2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 20, 2006
request for list of search entries
Bush administration sees online
database of information as vital to
uphold online child protection laws
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Google Inc. is
rebuffing the Bush administration's demand for a
peek at what millions of people have been look-
ing up on the Internet's leading search engine
- a request that underscores the potential for
online databases to become tools for government
Mountain View-based Google has refused to com-
ply with a White House subpoena first issued last
summer, prompting U.S. Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales this week to ask a federal judge in San Jose
for an order to hand over the requested records.
The government wants a list of all requests
entered into Google's search engine during an
unspecified single week - a breakdown that could
conceivably span tens of millions of queries. In
addition, it seeks 1 million randomly selected Web
addresses from various Google databases.
In court papers that the San Jose Mercury
News reported on after seeing them Wednesday,
the Bush administration depicts the information
as vital in its effort to restore online child protec-
tion laws that have been struck down by the U.S.
Yahoo Inc., which runs the Internet's second-
most used search engine behind Google, con-
firmed yesterday that it had complied with a
similar government subpoena.
Although the government says it isn't seeking any
data that ties personal information to search requests,
the subpoena still raises serious privacy concerns,
experts said. Those worries have been magnified by
recent revelations that the White House authorized
eavesdropping on civilian communications after the
Sept. 11 attacks without obtaining court approval.
"Search engines now play such an important part
in our daily lives that many people probably contact
Google more often than they do their own mother," said
Thomas Burke, a San Francisco attorney who has han-
dled several prominent cases involving privacy issues.
"Just as most people would be upset if the gov-
Google CEO and University alum Larry Page introduces Google Talk Beta, a free global online Instant messaging
and talk software application Jan. 6, at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, in Las Vegas. Google Inc. rebuffs
the Bush administration's request, in a porn probe, for a broad range of information from the search engine.
ernment wanted to know how much you called your
mother and what you talked about, they should be
upset about this, too."
The content of search request sometimes contain
information about the person making the query.
For instance, it's not unusual for search requests
to include names, medical profiles or Social Security
information, said Pam Dixon, executive director for
the World Privacy Forum.
"This is exactly the kind of thing we have been wor-
rying about with search engines for some time," Dixon
said. "Google should be commended for fighting this."
Every other search engine served similar subpoe-
nas by the Bush administration has complied so far,
according to court documents. The cooperating search
engines weren't identified.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo stressed that it
didn't reveal any personal information. "We are rigor-
ous defenders of our users' privacy," Yahoo spokes-
woman Mary Osako said yesterday. "In our opinion,
this is not a privacy issue."
Microsoft Corp. MSN, the No. 3 search engine,
declined to say whether it even received a similar
subpoena. "MSN works closely with law enforcement
officials worldwide to assist them when requested,"
the company said in a statement.
TEL AVIV, Israel
Palestinian suicide bomber injures 20
A Palestinian suicide bomber posing as a peddler blew himself up in a Tel
Aviv fast-food restaurant yesterday and wounded 20 people in an apparent
attempt to destabilize the region a week before Palestinian elections.
Islamic Jihad, the only Palestinian faction boycotting the vote, claimed
responsibility. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas accused the group of try-
ing to sabotage the Jan. 25 election.
The Israeli response will be a key test for acting Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert, who took over after Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke earlier
this month. The bombing came two days after Olmert said he is ready to
resume peace talks following Israel's March election, provided Abbas dis-
The bomber, who witnesses said posed as a peddler selling disposable
razors, walked into the restaurant and blew himself up even though most
of the customers were sitting relatively far away at sidewalk tables, police
spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.
NASA probe starts nine-year trip to Pluto
An unmanned NASA spacecraft the size and shape of a concert piano hur-
tled toward Pluto yesterday on a 3-billion-mile journey to the solar system's last
unexplored planet - a voyage so long that some of the scientists who will be
celebrating its arrival are still in junior high.
The New Horizons spacecraft blasted off aboard an Atlas V rocket in a spec-
tacular start to the $700 million mission. Though it is the fastest spacecraft ever
launched, capable of reaching 36,000 mph, it will take 9 1/2 years to reach Pluto
and the frozen, sunless reaches of the solar system.
"God has laid out the solar system in a way that requires a certain amount
of patience on the part of those who choose to explore it," NASA administrator
Michael Griffin said.
The probe, powered by 24 pounds of plutonium, will not land on Pluto but
will photograph it, analyze its atmosphere and send data back across the solar
system to Earth.
Report: Clinton thwarted Cisneros probe
The independent counsel who investigated former Housing Secretary Henry
Cisneros charged in his final report yesterday that the Clinton administration
thwarted his investigation, drawing the curtain on the longest-ever probe under a
post-Watergate era reform law.
Officials who worked in the Clinton administration flatly deny the allega-
tions by prosecutor David Barrett, who has concluded the most protracted
investigation of its kind ever undertaken. His report, closing a decade-long
probe, details a behind-the-scenes battle inside the government as he tried to
look into possible tax violations by Cisneros.
Cisneros, who was housing secretary during the Clinton administration,
pleaded guilty in 1999 to a misdemeanor of lying to the FBI about payments to
a former mistress.
Twin bombings kill more than a dozen Iraqis
Two near-simultaneous bombings targeted a crowded downtown Baghdad cof-
fee shop and a nearby restaurant yesterday, killing more than a dozen people. The
attacks came as a foreign assessment team reported evidence of fraud in the Dec.
15 elections, but did not endorse calls for a rerun.
The bombings occurred despite government moves to heighten security as the
election commission prepares to announce the election results. The announce-
ment, which could come Friday, sets the stage for talks on a new national unity
government U.S. officials hope will help calm the insurgency and enable the
United States to begin withdrawing its 140,000 troops.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
A story on the front page of yesterday's Daily (Alum battles book censorship) mis-
spelled Cammie Mannino's last name.
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420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1327
says nominee would only
act in interest of Bush
WASHINGTON (AP) - Demo-
cratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said yes-
terday he will oppose Supreme
Court nominee Samuel Alito's con-
firmation, saying he did not believe
the conservative judge would be
independent of President Bush and
the executive branch in his future
"At a time when the president
is seizing unprecedented power,
the Supreme Court needs to act as
a check and to provide balance,"
Leahy, the ranking Democrat on
the Judiciary Committee, said in a
speech at Georgetown University's
law school. "Based on the hearing
and his record, I have no confidence
that Judge Alito would provide that
check and balance."
It is not a surprise that Vermont
senator is voting against Alito. He was
one of the nominee's harshest interro-
gators at Alito's confirmation hearings
Leahy also has been a critic of
President Bush and the White House's
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