I'm shaking my head over the report Federal prosecutors want Google search data. It seems a little poorly-timed, coming as it does during an escalating row over the government's domestic spying (reg.req). Kudos to Google for refusing to turn over the data. Google's press office doesn't have anything up yet, but I'll keep checking. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported:
"This is the government's nose under the search engine's tent. Once we cross this line it will be very difficult to turn back," said Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a [Washington]-based nonprofit group that advocates privacy protections. "If companies like Google respond to this kind of subpoena... I don't see why the next subpoena might not say, 'Give us what we asked for the last time—plus a little more.'
"Google has always been a kind of ticking privacy bomb because Google retains personally identifiable information," he added. "Even though Google may intend to protect online privacy, there will be circumstances beyond their control that will place Internet users at risk, and they include government warrants, as in this case, or future security breaches which have plagued the financial services sector over the past couple of years."
In an unrelated report of Bush administration political meddling with science, evidence that whale beachings in North Carolina may have been caused by U.S. Navy sonar tests disappeared between drafts:
The federal court order to release the report came at an awkward time for [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and the Navy, which has been holding public hearings on its controversial plan to build an underwater sonar training range.
Only 1,096 days left in this administration...