« Web Sites Offer Anonymous Venting | Main | French To Vote on Competition in Music Downloads »

March 20, 2006

Judge Orders Google to Turn Over Limited Data in COPA Case

In an opinion released last Friday, Judge James Ware ordered Google to turn over some of the data the government was seeking in defense of the Online Child Protection Act (COPA).  The government had continuously narrowed its request for URLs and searches in Google's database, originally numbered in the millions of items, to 50,000 URLs and 5000 sample searches.  Of these, the government said its experts would look at 10,000 and 1,000 respectively.

Judge Ware granted the government's request for 50,000 URLs, noting that divorced from personal information, the data was likely to lead to discoverable evidence in the underlying litigation being conducted in Philadelphia.  He did not, however, grant the request for sample queries, saying essentially, that the government had queries from AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft which would make the Google request redundant.  Judge Ware also considered the privacy aspects of the government's request, given that people make vanity searches of themselves, as well as personal information such as their own social security numbers just to see what's out there.  But since he determined that the government did not need Google searches, he did not go beyond raising these issues.

Beyond that, Judge Ware ordered that the information turned over to the government be kept confidential, and that technical representatives from both sides work out a mutually agreeable methodology for producing the information.  Google has said that it does not keep documents on hand that contained the information in the form that the government sought.  The government has offered to pay for programming to create the data, and Judge Ware included this as a requirement in his order.

A PDF copy of the 21 page order is here.

March 20, 2006 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Judge Orders Google to Turn Over Limited Data in COPA Case:


Post a comment