Google refuses to hand over user data

By Derek Sooman on January 22, 2006, 6:42 AM
Google has been ordered by the US government to hand over data revealing what its users are searching for online - and the company has refused! In a triumph of privacy rights, the search giant has defied the US and refused to give over data relating to requests entered into Google's online search engine. The White House said the information is part of an effort to protect children from online pornography, but Google has said no - leading the US attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, to ask for a court order this week.

Rights groups in the US are already on alert after revelations that the White House authorised phone tapping without court orders. "This is exactly the kind of thing we have been worrying about with search engines for some time," Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum told the Associated Press. "Google should be commended for fighting this."




User Comments: 33

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paulwuzhere said:
GO GOOGLE! Thats our private info, no one but us need to know what we are looking for. Thank you
Eleventeen said:
Yeah, I'm all for Google not handing over the U.S. anything. May be it's for the better, may be not. The government should really stay out of this, and just let people be. It's like they want to know everything they can about you, it's getting really stupid. Take phone tapping for instance, I mean, I know they want this place to be safe, but I really think they are taking it to the extremes. What users look at online is their privacy and business, not the government's. Just my opinion though.
atk spade said:
While its great google has said no...msn and yahoo have already turned over their lists.[Edited by atk spade on 2006-01-22 10:17:55]
ALEKXANDER said:
[b]Originally posted by Eleventeen:[/b][quote]Yeah, I'm all for Google not handing over the U.S. anything. May be it's for the better, may be not. The government should really stay out of this, and just let people be. It's like they want to know everything they can about you, it's getting really stupid. Take phone tapping for instance, I mean, I know they want this place to be safe, but I really think they are taking it to the extremes. What users look at online is their privacy and business, not the government's. Just my opinion though.[/quote]it really is just about government wanting to know about everything, it's the way to go if you want to have control in the world! And I home that google successed in this one!
fury said:
A good way to save face with the people who criticized them about keeping deleted Gmail data.Honestly, I don't think it makes a difference. The government will just shut them down or something.
MonkeyMan said:
You know, the US government is going against everything we stand for, and what has made our country the best in World History. Our founding fathers based everything they had around freedom, and the ability to be free to do what you want to do. As more and more laws are being created, that goes against this, it is changing our country into a communist monster, but doing it under the table so to speak. The Bush Administration is changing our history, and you know what, I'm completely discusted, and angry with it. They changed history, when they changed the votes, making Bush win. Never before in US history has this happened. Technically, Al Gore should be our president, and I wish he was, because these things would not be taking place. I believe the US is going to become similar to the communist countries of Russia and China, in that the government controls just about everything its citizens do. The Bush Administration goes around talking about democracy, and yet, they are making communist decisions everyday.
Phantasm66 said:
This is a very bold and courageous move.
PUTALE said:
Google is taking on the US government. Man, Google really has some guts. I am not sure if google can maintain it's position with the US governemnt, but it's nice to see the audacity of such company to protect user's data.
maxtor said:
Thank you Google. I'm really suprised that Google has the guts to take a stand like that. Google VS. Microsoft, not its Google VS. US Government, thats going to be tough.@fury. Google will never be shut down. They have guts, and that is good. I would really love to see Google actually win against the US Government, I think that have a good chance. ---Slowly they are taking over the Internet. I mean if they don't take demands from the US Government, then they don't take demands from anyone. They are quite courageous. :)GO GOOGLE!
poertner_1274 said:
This can be looked upon in one of 2 ways. It is either very smart of them, or very stupid. Let's hope it is not the latter.
luvhuffer said:
Excellent! It's too bad the courts are gonna be stacked with neo-cons for the next 30 years or so. This may outrage the computing community, but the everyday joe might not even understand this. Hopefully it will be used against the extention of the unpatriotic Patriot Act. Oh well at least history won't blame me. My vote didn't count. Remember....just say no in NovemberBumper sticker seen on car "If you can read this, you're not the President"
barfarf said:
Yeah for google! THe goverment is becoming more of police state invading our personal lifes everywhere. Hiding behind things like its for the fight against child porn or terrorism. Its nice to stand up to the goverment asking them to be more specific in thier hunt.
Kaleid said:
In the end Google will lose the battle..that's will most certainly be the harsh reality.Is your firewall spying on you? [url]http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=29157[/url]
Need_a_Dell said:
Good for Google on making a stand. It will most definitly be a nasty court experience. The question there in lies, which side do you think should win? Google si trying to protect people's privacy, while the US wants to protect little horny boys from seeing boobies. This is a tough call.
compuflyer said:
So tired of our privacy being invaded...
AeonXX said:
First of all, the public can’t possibly know the true intentions of Google’s refusal to hand over search data. Personally, I think it’s a smart move on their part, because it helps Google’s image, making them even more popular with those concerned about online privacy. The press they are receiving from this refusal translates into more page hits and searches, and also more earnings through Google AdWords. I’ve read through some of “The Google Story” by David A. Vise, and according to the book, Google’s computer network is far larger than the US government’s. Google owns the largest computer network in the world, and they are a force to be reckoned with. If the US government did succeed in shutting down the world’s #1 search engine, there would be a severe backlash. Inevitably, Google would be reborn, but I personally doubt that it will fall to begin with.
cyrax said:
Google is certainly gutsy and should be applauded for this. Why does the governments really want these records? I suspect more sinister reasons.
bbdude said:
Awesome! It's about time some big company sticks it to the man. :P
Kaleid said:
Some humour about a serious matter:[url]http://www.cagle.com/working/060120/englehart.gi
[/url][url]http://www.cagle.com/working/060120/horsey.gif[
url][url]http://www.cagle.com/working/060120/walthandelsma
.gif[/url][url]http://www.cagle.com/working/060120/stahler
gif[/url]
gamingmage said:
Way to go Google, fight the power. The U.S. government has no right to take that data and Google has the right to keep whatever it wants. Again keep on fighting.
champmanfan said:
It could be the case that the US government is trying to get Google's secrets of their search engine to set up their own search engine like the French & German's have done recently. Google's search engine and the webpages it shows upon a request is like asking Coke for their secret ingredients that has made them so successful. It's a good job Google has a good team of lawyers with plenty of money to fight them in court. And how on earth are they going to make any sense of the billions of search queries that are made every day around the world? This only points to the US government wanting to sensor the internet, but if they did, is it enforceable outside the US?
exscind said:
[b]Originally posted by PUTALE:[/b][quote]Google is taking on the US government. Man, Google really has some guts. I am not sure if google can maintain it's position with the US governemnt, but it's nice to see the audacity of such company to protect user's data.[/quote]Google has enough money and financial infrastructure to back up anything it does. Google will have a room full of lawyers to fight the U.S. government, so I'm not worried about that. But events like this selddom result in a completely one-sided situation. It is probable that Google and the U.S. government will compromise, which while a backlash will occur, it would not be on a full scale-war if Google cooperates 100%.It seems unreasonable for the Bush Administration to invade people's online privacy rights. This battle helps Google's image, sure, but it is much more than that. It is saddening to see how readily available Microsoft, Yahoo, and to some extent, AOL, gave in to the demands of the government.According to the article, the Department of Justice want these data to "simulate how people use the Internet," and in part it is used to protect children from online pornography. This is just like any day in a court: You don't breach a person's basic rights to see what possible dangers/secrets that person may possess. The U.S. government is standing on shaky grounds, it is no wonder the public is outraged.
vigilante said:
Google will eventuall fold, they have to. But it is good that they didn't just tuck their tail and hand out the data on a whim. Make the Government go through proper legal procedure. That's the way.Although it begs the question, why does Google KEEP such records? I mean, people search a gazillion billion times a day, don't tell me Google records all these searches and where they are coming from?How can the Government "protect" anything if they don't know exactly where these "bad" searches originate? Does google have a massive database of every IP address and what searches come from it? Kinda scary actually, even more so then the government WANTING this data. Some day you search for, like, a gun that passes through airport security, for a research paper or something, and next thing you know you got black suits banging your door down.Perhaps Google aught to just delete the data? Would that be wrong? If it was a mandate to STORE the data, why would they then refuse to give it up? So just delete it then. As if Google needs it for anything.The whole thing is fraught with questions.
maxtor said:
@vigilante. Google keeps records so they know what people want. Then they can advertise to make money. Think about how gmail runs...
nathanskywalker said:
I must say, that some of you should read up a little, heh not to offend. i agree that that the government def does not havethe ability to fix everything, and many times when it tries, they just mess things up, so it probably good that google refused them. And i lad for it. But rember, our country was built on more than just freedom, because our view of what "freedom" is has changed. Not that the goverment is doing such a great job at fixing anything, but i think bush is trying, and the media is just not thinking, they just have their own personally agenda. But nyway, yeah go Google, good that they are, in a way....defending our privacy. But rem, that freedom is not the right to do whatever you want, or whatever you feel is right, it is much much more than that, and if our country does not come to realize that soon, privacy is not going to matter much....wow i kind of blabbed on allittle bit.Oh,BTw just found this...check it out! ouch, i'm sorry google...[url]http://news.com.com/2061-10812_3-6029411.html?
art=rss&tag=6029411&subj=news[/url][Edited by nathanskywalker on 2006-01-22 23:44:38][quote]"Young people are experiencing broken lives after being exposed to adult images and behaviors on the Internet," Samad said. "I'm disappointed Google did not want to exercise its good corporate branding to secure the protection of youth. I think (complying with the subpoena) would substantiate the basis of COPA if they get a free exchange of information on youthful use of the Internet."[/quote]And i totaly agree with that statment, but again, is that really the governments buisness? and where does there authority stop?[Edited by nathanskywalker on 2006-01-22 23:47:50]
yoyomama said:
I'm thankful that [b](most)[/b] people on this site realize what a stand this is for google to take. How anyone could say that the merits of a police state outweigh its drawbacks is beyond comprehension. I'm glad [b](most)[/b] people on this board have common sense. Privacy and freedom have always, and will continue to matter a great deal. I feel sad for the paranoid people of this world who worry that all anarchy will break loose unless the government has access to everyone's personal information. Ireally feel sad for those people.Without freedom we don't really live.
charp said:
Way to go Google!People on top of the piramid,getting zip!Of course if google handed it over, without a blink, it would surely loose theircredibility. On a mondial scale.
Kaleid said:
The Coming Tug of War Over the Internet:[url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/a
ticle/2006/01/21/AR2006012100094.html[/url]"One is that Congress is taking first steps toward updating and rewriting the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a key legal underpinning for media, telecommunications and Internet activity"
mentaljedi said:
Did anybody watch that that program called "The Earth by Google" or something like that. GOogle has a database containing EVERYTHING you searc + your IP which obviously can be tracked to your name adress everything. And this is not only the americans who will be effected. You hear how the US have been spying on Europe? Well not only the Americans, the Europeans or some other counties but ANYBODY in the WHOLE WORLD using Google can be tracked by the US Government anbd that's scary. I don't mind GOogle havin git as they use it to improve searches by accosiating keywords with the sites searched etc... but to have the government to have it, that's more info than the CIA, FBI and all those organisations put together! Its madness for them to have it! I am British and I love America and the Americans but I HATE the American Government! Americans must not let themselves be bullied like this! Stand up America for your rights and dignity!!!
Vaulden said:
Way to go Google. I don't care whether they are doing this for the "good of the people" or just to flex thier muscles... I like what they did.
sngx1275 said:
Everyone is patting Google on the back for this, and saying talking about outrage if they were to release it. Why is there no outrage about MSN and Yahoo giving it over when asked? Atk|Spade pointed that out in the second post and nobody seemed to notice.Also MonkeyMan, Russia isn't Communist anymore, there were several other half truths in your post, but last time I pointed them all out to you (in another thread) you got upset, so I won't do it again.
JMag034 said:
Im really glad google isnt doing this. In the past, i've been supportive of the Patriot act, but this seems like its just going way way too far invading our privacy.
=met=Badger said:
Private information. Governtment doesnt need it. GO Google
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