A federal judge plans to order
to turn over certain Internet records to the Justice Department, but expressed reservations about forcing disclosure of the actual search requests.
U.S. District Judge James Ware told the Justice Department it can expect to get at least some of the information sought from Google as part of the Bush administration's effort to revive a law meant to shield children from online pornography, the Associated Press reported late Tuesday.
But the AP said Ware was "particularly concerned" about the Justice's demand for a random sample of search requests entered into the Google search search engine.
The judge said he didn't want to do anything to create the perception that Internet search engines and other large online databases could become tools for government surveillance, the AP reported. He seemed less concerned about requiring Google to supply the government with a random list of Web sites indexed by the company.
Ware said he planned to issue a written ruling quickly, the AP said.
Tuesday marked the first time that Google and the government faced off in court over a government subpoena issued nearly seven months ago. The Justice Department had requested a breakdown of search requests and Web site addresses from Google for a study that the government believes will prove filtering software doesn't prevent children from viewing sexually explicit material on the Internet.
Google refused to hand over the information, saying the government's request would intrude on its users' privacy and its own trade secrets.