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Although Yahoo and Microsoft both turned over search records to the federal government, Google looks to put up a fight

Google has not complied with a White House subpoena that was issued over the summer, which has led to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to ask a federal judge in San Jose for an order that would force Google to turn over search records.  The Associated Press has reported that the federal government has asked for two specific things:  The first thing requested is that Google turns over a sample of a million random web site addresses found in the Google search engine index.  The second request is for records of Google search queries over any week.  

The U.S. government apparently wants the information because it is challenging the rejection of the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, which is for "the protection of the physical and psychological well-being of minors by shielding them from materials that are harmful to them."  If the COPA became law, adults would have to register with sites that provide adult content, or use an access code.  Civil liberties groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately challenged the law, claiming that it is unconstitutional because it is  restrictive of free speech.

Yahoo and Microsoft have acknowledged and complied with orders from the federal government to turn over search records.  Both companies also said that the requested data was provided without handing over any personal information of subscribers. 

Although many speculate that the federal government is using the data gathered for something other than the alleged intended purposes stated, it is hard for us to tell.  This will most likely be a story that we will continue to hear hear in the future.   




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