...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Friday, January 20, 2006

Government moves into market research.

This week ITunes users screamed when its new software sent "play count" data to Apple so the store could suggest other cuts they might enjoy. So, Apple put an on-off switch in the software. Google's search ads use what you're looking for to match ads to your search. Only two of the millions of uses Web companies make of traffic data. I don't have a problem with any of it.

So, when you can find out what porn keywords people are using by just Googling the words--since Google uses what people are searching for and linking to to rate sites--why does the Justice Department need to subpoena Google's data? Because they're building a case to go after porn. And upend a Supreme Court decision that's already been made.

We'll know eventually whether the President is allowed to break the law to protect us from suspected terrorists. (By the way, I say, no, he's not. And, while we're at it, let's find out what else he's breaking the law to do and put a stop to it.) At least he's got an almost-excuse for being overzealous in the name of national security.

But going after porn is a time-waster with unpleasant freedom-of-speech side effects. Shame on Yahoo and other search engines for caving. Points for Google for saying no.

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