[IP] I strongly afree with this djf Google search and

Lee Tien tien at eff.org
Sat Dec 3 02:48:00 PST 2005


For IP if you wish.

Libraries have long sought to protect circulation records out of
concern for both privacy and freedom to read.
Libraries and the American Library Association have been openly
fighting government orders for their records.
See http://www.komotv.com/news/story.asp?ID=33363  ("Small Town
Library Takes On The Feds") and
http://www.ctlibrarians.org/news/patriotact.html (discussing
Connecticut library NSL case)

Indeed, some libraries have instituted records purging policies to
protect against government subpoenas.
("While there are some service benefits to keeping detailed records,
the risks of compromising your privacy outweigh these benefits.
Therefore, we are planning to purge all patron records with your
personally identifiable information on them once the materials are
returned and the fines are paid.")

What about search engines?

The data retention issue is only getting worse from a privacy
standpoint; the EU is moving toward mandatory telecom traffic data
retention. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/12/02/ap/world/
>BRUSSELS, Belgium, Dec. 2, 2005
>(AP) European justice and interior ministers agreed Friday on plans
>binding telecommunications companies to retain records of phone
>call and e-mails for a minimum of six months for use in
>investigations into terrorism and other serious crimes.

For more on EU data retention, see http://www.statewatch.org/eu-data-


At 1:47 PM -0500 12/3/05, David Farber wrote:
>Begin forwarded message:
>From: "Richard M. Smith" <rms at computerbytesman.com>
>Date: December 3, 2005 8:57:59 AM EST
>To: EPIC_IDOF at mailman.epic.org
>Subject: [EPIC_IDOF] Google search and seizure
>Google search and seizure
>By Robert Kuttner  |  December 3, 2005
>The Boston Globe
>THE NEW York Times recently reported that in a North Carolina
>strangulation-murder trial, prosecutors introduced as evidence the
>fact that
>the defendant's Google searches had included the words ''neck" and
>The Times noted that the evidence had come from the defendant's home
>computer, but could just as easily have come from Google.
>Google's whole business-model includes keeping track of users'
>searches by
>putting ''cookies" (tracking devices) on users' own computers, and
>using the results to customize ad offerings that pop up when we use
>ingenious free search service.
>In the era of the misnamed USA Patriot Act, which allows
>warrantless police
>searches that are not even disclosed to the target, Google plus
>Dick Cheney
>is a recipe for undoing the liberties for which the original
>patriots of the
>American Revolution bled and died. Under the Patriot Act, anyone
>of enabling terrorism can be subjected to these fishing expeditions.
>Depending on a prosecutor's whims, that includes all of us.
>In the 18th-century era of star-chamber courts and despotic
>monarchs, the US
>Constitution put an end to government as prosecutor, judge, and jury.
>Unreasonable searches and seizures were explicitly prohibited by
>the Sixth
>Amendment. People (not just citizens) were guaranteed the right to
>their accusers and to know the charges against them. There were no
>''national security" loopholes.
>Google's internal slogan is, charmingly, ''Don't be evil." Well, the
>interaction of cyber-snooping and the unreasonable searches
>authorized by
>the Patriot Act is pure evil.
>Herewith an idea that I am putting into the public domain, which
>could make
>some computer-whiz a billionaire: One of Google's competitors could
>guarantee users of its search engines that all data keeping track of
>searches will be permanently discarded after 24 hours. The search
>could still learn a broad pattern of users' purchasing tastes, if
>we wish to
>be party to a bargain of being marketed to in exchange for the
>of free searches.
>The same libertarian computer entrepreneur could offer e-mail
>software, in
>which old messages are permanently erased unless the user
>deliberately opts
>to retain them.
>Google, like Microsoft and IBM before it, may be the current market
>in whiz-bang technology based on sheer inventive genius. But if
>Google is
>not careful, some competitor with a genuine regard for privacy could
>displace it.
>We all grew up vaguely knowing that 20th century technology, under
>narrow circumstances, could invade privacy. The phone company kept
>track of
>everyone's calling records. These could be subpoenaed. Prosecutors and
>detectives, with warrants approved by judges, could deploy telephone
>wiretaps. There were occasional abuses, as in the witch hunts of
>the 1950s,
>but for the most part these technological invasions of privacy were
>against bad guys, not for broad fishing expeditions. And there was
>no e-mail
>and no Google.
>Today, however, the explosion of computer technology coupled with the
>discarding of prosecutorial restraints is leading to a Big-Brother
>Unless we pay attention, the technology is so seductive that we become
>enablers of our own enslavement.
>The universal information that is so empowering could be enslaving in
>another respect. Check out a little satire available on the
>Internet titled
>EPIC 2014. It is a short, dystopian picture of the next 10 years.
>EPIC stands for the Evolving Personalized Information Construct. In
>grim view of the near future, Google merges with Amazon and becomes
>''Google-zon," the ultimate information market monopoly.
>By 2014, the press as we know it no longer exists. Google-zon
>usurps the
>press's advertising base by ultra-customizing all ads. There is no
>the traditional craft of reporter or editor. Newspapers go out of
>or become small niche products.
>''Everyone contributes now -- from blog entries to phone-cam
>images, to
>video reports, to full investigations," the video says. Everyone is
>a news
>producer as well as a news consumer, and it's almost impossible to
>differentiate journalism from junk. Computers strip and splice
>items, based
>on each user's past interests, pattern of use, and declared
>News is prioritized according to how many users read each item. Ads
>similarly customized. We are universally connected, but universally
>fragmented and universally vulnerable to misinformation and
>government and
>commercial snooping.
>The marketplace may solve this dilemma by offering privacy-sensitive
>products, but entrepreneurs may also make the problem worse. The
>cries out for political as well as commercial leadership.
>Correction: Last week's column referred to Warren Tolman. It should
>been Steven Tolman.
>Robert Kuttner, co-editor of The American Prospect, can be reached at
>kuttner at prospect.org. His column appears regularly in the Globe.
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... it is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could
someday facilitate a police state. -- Bruce Schneier

Lee Tien
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco, CA  94110
(415) 436-9333 x 102 (tel)
(415) 436-9993 (fax)
tien at eff.org

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