Google fights Bush court motion
Search giant resists records request by Justice Department, citing privacy concerns.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Google Inc. said it intends to "vigorously" resist the Bush administration's request that a court order the popular Web site to turn over a broad range of materials.
"Google is not a party to this lawsuit and their demand for information overreaches," said Nicole Wong, associate general counsel for Google Inc. in a written statement to CNN. "We had lengthy discussions with them to try to resolve this, but were not able to and we intend to resist their motion vigorously."
The motion was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif.
The lawsuit is the government's attempt to revive the 1998 Child Online Protection Act (COPA) which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court on grounds it violated the First Amendment. COPA was enacted by Congress with the aim of protecting minors from potentially harmful effects of sexually explicit material on the Internet.
As directed by the Supreme Court, the government is now developing its defense of the constitutionality of COPA -- specifically that COPA is more effective than filtering software in protecting minors from exposure to harmful material on the Internet.
The lawsuit indicates that the government is narrowing its original subpoena from July 31, 2005, requesting Google to produce an electronic file containing "all URLs that are available to be located through a query on the company's Web site," plus "all queries that have been entered on the company's Web site between June 1, 2005, and July 31, 2005."
The Justice Department is now asking for "a multi-stage random sampling of one million URLs" and "the text of each search string entered onto Google's search engine over a one-week period."
Google does not want to produce information identifying the users of its search engines, according to the lawsuit. The Justice Department calls this concern "illusory."
The government states that it has received cooperation from other companies that operate search engines, and states the Mountain View, Calif.-based company should have no difficulty complying in the same way as its competitors.
The lawsuit also said, "because Google has the largest share of the Web search market, its response to the subpoena would be of value to the government in its development of its overall sample of queries."
The government also states that Google argues the subpoena would require it to disclose trade secrets, namely the number of URLs in its database and the number of servers it uses to maintain the database. The Justice Department contends a protective order has been included as part of the litigation, and that Google is relying on speculation.
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