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U.S. Government Wants Google Search Records 917

Posted by Zonk
from the proud-to-be-an-american? dept.
JimBridgerBowl writes "According to the San Jose Mercury News, The Bush administration wants access to Google's huge database of search queries submitted by users to track how often pornography is returned in results. This information would be used for Bush's appeal of the 2004 COPA law, targeted to prevent access to pornography by children. The law was struck down because it would have restricted adults access to legal pornography. Google is promising to fight the release of this information." From the article: "The Supreme Court invited the government to either come up with a less drastic version of the law or go to trial to prove that the statute does not violate the First Amendment and is the only viable way to combat child porn. As a result, government lawyers said in court papers they are developing a defense of the 1998 law based on the argument that it is far more effective than software filters in protecting children from porn."
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U.S. Government Wants Google Search Records

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  • Results are in (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jaymzter (452402) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @09:52AM (#14508666) Homepage
    I've got the results right here [google.com].

    Interestingly enough, the first results all deal with being victimized by pornography. There goes my buzz.
  • Re:Age ranges? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tolan-b (230077) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @09:55AM (#14508688)
    I get the impression they want to find out how easy it is to stumble across porn when you're not looking for it. Probably particularly when safesearch is enabled.
  • by bobamu (943639) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @09:57AM (#14508710)
    Yeah right, like they really give a crap about that, I'm sure they are more inclined to want to see the details of Bush sucks [google.com] and Diy Nukes [google.com] but I could be mistaken.

    (no black helicopters were harmed while making this comment).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:05AM (#14508765)
    In other news, the Bush administration wants to look through Google's records to see how often search results included critique of the war in Iraq

    They already did that [whitehouse.gov]

    a

  • Re:Miserable failure (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:06AM (#14508769)
    The same term was applied to Lincoln while in office. Only time will tell, not your partisan premonitions, will tell.
  • by StressGuy (472374) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:06AM (#14508774)
    First off, while there may be obvious pornographic search terms, the range of human fetishes is such that otherwise innocuous searches are actually searches for sexually oriented material (feet, smoking, chewing gum, darn near anything else I imagine). So, it would seem to me that it would be more productive to focus on which search results were actually followed.

    Also, just because a search term has a sexual/fetish connotation is not sufficient to imply a search for pornographic material. Even if it is, it does not explain the motive. Case in point, there is a registered sex offender in my neighborhood. From the local sex offender database, it appears he had either received or downloaded child pornagraphy. I have two young children. So, I'd like to know more about this particular type of fetish. However, if my understanding of the law is correct, an attempt to research this on the internet could put me in the position of violating the same law that required him to register as a sex offender.

    My purpose is not to obtain illicit material, but rather to get inside the head of someone who may be a danger to my children. How would Bush or anyone else know the difference based upon a Google search?
  • Information (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:13AM (#14508827)
    Google is promising to fight the release of this information

    To be honest, I'd far rather they didn't have to fight this because they didn't actually keep the information in the first place.

  • by TGK (262438) <Killfile&Nephandus,Com> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:15AM (#14508839) Homepage Journal
    Has anyone else read "The Search?" In it, the author discusses how Google's search logs could be utilized as a kind of "database of intentions" if you could apply sufficiently sophisticated datamining techniqes to it. In other words - that based on a persons past search history you can construe not just what they searched for, but what they were really LOOKING for - and infer other things that such a person might want or do.

    Scary
  • So...it has begun... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MindPrison (864299) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:15AM (#14508844) Journal
    As if they didnt already?

    Wake up people. While I am all for Google and Share the knowledge with everyone policy - I am less for the privacy issue that arises here. You all know it - Gooooooogle ADS are everywhere and you have a couple of cookies that identify you. Probably not the Slashdotters as we regularly clean our cache, but people with less knowledge will eventually suffer privacy issues.

    As far as I am concerned - Google is the smartest internet move in the world. CIA, FBI and NSA loves this stuff. Why do you think the "military" abandoned the internet to the public? Imagine if you create a system that everyone uses...and Imagine you have full access to it...given all of that...you dont really need that much imagination to imagine how bad this COULD be. You can monitor just about anyone and everyone - find out their habits, what do they like? Are Johnny-Pedo watching the "family-album" on a Gooooooogle ADS partner online-photo-album today? If so...is he also logging onto his GMAIL today? Maybe Alichk-WoludbeTerrorist is visiting the do-it-yourself-bombmaker site a bit too frequently and of course using his nice free big juicy google mailbox?

    While thats kind of obvious to most of us...there is something FAR more sinister at hand...something you might need to be a bit of a paranoid person to think of (like me!)

    Imagine that youre a worried "family dad" and want to educate yourself, finding out what "bad stuff" there is out there and what your family could be subjected to, or just curious in general. Imagine that you are subscribing to the same Goooooogle ADS partner sites and you are a man of your habits...you read certain news in online newspapers with great interest, you also give up what you prefer to eat, what people you hang with, which chat groups you visit, what products you prefer etc. All this can and WILL create a profile of you which Google easily can use for 2 things. 1) Direct their marketing at you with almost lethal accuracy and 2) Sell your information to the highest bidder...wether this is the government that make a "sweet trade-deal" with them...or the sinister business corporate that want to make sure that they only get "pure and clean" employees that fit the "corporate profile". This kind of information is worth more than Gold these days.

    All that I am saying guys...is...Honestly, if you didnt see this coming then youre simply to plain naive. Remember - Knowledge is YOUR power too.
  • by Paladin144 (676391) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:20AM (#14508886) Homepage
    From TFA:

    In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.

    Why should the government be able to access Google's privately-held database, which contains sensitive information about millions of users, just so the government can try to defend a poorly written law? I see this as nothing more than a fishing expedition. Lord knows half the searches on google are probably for porn-related stuff, which the government could use damned lies and statistics to "prove" is bad for children. But the government has no right to demand this information.

    You know what's really bad for children? A tyrannical government bent on taking away the rights and liberties of its citizens. Will a child born today even taste freedom after they reach age 18? The way things are going, I rather doubt it.

    I hope Google fights this all the way and wins.

  • by IAAP (937607) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:24AM (#14508911)
    religions.

    I think the Administration and their "base" really need to start thinking about that.

    If I have a child that needs to be protected from porn, then he'll neeed to be protected from that violence and sex that's in the Bible.

  • by Caspian (99221) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:27AM (#14508927)
    At first, I thought that you might have simply been conjecturing or being sarcastic. Nevertheless, I searched for the quote:
    "We need to see how much of the political commentary online is speech protected by the First Amendment, and how much is dangerous speech that can't be allowed in these extraordinary times," a Whitehouse spokesman said.
    I cannot find this quote anywhere on Google. (And yes, I Googled subphrases; it's nowhere, nor is a close alteration of it.)

    Sorry if I'm interpreting your comment unnecessarily literally, but this isn't a real quote. Just wanted to point that out.
  • by penix1 (722987) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:29AM (#14508947) Homepage
    "The only problem with that is if a search engine refused to keep records of what was searched for and perhaps which links were taken, how could the engines ever improve their effectiveness?

    It's a double-sided sword. It cuts both ways."

    I have seen this bandied about several times...It is utter bunk. Pray, tell us how keeping track of searches "improve their effectiveness"? The only thing it does is allow for targeted advertising. It has nothing to do with improving anything other than their income.

    B.
  • In Soviet Amerika (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CristalShandaLear (762536) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:30AM (#14508961) Homepage Journal
    Considering that Bush has already shown that he is more than willing to spy on American citizens in the "homeland", and that he feels the rights accorded to him by the Patriot Act afford him anything he demands in the way of National Security, we should be warned. How long will it be before there is connection made, however farfetched, between terrorism and pornography that makes Google complicit in "giving aid and comfort to the enemey". Remember, if you're not with Bush & Co., you're with the terrorists.

    I can't read the above without realizing how paranoid it sounds. Still doesn't make me any less apprehensive.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:33AM (#14508976) Homepage Journal
    I want it too. I want to see how many searches for pornography originated from White House and Congressional IPs my tax dollars are supporting.
  • by M-G (44998) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:33AM (#14508981)
    Yes, and in this day of the Right's push for abstinence-only education, we're raising a generation of people who don't know a thing. Of course, even before this, sex ed was pretty lame.

    I remember as a pre-teen, my then nursing student sister bought my other sister a book called It's Your Body - A Woman's Guide to Gynecology. I frequently swiped it out of curiousity, and learned a great deal, as it thoroughly covered both male and female anatomy, birth control, STDs, etc. including many clinical pictures that will make you scared of STDs forever. When my daughter is old enough, she'll either get this book or something comparable.

    A quick look at Amazon shows the book is still out there, but the last revision is 1986, so it's certainly a bit dated in some information.
  • by M-G (44998) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:39AM (#14509023)
    Know what's scarier? Every bill Bush has signed into law has included "signing notes" where he writes comments about the law, which are frequently the administration's interpretation of it. They then hope to use that language to support their actions later. And Alito is a big supporter of these notes being legitimate. Welcome to a world where the President holds all the power....
  • by theo2112 (851915) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:51AM (#14509115)
    How long are we going to try and censor a picture of a breast before we accept that it is just a breast. Sex, and nudity is a fundemential part of being. Unless we plan to move the ways of creation into the lab (for all pregnancies) then the idea of censoring sex images is mindless. It is a fact of life. (Almost) none of us were created in a lab. Some were, that is understandable, but the vast majority of us were not delivered by the stork. Are you ready for this, our parents... HAD SEX. I know its a scarey thought, but its a fact. Once a child learns that it came from a man and a woman engaging is sexual intercourse, what is the harm in them seeing a depiction of it. We are arguing, essentialy, for this realization to be delayed 6-8 years. Why is some 10 year old seeing a picture, or even a movie, of a sex act so horrible. In the world we live in today there is no way to prevent this anyway. Lets say somehow, and it would have to be an act of god, they (bg brother) is able to prevent any minor from accessing a picture of anykind that depicts any sort of sex act, or nude body part; then what. This minor will simply look to another medium. This means no more cable TV, Playboys, Pinups, or R-rated movies for anyone. Becuase lets face it, there is no self destrucing mecanism on a playboy that will keep a minor from ever glancing over the pages.

    Trying to restrict the internet is a loosing battle. Why not put the efforts twards educating our children about the truths of sex, and sexual images. Because has anyone ever held up a town because they saw a naked woman with a naked man having sex. The answer is no. A resounding no. Perhaps if there was no reason for a child to have to scour the web to see what all of his friends are talking about at school, he wouldnt.

    But thats just my opinon
  • by dantheman82 (765429) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:51AM (#14509116) Homepage
    Google recently ticked me off bigtime! I've had a Google account for a long time (for Google Groups, Gmail) and that was fine. However, now I just noticed they have logged my searches without me ever opting in. In fact, I expressly didn't want this and never have. So, they have made personalized searches an opt-out process. That has gotten me very incensed and I'm not even sure I want the Google personalized homepage anymore. Talk about lack of privacy considerations...
  • by Kierthos (225954) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @10:54AM (#14509132) Homepage
    The obvious solution to make Google even more beloved among geeks (and to give the Bush administration the digitus impudicus) would be to start deleting the search results once they are no longer needed. Say, possibly on a weekly or daily basis?

    "Gee, I'm sorry Mr. Intrusive Government Agent. We don't actually keep those records any more."

    Anyway, it just smacks of something that the ACLU would love to be involved with.

    Kierthos
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin AT amiran DOT us> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:07AM (#14509259) Homepage Journal
    Yes. I thought that Republicans were supposed to be about personal accountability and especially about parental responsibility.

    With Democrats, we get unneeded and excessive government involvement in our personal lives.
    With Republicans, we get unneeded and excessive government involvement in our personal lives, along with unprecedented violations of civil rights and unbelievable corruption.

    I was saddended yesterday by the Supreme Court's decision in the latest abortion case.

    Why does no one see the irony in an administration that spouts off about, "A culture of respect for life in every stage", which then pushes for the death penalty for a wide range of crimes.

    A defending freedom and liberty, while infringing our rights at every turn, and NOT limited to the realm of national security.

    Hilariously, as a fairly old school conservative, the only policies of the Bush administration I can agree with was the supposed IRS reform bill (which never came), and the start of Iraq war 2 (which was our exit strategy from a 10-year announced war/bombing campaign). Both of these were botched miserably, and now we have the constitution figuratively on flames.

    WhiteWolf666 an exBush supporter. All you new-school, "compassionate" "save the children" 'Republicans' can rot in hell.

    P.S. last comment not directed at you, I'm just working on a new sig.
  • by Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:09AM (#14509284)
    Google could log the MD5 of the IP address, the MD5 of the cookie, and what was searched for.

    When someone logs in, or provides their cookie, Google could continue to provide more targeted ads, because they can match the MD5 of your IP and cookie to their logs.

    When you use GMail, Google could log the SHA-1 of your IP and cookie.

    Later on, when Big "bush" Brother comes knocking, they can provide the logs. Niether the search engine nor gmail logs reveal your IP or cookie. The search and gmail logs cannot be correlated at a later time. (Thus any correlation analysis of your gmail for concepts relating to ads would need to be done "right away" before the original IP/cookie information is discarded. For any suitable definition of "right away".)

    When Big "bush" Brother comes knocking on your individual door, they can retrieve your cookie and correlate you individually to your gmail and searches. (Note: It may be unnecessary to obtain a court order or have any judicial or congressional review, since, after all, you might be gmailing to or searching for... gasp... Nuculoor Weapons or Al-Queda, located in Iran, which needs to be "liberated".) Nevertheless, they might need to come to you to obtain your cookie individually, rather than just be able to massively sift through Google records.

    In the end, it would be simipler if the government were our ISP's, and we all used government provided e-mail servers and search engines.
  • by tolan-b (230077) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:10AM (#14509290)
    You don't have to be logged in. When you visit any part of their site Gogle place a long life cookie ('til 2038 iirc), on your machine which is tied to everything you do.

    So every search you do is tied to the ID in that cookie, when you log into Gmail then that cookie is also tied to your Gmail account.

    If you log into your Gmail account from another computer then the cookie ID on that computer, and all the searches performed since the cookie was created, are also tied to your Gmail account.

    Google won't let you use Gmail if you block the Google cookie either. Do you see where I'm going with this? :)

    More info on the cookie from Google Watch [google-watch.org]
  • by tolan-b (230077) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:27AM (#14509452)
    I think it's a common misconception that there has to be a complete breakdown of law in the government for abuses to occur.

    Here in the UK the plan to introduce ID cards for example is worrisome not so much because of the fear of a Nazi-style state insisting on "You papers please", so much as the state of the design of the back-end databases that the card will be used as a unique ID for. At least in the initial proposals the database was to be pretty much open to anyone in government to access. Would you trust often corrupt local government officials to have access to every piece of data about, for example, contractors to their office?

    It needn't necessarily be big government being hopelessly evil for these sorts of things to be abused.
  • by xtracto (837672) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:29AM (#14509472) Journal
    That seems quite interesting. My PhD supervisor made an intesresting comment about google the other day. He said that people at google must have very interesting information concerning the trends of "common knowledge", this is, before September, 11, 2001 a query on google of "september wtc" would yield totally different results, which surely will show the most "common" of things that people was searching for.

    Likewise, if you searched "Katrina" in google before August, 2005, you maybe ended in the page of someone named like that.

    These are basic examples of informaiton that can be obtained with the "time" factor of the google logs. Remember that time gives another dimension to your data, which lets you extract more information from it. Something among tht lines of image-pattern recognition, it is easier to match patterns from a moving image than from a static image.
  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy AT tpno-co DOT org> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:35AM (#14509530) Homepage
    This country has some pretty odd values, if you sit down and think about it. Next to survival, sex is the second strongest instinct. Kids are curious about it even BEFORE they hit puberty, afterwards it's all they can think about some days.

    Instead of telling them they are wrong for wanting to learn about it, how about we guide them as we are best able? We show them how to be safe, caution them against the dangers and pitfalls, but otherwise give them free access to any material they think they want ( after a certain age ) to learn?

    I have a strong belief that a great deal of the sexual crimes commited in this country is due to repressed sexual urges. A teen age boy is told he's not supposed to masterbait, it's shameful. He becomes ashamed of who he is, and it happens for so long that he needs to shame other people to have sexual release. Maybe that comes out as child molestation or rape, who knows?

    We don't need to protect our children from porn, we need to protect them from the politicians.
  • Re:Which one is it? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:56AM (#14509761)
    Yes, but apparently if you are under 18 you can be charged with possession of child pornography if you take pictures of yourself:

    http://www.plastic.com/article.html;sid=04/04/25/2 2421610 [plastic.com]

    Fucking puritans.
  • by KilobyteKnight (91023) <bjm@@@midsouth...rr...com> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @12:19PM (#14510026) Homepage
    Close -- you want to submit Bush's name in every one of those queries. Once it's apparent that he is inextricably linked to the other search material then he'll tuck his tail between his legs and skulk off home.


    Similar to the "miserable failure" thing, a search on "Perverted Sex Act" should return whitehouse.gov

    Oh, wait, Clinton beat me to that one.

    But seriously, it would be fun to to get some of those sort of things going.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2006 @01:18PM (#14510644)
    Privacy experts have warned about Google's non-expiring search cookie and indefinite search histories for ages. The company never listened. If it looses users as a result of having to turn over private data to government, that is well deserved in my opinion. Might teach Google and negligent companies like it a lesson or two about not taking people's privacy seriously.
  • by NewWorldDan (899800) <dan@gen-tracker.com> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @01:29PM (#14510749) Homepage Journal
    Ok, forget the community standards of the recipient. Do it at the place of origin. If your neighbors are appaled that you're handing out smut to kids you go to jail. It's not that complicated. And the fact that web servers generally dish pages without knowing who's on the other end is just willful ignorance and that is not a defense. There are reasonable steps that can be taken to keep kids out. It's the responsibility of the web site owner to do so.

    important to remember that the internet is *not* like the real world,

    Wrong! The Internet is a part of the real world. I'm sick of this mentality that because someone has a computer they should somehow be exempt from the laws that govern any other day to day activity. If a kid walks in to an adult bookstore, they should promptly be shown the door.
  • by Nephilium (684559) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @01:33PM (#14510785) Homepage
    The difference that you seem to be missing is two fold:

    1) What countries is that server in? If you go to a country in which pornography is legal, and see a billboard with a naked lady on it (THE HORROR!), then since I can put a billboard up along a freeway, it's legal. And what about countries where you can't get porn at 18? Why should your filthy standards apply to them?!

    2) You don't have to go past every website to get to another one. The billboard anology may make sense if in order to get to /., I have to go past CmdrTaco's porno emporium (Maybe I should copyright that name... hmmm...). Any site I see, I got to it by one way. My machine requested this information from a site.

    Hate to break it to you, but teh 3v1l pr0|\| isn't hunting THE CHILDREN down... but rather, the other way around...

    Nephilium
  • by HighOrbit (631451) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:04PM (#14511101)
    Wow, way to ruin the internet. This sort of thing is exactly what people are trying to fight - basing everything on the "community standards of the recipient" is a recipie for disaster when you're talking about global network (especially an anonymous, pull based one). If your law were passed, you'd have just given carte blanche to shut down almost any site in the US to *anyone* who can afford a plane ticket and the services of a 16 year old.


    There is legal precedent for a recipient standard which causes the most easily offended micro-minority's sensabilities to rule. Take for instance the "Hostile Environment" standard in sexual and racial harrassment cases. According to the law, no obscene or offensive intent is required. If the most easily offended receipient or observer in a work environment decides that something is offensive, then by law, it is. Of course, this has a chilling effect on speech. But then again, that is the point. The feminist and civil rights lobbies (who ,despite their protests about being oppressed, are really increadibly powerful political lobbies) have decreed it to be so and have gotten the congress and courts to agree with them.

    Of course, any suggestion to roll back the draconian restrictions on free expression are instantly labled "racist, sexist, reactionary, etc, etc, etc." Seems that a lot of people who have problems with the standard applied to porn have absolutely no problem applying the standard to other things.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:53PM (#14511649)
    A little gizmo that tells you whether other Firefox users think the site you are browsing takes user privacy seriously or not. Could be abused but it could also make some sites think twice about their lacking privacy protections.
     
  • Re:Age ranges? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by krbvroc1 (725200) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @04:09PM (#14512475)
    The motion to compel/subpeona is total bs. Read the actual Motion to Compel:

    http://www.mercurynews.com.nyud.net:8090/multimedi a/mercurynews/news/google0119.pdf [nyud.net]

    Here are some of my comments after reading it:
    1) This is nothing more than a fishing expedition so that the Bush DOJ can put a spin on their flawed argument. Lets assume google complies and provides ALL searched for keywords (without IP address info) for a one month period. The DOJ argues this is to aid them in determing the effectivness of filters vs COPA. How could they possibly know whether the searches were submitted by an adult or a child? Unless they knew the actual person (not even IP address) behind the computer this data is useless.
    2) It is dangerous to infer from searches any intent. Pursuit of knowledge on any topic does not mean you agree with the topic. Just a few seconds ago, the FBI (James Burrus - Deputy Asst. Director of Criminal Investigative Division) while testifying in front of the Senate said 'an internet search for pornography returned 19000000 hits'. This is the type of misleading 'facts' that will be culled from the data and abused. Do your own search for pornography and take a look at the first few urls returned.
    3) I think the DOJs real purpose here is to highlight some statistics such as '80% of all searches' contains a 'dirty' keyword -- obviously filters cant work. Or "we discovered 1800 searches of 8 year old sex -- these keywords were obviously that of a pedophile'
    4) From the motion other search engines other than google have already complied with the earlier subpeona.
    5) Initially DOJ wanted ALL URLS in googles database. After 'lengthy negotiations' DOJ modified their request to just one-million random urls. How can the url names possibly be useful?

  • by topical_surfactant (906185) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @06:34PM (#14513805)
    The "customize Google" Firefox extension has an option to scramble the Google cookie ID. Works great.
  • Re:Age ranges? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by E++99 (880734) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @06:42PM (#14513871) Homepage
    It seems to me that they want to do some data mining, maybe to identify terrorists (or dissenters), and they could just be using the "what about the children" thing in their attempt to gain access.
    Paranoid much? They didn't request any identifying information. They requested a one-week span of search results for one million randomly selected "web addresses" (I'm guessing IP Addresses). That doesn't really lend itself to your nefarious plot. Besides, we aren't planning to round up all the liberals into concentration camps until NEXT year.

    The most likely actual reason they would want the information is to show the ratio between US-based and foreign-based porn sites in the results, which is an issue central to one of the legal arguements in the case.
  • Re:Miserable failure (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rew190 (138940) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @06:45PM (#14513900)
    What's that say about liberals?

    That they actually pay attention to their government and feel passionate when it screws up?

    So now you have me wondering; your question made it sound as if the answer was both obvious and would reveal some nasty truth about liberals or Slashdotters... what was this answer? I'm quite curious to see how one can spin getting worked up about a corrupt government as some silly or reprehensible thing.
  • by linguae (763922) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @07:01PM (#14514023)
    I'm so confused. I always thought left-wing meant they advocated the right to do whatever you wanted, but they wanted to take all your money and redistribute it to the poor people, and their buddies in industry who got them elected. I thought right-wing meant they wanted to pass laws based on an arbitrary religion about how you must live your live, but let you keep your money.

    I follow a different political chart. Left and right are about economics to me. You're right (economically) about the left; the left ranges from social democrats (known as "liberals" in the US), to socialists and communists. They are sceptical of free markets in general. Social democrats only wish to construct safety nets (social security, welfare, universal health care, public schools, etc.), whereas socialists and communists want to completely eliminate free markets all together. Right wing is about free markets; the stronger you support free market economics, the farther right wing you are. Conservatives, classical liberals, (right-)libertarians, and anarchocapitalists fall under this category.

    Left and right can be further differentiated by another scale; the authoritarian-libertarian scale. Authoritarians are those who want the government to control your life, whereas libertarians want very little (or no) government in your life. On the left, this can range from Stalin's communism (authoritarian-left) to a libertarian socialist nation (libertarian-left). On the right, this can range from fascism and a religious-right utopia (authoritarian-right) to right-libertarianism and anarchocapitalism (libertarian-right). You can read more about the chart here [wikipedia.org].

    Keep in mind that when most people say libertarian, they talk of the right-wing variety.

    The thing is, I want (old school) social liberalism and (old school) fiscal conservatism, which are two things I simply can't have. Oh, and I don't want privatized sidewalks, so I guess the libertarians are out of the question too.

    Not all libertarians support privatized sidewalks (me, for example). However, it is hard to even get two libertarians to agree on every issue. A libertarian is somebody who supports small government and individual freedoms. You do seem to have a libertarian streak in you; you just don't want to go on a full-fledged anarchocapitalist route.

  • by metkat (721321) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @09:36PM (#14515089) Homepage
    I think so- I'm surprised there hasn't been more attention paid to that little mention in the first place. The dig at Google and the omission of other search engines having already caved (MSN likely one of them, being #3), combined with the article being on MSN, suggests bias to me.
  • by Lectrik (180902) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @11:44PM (#14515955)
    Of course, no one wants a porno shop next to their children's daycare, and some rightfully saw these establishments as blights on their community.

    You are absolutely correct Daycares are a blight on the community. In fact there is, in our city, an Adult Shop called the Glass Eye which has been located on it's premises for as long as I can remember (around 20 years) about 10 years ago, the Red Wing Boots store that was adjacent to it in the little strip-mall-esque arangement. The empty storefront was purchased by Super Duck Daycare (for some reason there are many daycares with Duck in their names) and at some point within a few years, I beleive there were calls from the community to have The Glass Eye shut down.
    Fortunately the people in charge saw that the porn shop was the established business and more or less told Super Duck Daycare to bugger off (which they could probably buy lube for next door) both business continue to operate to this day.
    They also tried the same trick with a Strip club and building a private school within the minimum legal distance for the selling of alcohol or something, and the school was told to deal with it
  • by moatz (199627) on Saturday January 21, 2006 @10:56AM (#14526150)
    Why not use a non-US based version of google.

    The US government would not have the right to collate responses from non-US based search engines.

    So why not use www.google.co.uk, or www.msn.co.uk as your search engine of choice.

    Then if the British Government decides to follow the American lead, then change again. Anyway I don't think the Goverenment will be able to report any searches from non-British connections and I think the amount of information they collect from the British ISPs will keep them occupied for quite a while, anyway.

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