Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Slippery Slope?

In the previous post, I wrote about COPA and the Government’s request for Google’s record. Some say that this might be the beginning of a slippery slope. In November, Search Engine Watch wrote about a man who was convicted of killing his wife partly because law enforcement authorities discovered that he used Google to search for “neck,” “snap,” and “hold.”

The authorities did not get that information from Google, but from the man’s ISP. Basically, everything you do on the Internet is recorded on your computer – in your cache, in your browser history, and possibly stored by your ISP. Your ISP can see pages you are requesting and may store some amount of records that you’ve requested for a specific period of time.

You know, personally I’m glad they caught this guy. The concern over the Government getting involved in combing through search records sounds familiar doesn’t it? Battelle has a post that suggests that while:

"...the government intends to use these data specifically for its COPA-related test, it's possible that the information could lead to further investigations and, perhaps, subpoenas to find out who was doing the searching. What if certain search terms indicated that people were contemplating terrorist actions or other criminal activities? Says the DOJ's Miller, "I'm assuming that if something raised alarms, we would hand it over to the proper [authorities]." Privacy advocates fear that if the government request is upheld, it will open the door to further government examination of search behavior."

A phrase often attributed to Franklin is: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

What do you value more?

Categories: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home