Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More on Google

What is COPA? It was a 1998 Child Online Protection Act (COPA). The act required credit card or age verification for access to adult sites. The Supreme Court struck down the act citing a First Amendment violation and said that the Government should devise a less intrusive revision of the law or prove that the law does not violate the First Amendment.

The Department of Justice has argued that Internet filtering software was ineffective, the solution must be the COPA. The Government has subpoenaed Google, as well as other search engines, seeking a large amount of information from their databases. The Government hopes to prove how much pornography is returned in search results and show that we should return to COPA.

While other search engines complied with the Government’s request, Google has not. They have argued that it would violate privacy rights of users and also reveal trade secrets. According to an IIT article, a “privacy advocate said that it sets a dangerous precedent – it opens the door to subpoenaing Google and other companies for “national security” reasons, such as the IP addresses of anyone who searched for information on bomb making.”

More on the idea that this might be a slippery slope later.

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