Google (GOOG) - Get Report says it won't submit to a Bush administration's demand to examine one week's worth of search queries in what portends a larger battle between the government and privacy advocates.
As first reported by the
San Jose Mercury News
, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales this week asked a federal judge to order the company to comply with a White House subpoena that was issued last August as the administration attempt to restore online child protection laws recently struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to various media reports, Google responded Thursday by saying it would "resist the government's efforts vigorously."
According to the online
Wall Street Journal
, the Justice Department originally subpoenaed Google in late August to provide all Web site addresses that could be located through Google's search engine and submit a list of all search queries handled between June 1 and July 31. The request was in connection with the department's defense of the Child Online Protection Act, a 1998 law. Government lawyers hope to use online activity data from search engines to measure the effectiveness of existing technologies, such as filtering software, compared with the protections in the 1998 law.
Google, in an October response, said that complying "would suggest that it is willing to reveal information about those who use its services," something it couldn't accept, according to the
After further discussions with Google, the Justice Department scaled back its request to a list of one million Web addresses and the text of all search queries from a one-week period without any identifying information on individual users. Google decided not to comply.
confirmed Thursday that it had complied with a similar government subpoena, according to the AP.