HAVE THEY LOST THEIR MINDS? A POX UPON THEM!!! UPSTARTS WILL BE PUT DOWN! BRILLIANCE MUST BE CONQUERED TO PRESERVE MEDIOCRITY! nOT TO MENTION CORPORAT GREED AND THE NATURAL LAW OF GOUGHING THE UNWASHED SLAVES OF THE INTERNET!

TED TURNER DOESN'T ALLOW THAT! WE ARE TALKING TIME-WARNER TUFF HERE ! THESE UPSARTS MUST BE PUT DOWN. A POX AND EXPENSIVE LITAGATION UPON THES UPSAR GOOGLES! IT HAS BEEN ANNOINTE THE NEW AMERICAN WAY! MY GOD WHAT WOULD RONALD REGAN SAY ABOUT ALL THIS?????
Posted by texasphoneman (2 comments )
Link Flag
Much ado about Google
All I see is bunch of jealous competitors whose products have been one-upped x10 by some innovative risk takers using the government to stiffle the new kid on the block............If AOL, MSN, and all ther rest can't beat Google with brilliant product
let not the courts do that job for them . I was taught in my childhood that anyone could succed in America if they put their minds to it. Obviously Google's competitors and the governement are out to change that basic freedom with blood sucking lawyers ...........If you can't compete against all odd with just your brain then you deserve to go down in flames.....get out of the game! Try hard work and starve a lawyer!
Posted by texasphoneman (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Very Difficult Call
We know that traditional legal systems are faced with extraordinary challenges when confronting the situations created by the Internet. There are no laws for so many issues.

Google as a search engine is in a very special space.

As a non-US citizen living in a country faraway (India) I understand the American's celebrated notions of independence and freedom and privacy.

On the otherhand, if the US does not have any mechanism by which law makers, law administrators, law enforcers - AND - technology companies can work together and share information - the process of making new laws for the Internet era will be considerably confounded.
Posted by sughyosha (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Please, Google, stick to it!
Please stick to your convictions, which in reality, is the convictions of all of us who truely believe in the Bill Of Rights.

Don't let the gov't (specially George W. and his judicial cronies!) have there way and degrade this country into Orwell's 1984 visions! The U.S. AND the Internet is all about freedom, and we don't need these idiots giving the rest of us their version of it.
Posted by mrcuadra (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sorry Bozo
That is not the definition of child porn. Pictures of minors engaged in sexual acts is child porn. Children seeing normal porn is not.

Frankly, it is a parents's responsibility to monitor their children's internet viewing, if it is anyones. The government needs to but out.
Posted by PzkwVIb (462 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That was my opinion
"That is not the definition of child porn. Pictures of minors engaged in sexual acts is child porn. Children seeing normal porn is not."

Oh Ok, so you think that it's ok for Children to see porn.

I personally think that a society that allows children to see porn is immoral. To me that is child pornography. It is also the most common tool or method that child pornographers use to get children involved in pornography.

But you think that's ok. Fine. We all have our opinions. I won't resort to calling you Bozo. You've already made your character very obvious.
Posted by joezeppy (33 comments )
Link Flag
Trampling Privacy - Again
It's not enough that the Government wants to potentially invade my privacy with telephone/Internet/Mail/listening device "taps,"
now they want to know my search parameters and history.
"None of your business,"I respond.
Keyword Tracker, Looksmart and others already publish for FREE a regularly updated listing and ranking of search terms/keywords/keyword phrases.
And the government/Justice Department could easily find out what they wanted by cross referencing Adwords and similar creation programs, with the tracking results.
No, what the Justice Department wants here is a fishing license. It's not that they can't do the research themselves, THEY WON"T!
And they want to establish a prcedent that allows them to extend this fishing license to go ...where? In your mail? In your trash? In your walls, cars and offices with cameras and microphomes?
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...Big Brother!
I am all for tracking down and eliminating terrorists, but since when are private conversations terrorism? If terrorism is suspected, and suspicion is justified by some connection, some shred of evidence, by all means go for it. Use the court system already set up for this, including the warrantless searches and electronic "intercepts."
If kiddie porn prevention is the goal, then track down and arrest those who produce and distribute such stuff immediately.
But, don't violate my rights to free and uncensored speech in the process. Don't use any excuse to "investigate" what I read, or who I talk to.
You do not have the right to assume guilt in the face of a lack of evidence. Our Constitution and the courts don't allow search warrants witout more than just a suspicion, and now we see why.
Giving authorities the right to search you and your property with new technology is just an old repressive society trick with a new technological face.
Don't allow it!
Posted by bdennis410 (175 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Its all about your information...
Hey people get real... What they want is not information about how many porn site there are... They could look that up themself. Neither is it about how many people are looking for porn... That is also public knowledge... It is about what have YOU looked up lately? What is on YOUR mind???

Way to go Google! Keep it private!
Down with Big Brother!!!
Posted by chhooks (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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