Thursday, March 30, 2006

PrIvAcY: Look behind BB is there ,Pt. 1

Techdirt: Is There Anyone The Government Didn't Subpoena For Their COPA Defense?

The Government is really trying to work on protecting our kids....
The case in question is the government's defense of the COPA law (Child Online Protection Act), which had been thrown out as unconstitutional. The government is looking for data to back up their position that the law should be allowed, with the key to its argument being that internet filters are not effective in stopping pornography from reaching minors. To back up that statement, it appears they subpoenaed everyone they could think of who might have data to support that position.

InformationWeek filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see who the government had subpoenaed for this particular case and turned up the fact that the government sent subpoenas to at least 34 companies, including a number of ISPs and security firms.

According to the ORIGINAL article here

Companies issued subpoenas included:

FULL LIST Wow. they didn't miss an ISP!
711Net (Mayberry USA)
American Family Online
Bell South
Cable Vision
Charter Communications
Comcast Cable Company
Computer Associates
Cox Communications
S4F (Advance Internet Management)
SBC Communications
Secure Computing Corp.
Security Software Systems
Solid Oak Software
Surf Control
Time Warner
Tucows (Mayberry USA)
United Online
"What they are doing,[snip] is engaging in a massive fishing expedition, in an attempt to find some shred of evidence that they think can change a result they didn't like, which is that COPA violates the First Amendment," says Aden Fine, an attorney for the ACLU.

While the government's demands for information from Internet search engines have privacy implications for individuals, its interest in corporate information raises questions about the rights of businesses.

Stephen Ryan, a partner at Manatt Phelps & Phillips in Washington D.C., considers the scope of the government's discovery efforts unusual. "I'm not surprised that the Google piece looks like the tip of an iceberg," he says. "But it is sort of surprising that they're using their authority this broadly."

MORE To come...

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