free html hit counter MSN: What We Gave the Govt. - John Battelle's Search Blog

MSN: What We Gave the Govt.

By - January 22, 2006

Here’s MSN’s response. In short: We gave info to the govt, but there was no personal info released.

Last night I watched Enemy of the State, which was one hell of a programming coup for ABC given the recent news. When it came out I was told it was a paranoid fantasy, by folks I know who would be in a position to know – at least back in 1998. But it’s a fantasy that I sense is shared, in a perverse way, by a lot of folks in the current administration. If only we had those kind of tools….

It’s been seven years since that movie was made. What’s happened in seven years? Well….Google, for one thing. And warrantless wiretaps, for another. And a major move from the ephemeral to the eternal. Fasten yer seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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4 thoughts on “MSN: What We Gave the Govt.

  1. It would be less likely for Bill Gates to fight the current administration – considering The DOJ, under the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, announced on September 6, 2001 that it was no longer seeking to break up Microsoft and would instead seek a lesser antitrust penalty; (The original Anti-trust suit was filed against Microsoft Corporation on May 18, 1998 under the Clinton Administation)

    Here are some interesting responses on the Official Microsoft Forum to a Thread started immediately after that Blog Topic debuted…

  2. SorenG says:

    MSN giving info does not surprise me, Yahoo does (I believe they passed along info as well, if I remember right from a previous article). I’ll keep using Google, now for other reasons besides search. Though I still do not completely trust what they plan to do with all the info they are gathering, at least they are challenging this.

  3. David says:


    As a reader from dear old Blighty, watching with a certain amount of alarm at what is going on, I have the following question: Has the US Government requested only US data (in which case the Search companies who complied MUST have handed over some form of IP data) or are they looking at a global sample. I ask, because if the issue truly is about accessibility to porn, then surely US laws are only applicable to US sites and using data from other countries (and indeed sites) is irrelevent to the issue at hand. Unless… and all of a sudden my thinking takes me down a dark road where US citizens are blocked from seeing stuff that the US government has deemed innappropriate.

    This actually smacks to me of a “let’s grab data and then figure out what we could do with it, and then go back to the search engines and really grab some info!” operation.

  4. Bruno says:

    Funny thing is that I was about to dump the Google toolbar and switch to Yahoo. Lately Google’s search quality has degraded (due primarily to scammers and the like manipulating search results), and I’ve never been happy with that scumbag Schmidt’s hypocritical take on privacy (the Cnet debacle showed that he didn’t think the “do no evil” applied to himself). But with Yahoo bending over so readily, I’m going to stick with Google for the time being. Of the two evils, Google is the lesser of the two for now. Kind of sad, if you ask me.