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In this area reexamine the arguments made by the U.S. Government and by Google regarding the government�s request for information about user�s search requests made during the summer of 2005.  Are the government�s reasons for why it should have access to that information reasonable?  Does Google have an obligation to protect the personal information of its users, with respect to disclosing information about their searches?  Could this obligation be overridden by certain kinds of national defense interests? If, for example, the government claimed to need the information to prevent a potential terrorist attack, would that have changed your analysis of the situation?  Or does the government have the right, and possibly an obligation to the majority of its citizens, to monitor the searches if doing so could positively affect the outcome of child pornography legislation?


Reply to this post below:

The government’s request for information from Google was reasonable, because they originally stated that were trying to prevent another terrorist attack.  The problem I have with the request though, was it was not their actual intention and they were trying to gather information to help prevent online child pornography.   Both great causes, but I am unsure why they felt a need to lie and when you start lying to people about why you are doing something, it is of course going to make them uneasy about future requests.


 If Google has a policy in place that tells their users they won’t disclose their search history, then it seems they should stick by that.  However, if you tell people searches are monitored to help prevent terrorist attacks or children being harmed by sexual predators, then it seems like common sense to let people have access to the search histories.   I have no problem letting the government have access to my search history, which I know taken out of context will have embarrassing stuff in it, but I would much rather have all our data watched if it means stopping innocents from dying or being molested.  The problem a lot of people have is with the transparency relating to this topic. Who is watching the people watching our searches?  That’s what I think a lot of privacy advocates don’t like, but to be fair, you can’t really tell sexual predators and terrorist how and when you are watching them, can you?  I know a lot of rational and conspiracy-slanted people that like to imagine a “1984” type situation where we are being monitored in every way by the government, but real, tangible cases of this is nowhere near the number of terrorist attacks and sexual crimes committed.  It’s my opinion that Google should do what it can to help stop actual, everyday threats, not imagined ones.


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