Privacy Groups, Goverment Officials Comment on Privacy and Web Search

A new Reuters article: Privacy experts condemn Google subpoena, offers a review of what several people who monitor privacy issue have to say about Google’s decision not to share data with the government. Danny is quoted in the story.

Key quotes:

“This is the camel’s nose under the tent for using search engines and all kinds of data aggregators as surveillance tools,” said Jim Harper of the libertarian Cato Institute who also runs, an Internet privacy database.

A Google representative said the company objected to the breadth of the government’s request but did not consider it to be a privacy issue since the search terms would not include personally identifiable details. But others were not reassured. Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey, the ranking Democrat on the telecommunications subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he would introduce a bill to strengthen consumers’ Internet privacy by prohibiting the storage of personally identifiable information in Internet searches beyond a reasonable time.

Ari Schwartz of the Center for Democracy and Technology said he was glad Google was fighting the case but the company needed to make privacy a more fundamental part of its products.

On the other side, the Cincinnati-based National Coalition for Protection of Children and Families, a Christian fundamentalist group, said search companies should be willing to help the government defend children from pornography. “I’m disappointed Google did not want to exercise its good corporate branding to secure the protection of youth,” said Jack Samad, the group’s senior vice president.

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