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More On The Slippery Slope

By - January 22, 2006

The last graf of Steven Levy’s Newsweek piece:

Though the government intends to use these data specifically for its COPA-related test, it’s possible that the information could lead to further investigations and, perhaps, subpoenas to find out who was doing the searching. What if certain search terms indicated that people were contemplating terrorist actions or other criminal activities? Says the DOJ’s Miller, “I’m assuming that if something raised alarms, we would hand it over to the proper [authorities].” Privacy advocates fear that if the government request is upheld, it will open the door to further government examination of search behavior. One solution would be for Google to stop storing the information, but the company hopes to eventually use the personal information of consenting customers to improve search performance. “Search is a window into people’s personalities,” says Kurt Opsahl, an Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney. “They should be able to take advantage of the Internet without worrying about Big Brother looking over their shoulders.”

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3 thoughts on “More On The Slippery Slope

  1. Charbax says:

    What if Google was state-owned state controlled company. Thus the government in power would have the “window into people’s personalities”, and the minority party would not have access to this information. Thus the government in power would be able to stay in power forever, as they would allways feed the public with informations spinned to fit with their current opinion. Feeding the public with the information they want, and they will more likely vote for you.

    Hopefully there is a limit in how much one can learn about people’s personalities just by reading their logs of interaction with the computer on the internet.

    Thanks alot for the nice video at:
    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=battelle

  2. Martin Bebow says:

    So we should be able to search for things like bomb making instructions or child porography free from worry about being caught? This takes privacy too far. We are social beings and there are certain kinds of behaviour that are out of bounds and we have no right to expect privacy in the expression of those behaviours. Are you worried that the government will find out that you are sexually promiscuous or that you are a Nazi? Any government that in some way uses it’s knowledge that you are sexually promiscuous is violating a trust with the people and the people will no doubt bring it down in time. The government has a duty to ferret out Nazis in any way it can. This is not an issue of individual rights but of societal necessities. Some individuals may be hurt but society as a whole will benefit. If enough individuals are hurt then society will start to hurt and a change will happen. No unjust government can last for any length of time.

  3. Martin Bebow says:

    Charbax. But Google is not a state company. Don’t posit impossibilities. In the world as it is developing Google COULD NOT be a state company.