Google was due some good news, and yesterday (sorry, was traveling to Spring Training with my son…) it got some. From the Google Blog:
Google will not have to hand over any user’s search queries to the government. That’s what a federal judge ruled today when he decided to drastically limit a subpoena issued to Google by the Department of Justice. (You can read the entire ruling here and the government’s original subpoena here.)
The government’s original request demanded billions of URLs and two month’s worth of users’ search queries. Google resisted the subpoena, prompting the judge’s order today. In addition to excluding search queries from the subpoena, Judge James Ware also required the government to limit its demand for URLs to 50,000. We will fully comply with the judge’s order.
Google PR also sent me over this response, from Nicole Wong, associate general counsel:
“This is a clear victory for our users. The subpoena has been drastically limited, most importantly the order excludes search queries.”
I laud Google for going to the mat on this. It could have just rolled over, as did several others. My earlier converage on this, and speculation on why Google was so motivated to fight, here and here (What’s the Big Deal?!).