National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
Susan Wright, NCSF Spokesperson
On January 20, 2006, the U.S. Justice Department subpoenaed Google to compel the Internet search engine to turn over records on millions of its users' search queries. NCSF believes that Internet users have the right to an expectation of privacy in their web use, and supports Google's refusal to comply with the subpoena.
Google has stated that the government's request could expose identifying
information about its users, as well as being unnecessary, overly broad, and
onerous to comply with. The subpoena also requests a random list of a million Web addresses in Google's index. If the disclosed search logs show evidence of criminal activity, prosecutors could return with a second subpoena to demand the identification of one or more Internet addresses linked with those search terms.
The government has requested the data to establish a profile of Internet use to
help defend the controversial 1998 Child Online Protection Act. Under COPA, website operators face criminal charges for publishing sexually explicit material that may be considered "harmful" to minors, unless they have a way of verifying that viewers are over 17.
Though Google might be criticized for their business practices in China, where they have filtered keywords like "human rights" and "democracy" out of their search- engine results, in this case NCSF calls for support for Google in their opposition against the U.S. government's subpoena for search queries.