Taking one step back to go two steps forward, the US government seriously reduced their request for information from Google (we all know whats going on there) and they’re now looking for just 50,000 web addresses and 5,000 search queries – as opposed to an entire weeks worth of data.
The main thing is that the federal judge in the case intends to grant the government access, albeit to 20% of the new request (10k addresses and 1k queries) according the the New York Times. The government are looking for the results on some very specific search terms which has also raised a few eyebrows.
It intends to use the data in a study to measure the effectiveness of software that filters out pornographic Web sites. The government says it is not seeking information that would “personally identify” individuals.
Google’s lawyers appear to be fine with it as it still protects 99.9% of Google (whose stock also rose another 14 quid yesterday, is there any stopping them?). You’d wonder though if the US government have gotten this far and know that they’ve gotten their first slice of the pie that they won’t go back for more. All the signs are pointing down the road to the same path Microsoft are travelling, only with 70% more white (had to use that phrase somewhere online this week). Fair play to Google for making the stance as opposed to bending at the news for the Bush Administration, at least it shows they’re interested in protecting their users.
And maybe one day when all our stored gMail, google base, google maps, google earth, google payments, google desktop, google pages, google talk information gets leaked out we can at least say “well, they did try….”.