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Google forced to reveal websites, but not search terms

In the battle of Goliath vs. Goliath, aka The US Government vs. Google the search engine has been told that they should reveal 50,000 URLs on Google's database. This was only a half win for the US Government however, who wanted search terms rather than URLs.

Judge James Ware of the U.S. District for the Northern District of California said that privacy concerns of Google's users led him to reject part of the Justice Departments request. "To the extent the motion seeks an order compelling Google to disclose search queries of its users the motion is denied," Ware wrote in the 21 page ruling.

The order "gets the government what it probably needed, not what it wanted", said Serwin, a partner with Foley & Lardner when speaking to Reuters. Speaking on his blog, Nicole Wong, Google's associate general counsel said "What his ruling means is that neither the government nor anyone else has carte blanche when demanding data from Internet companies".

"The expectation of privacy by some Google users may not be reasonable, but may nonetheless have an appreciable impact on the way in which Google is perceived, and consequently the frequency with which users use Google," Ware wrote. Essentially this ruling is a win for privacy, no data entered by users will be given to the US government, instead only websites indexed by Google.

View: Google Blog

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