Google fights back against DoJ data request

Google has finally seen sense and started to fight back against the much-publicised US Department of Justice (DoJ) request for information, which was apparently made last month.

As I reported earlier, the DoJ had requested a week's worth of customer search data from Google to help it in its anti-child pornography activities.

Now Google has issued a public rebuke against the DoJ request, which now appears to be for copies of all search terms used, and the URLs they identify, over a two-month period.

According to a widely circulated press release, Google's legal response describes the US government's request as "so uninformed as to be nonsensical".

"The very fact that the government is so uninformed about the value of search and URL information, and so dismissive of Google's interest in protecting it, speaks volumes about why the court should protect Google from this compelled disclosure," said Google's legal firm, Perkins Coie.

"The government's cavalier attitude undermines any credibility in the assertion it later makes that it can or will protect Google against loss or further disclosure of the information, a promise that is hollow in the context of litigation in any event," the press statement added.

According to Google, it received a subpoena for the data from the Department of Justice in August of last year and has been fighting the case ever since.

According to US media reports, MSN and Yahoo have handed over the information but, interestingly, Ask Jeeves, the fourth most popular search site in the US, has not been asked.

Google, meanwhile, says it is fighting the case on three issues; insisting that the information is useless for the proposed task; that disclosure would reveal trade secrets and lead to loss of business; and that the order would place an undue burden on the company...