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Home » Hacking News » Google resisting US government

Google resisting US government

by Nikola Strahija on January 20th, 2006 Google is refusing to help the US government defend its Child Online Protection Act (COPA) law in court, by resisting to hand over statistical data.


It all started with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filing a lawsuit against US government and its COPA law stating it violates the First Amendment. The lawsuit was filed back in 1998, and after a lot of mumbo-jumbo the case has hit the court for real.

The government now has to prepare COPA defense. The backbone of the defense is government statement that the law is more effective than filtering software in protecting minors from pornographic material on the Internet.

By stating such a thing, the government had search engines and their records in mind. It has demanded information from all major search engines, Google being one of them. While a few of the engines responded to the request, Google refused to give two specific information: One is that Google provide the government with a "random sample" of one million website addresses found in Google's search engine index and the other is that it provide the government with the text of all queries filed on the search engine during a specific week.

As a result, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales filed a motion to force Google to comply with a government's subpoena. -The production of those materials would be of significant assistance to the Government's preparation of its defense of the constitutionality of this important statute, the motion filed reads. This information would help the government understand how often Web users encounter material considered "harmful to minors" as a result of using a search engine, and to determine how effective filtering software is, according to the motion.

Google's lawyer, Nicole Wong, said in a prepared statement: -Google is not a party to this lawsuit and their demand for information overreaches. We had lengthy discussions with them to try to resolve this, but were not able to and we intend to resist their motion vigorously.'


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