Google resists while Yahoo and MSN comply with federal subpeonas demanding millions of search reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The records were apparently sought last year as part of a Bush administration effort to “resuscitate laws protecting children from Internet pornography, blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago,” according to the story by (my colleague) Verne Kopytoff, who cites the “Big Brother” concerns of privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
I searched the Justice Department web site and found a briefing paper on child porn that says in part:
“The Internet allows images and digitized movies to be reproduced and disseminated to tens of thousands of individuals at the click of a button … The technological ease, lack of expense, and anonymity in obtaining and distributing child pornography has resulted in an explosion in the availability, accessibility, and volume of child pornography.”
To check the buzz in the blogosphere I visited (the blog search engine) Technorati and typed in “Google” and “Big Brother.” The most useful thing I found was a Wired News backgrounder on how search records are acquired and stored and what individuals can do to protect their own records. But it didn’t seem as if the issue had “lit up the switchboards,” so to speak. The top search terms when I visited included “Bin Laden” and “Jack Bauer.”
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media