Google Yahoo MSN AOL and other search engines record your search queries and maintain massive databases that reach into the most intimate details of your life. When revealed to others these details can be embarrassing and even cause great harm. Would you want strangers to know where you or your child work or go to school? How about everyone seeing searches that reference your medical history financial information sexual orientation or religious affiliation?
Unfortunately information stored with a third-party is given much weaker legal protection than that on your own computer. It can be all too easy for the government or individual litigants to get access to your search history and connect it with your identity.
Your search data demands more substantive legal and technical protections. Learn more about this issue below and take action to defend your privacy.
Google v. DoJ Subpoena
In January 2006 the Justice Department asked a federal court in San Jose California to force Google to turn over search records for use as evidence in a case where the government is defending the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). On March 17 2006 the judge rejected the government's overreaching request for user records.
EFF Related Content: Search Engines
- San Francisco's Electronic Frontier Foundation said of the leak, 'It's time for Google to acknowledge that it can do a better job of respecting the privacy of Web users.'
- The services will no longer be available to anyone who doesn't agree to the new policies but Internet users are not totally helpless and can take control of their own Google data protection by following a few useful tips. Deactivate your web protocol: Google uses a so-called web protocol to...
- Google does hand over user data in response to government requests on a regular basis, as noted in the company's Transparency Report . The EFF notes that disabling Web History "does not change the fact that any information gathered and stored by Google could be sought by law enforcement."
- Digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said, "This protection was especially important because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more."