April 1, 2006, San Francisco, CA: In a surprise move, Department of Justice (DoJ) attorneys filed a subpoena yesterday in federal court against the National Security Agency, requesting one million sample Google searches. They plan to use the searches as evidence in their defence of the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act.
The DoJ had previously requested a subpoena against Google, Inc. itself for the records, but Google mounted a serious defence, resulting in much more limited data flow. According to DoJ spokesperson Charles Miller, “Google was just putting up too much of a fight. The other sites and ISPs mostly caved in quickly and handed over web traffic and search records without a fuss, but Google made it expensive for us. We knew the NSA had all the records, so it seemed much simpler to just get them by going within the federal government.”
“Yahoo, of course, gave in rather easily. If they hadn’t, we could have just asked our friends in the Chinese government to demand the records. Yahoo does whatever they say.”
The White House revealed in December that the NSA has been performing warrentless searches on international phone, e-mail and internet traffic after the New York Times broke the story. Common speculation suggests they have been tapping other things, to data mine the vast sea of internet traffic, looking for patterns that might point to enemy activity.
“The NSA has the wires into all the hubs already, it’s just a lot faster for them to get this data.”
“We can neither confirm nor deny we have these search records,” said an un-named NSA spokesperson. “In fact, even asking if we have them makes you suspect.”
(Thanks to John Gilmore for the suggestion.)