Sunday, February 26, 2006

Hey! We're the Government and Just Here to Help You!

Justice Dept. Rejects Google's Privacy Issues - New York Times:
“Google Inc.'s concerns that a Bush administration demand to examine millions of its users' Internet search requests would violate privacy rights are unwarranted, the Justice Department said Friday in a court filing.

The 18-page brief argued that because the information provided would not identify or be traceable to specific users, privacy rights would not be violated.

The brief was the Justice Department's reply to arguments filed by Google last week. Google has rebuffed the government's demand to review a week of its search requests.

The department believes that the information will help revive an online child protection law that the Supreme Court has blocked. By showing the wide variety of Web sites that people find through search engines, the government hopes to prove that Internet filters are not strong enough to prevent children from viewing pornography and other inappropriate material online. ”

Given the constantly improving capabilities of search engines, information that can't be used to identify individuals today can hardly be guaranteed to remain unidentifiable. In many cases, the information the government seeks may require them to try to identify individuals. So, anyone who claims to know where this will stop is either naive or duplicitous. Individuals are innocent until proven guilty. Governments, despite the years of spin, bear the burden of proof in our system, because government is guilty until proven innocent. Until we change the constitution, even though most people seem conditioned to believe that individuals must prove themselves innocent, the justice department, the executive branch, under our law is presumed to be in the wrong until they prove otherwise. Alfred Ingram

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/national/26google.html
con·cept: Hey! We're the Government and Just Here to Help You!