Saturday, January 21, 2006

Warranted Searches and Seizures

Nope, I'm just going to skip right over the whole wiretapping/domestic spying thing and go straight to the government's subpoena of Google. I'm not sure why the government has the right to do this. It seems like the definition of a fishing expedition. Except that they aren't fishing to charge Google with anything. They're trying to gather data to make a case for bringing back a law that has been blocked by the Supreme Court. Are they really allowed to do this? Are companies required to hand over information even if their company, their employees, their customers, and anyone else connected to them are not under investigation? Hey, Cigna! I think your records might help me make a case for healthcare reform. Hand 'em over.

So what makes a search and seizure warranted as described in the fourth ammendment? It doesn't explicitly state that it has to be connected with a crime. Just that it must be "reasonable" than there must be probable cause. Is it reasonable for the government to want mine company databases for "random" information? It just seems flakey to me. If Google takes it's case to the Supreme Court, the decision could have far reaching consequences in the age of electronic databases and intellectual property. If they can request a random week's worth of data on searches, why not a weeks worth of data on purchases by credit card customers? Or claims filed with insurance companies?

16 Comments:

Blogger Jody said...

It doesn't appear to be a criminal investigation (see this) so 4th amendment issues don't really applied.

Rather, based on the article you linked, it appears that the government has been sued over the 1998 Child Online Protection Act and are simply subpoening related material as any defendant is permitted.

1/21/2006 11:09 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Round the world before it could even get its pants on...

NYT now says google govt inquiry has nothing to do with associating users and searches.

Have I mentioned of what low regard I hold the Times? At least they updated the story, but before rushing in, they could've, you know, read the motions on which the story was based.

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