Google, Porn, and Eminent Domain

Google/DOJ war on pornAccording to Xeni over at BoingBoing, she contacted DOJ thugs and asked which search engines other than Google received requests to provide search records.

The answer: Yahoo, AOL, and MSN were also asked to supply search records information, and all complied.

As already reported, Google didn’t turn the requested records over, and now they have to go to federal court. Unlike Yahoo, AOL and MSN, at least Google proved they own a pair. Of course Yahoo, AOL and MSN are complicit as they want Google’s trade secrets.

After reading through the Motion to Compel and related supporting documentation, it seems that Google might be able to plead the 5th on this issue, in addition to the obvious defenses. By the 5th, I’m not referring to self-incrimination stuff, but eminent domain compensation.

I know it’s a bit unorthodox, but here’s the reasoning. One of the key arguments used by Google is that compliance with the DOJ subpoena would disclose valued trade secrets. Not only are we (at HoT) not in the same ballpark as Google, we aren’t even on the same planet — but we still protect our trade secrets, as we recognize their value.

Without being a Google insider, I wouldn’t know how to quantify the exact value of the mechanisms they use to collect information, but it must be somewhere in the billions of dollars. Recent media has clearly disclosed the inability of the government to keep secrets. With hundreds of attorneys and staffers being able to view the data which the AG has ordered Google to provide, there is no way trade secrets can be protected. If the government is going to seize private property for public use, just compensation must be provided. I’m curious about what that cost will be to the taxpayer.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

24 Comments
  1. This will be my last comment on this site. I know I am neither a Republican or Democrat. I am a strong believer and supporter of the Constitution. I was hoping I was a Libertarian Party libertarian. I believe I have some liberatarian leanings but cannot stomach the disorder and anarchist radicalism this site and you people advocate. I guess it is life experiences.

    You people act as hard asses toward the military and anything to do with law enforcement presenting it in such a way that ALL people involved with either professions are nothing but dirt bag shits.

    I have done both. Almost all the people I had the privelege and honor of serving with were the true patriots, not you wanna be arm chair politicians.

    I cannot stomach the idea that almost anything goes. That is your position as well as the position of the ACLU. Too radical and socially liberal for me.

  2. Our nation is so divided that it is my strong opinion we are heading toward a showdown. I do not know whether it will be a shooting showdown or not. I suspect it will be. I do not know whether it will be a revolution or outright civil war. I believe we have never been as divided as we are except for the Civil War that pitted family against family. Is may come to that.

    My time on this site has caused a rift between my son and me. We have become polarized and have reached the point that we are shouting at each other via email. It is not worth it to me anymore.

    I told Stephen that if we become a nation so polarized that we take up arms against each other, I was not so sure he and I would be on the same side. I just don’t know.

    I guess I will continue the journey to determine where I fit and where my belief system and politics fit. It is not with the present day libertarian movement.

  3. I am sure of one posit, I will not be missed by you bloggers or my son. It is, I am sure, a feeling of good riddance.

    If the Libertarian Party ever backs out of radical politics bordering on anarchy, I may reconsider. Until then, goodbye.

  4. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a libertarian who one day decided that they had enough of everyone not agreeing with them and was going to become a disinterested voter… well, let’s just say I could afford to fund a few libertarians to get elected.

    That’s right… we’re not 100% going to agree with you, so obviously you want to take your ball, go home and cry me a river.

    Welcome to the libertarian club, don’t debate or motivate anyone to your viewpoints… just bitch and threaten to leave.

  5. Julian, it’s been my experience that most of the “dirt bag shits” in the military and law enforcement are behind desks. You know exactly the sort I’m talking about, I’m sure. The people on the front lines are — virtually always — good, honorable people trying to do the right thing. (And while there are exceptions, it’s important to remember that generally that’s what they are: exceptions.)

    I obviously don’t speak for everyone else at HoT, but I do know that both the military and law enforcement have valuable roles to play in our society. The debate, and the sticky part, is what those roles should be and how far they should extend.

    In the instant case, I would say that most libertarians would argue it’s nobody’s business but your own if you look at Penthouse or download porn. This is as it should be.

    But Google likely has technical reasons for not giving up this data. For instance, a week’s worth of searches at Yahoo or MSN is about the same as a few HOURS of searches at Google. The volume of data is just so much larger, because Google has nearly the entire search market.

    I don’t think DOJ knows what it’s asking for. Even if Google were able to deliver the (likely hundreds of gigabytes of) data DOJ is asking for, DOJ probably will have no easy way to process it.

  6. I think it’s despicable that you chose to handle this in this way, Julian. There are better ways to deal with father-son issues, and you do yourself and your son a disservice by airing dirty laundry.

    If I were you, I would be proud of my son. He’s doing something that most people, regardless of their politics, wouldn’t have the balls or the wherewithal to even attempt. His abilities speak volumes about those who raised him, and for that you should be proud and support him. My parents are hardcore Republicans and they don’t agree with most of my political stances-yet they’re proud of me for having them, and they’re proud of what I do for those stances. They support me and in the same way, you should support your son. Perhaps politics shouldn’t be what you two discuss, but it’s silly and pathetic to let politics come between a relationship of decades.

  7. You anarchists spoil everything for us realists! Scared another potential libertarian out of the door eh?

    I think child porn is wrong. I think the ACLU has the right to defens those who love little boys. But the essence is all free speech. I will defend a Klansmen for saying he wants to eradicate all niggers. However I will defend myself if he were to lay one hand on me because of his bullshit rhetoric. I’m far from an anarchist…I can’t stand them but where else is there for me to expouse my love for liberty and freedom.

    The Democrats and Republicans are not doing a great job preserving those freedoms are they? The LP isn’t viable either but if the right people were in charge..oh boy watch out!

  8. For the record, I’m not an anarchist. I believe we should have a much smaller government than what exists now, but I do feel that government serves a legitimate purpose in keeping civil order in society.

    Also, I noticed that no one else labelled themselves anarchists in our About page, so I think flinging it around as the new invective (duh, liberals and neocons) is just a lazy scare tactic against libertarian ideas.

  9. Stephen and Chris,

    I describe myself (not on the about page) as an anarcho-capitalist, or free market anarchist, if you will.

    However, I seperate my beliefs from my actions as presented recently:

    I’ve worked Libertarian, Republican and Democrat campaigns. I’ll take money from the cause I believe will take us closer to a state of liberty than what the competition has to offer. While I’m an outright anarcho-capitalist, I strongly push for short-term minarchistic solutions, as I believe that there are but two solutions to affect true freedom: outright and bloody revolution or incremental political change. As I’ve spent years in the military, for the moment I’ll choose the latter option. To the best of my knowledge, Thomas Knapp is my primary (and perhaps only) anarcho-capitalist ally actually engaged in realpolitik.

  10. I don’t like it when people feel they need to leave a blog, but clearly Julian doesn’t understand what being a libertarian is. I’m affraid if he stuck around he would have become a troll – he was already make broad strokes with his troll brush.

    I hope he finds what he’s looking for.

  11. Bravo Google!

    The difference between obtaining personally intimate access via consent vs coercion is also the difference between rough sex and rape!

    What can one say about those who don’t know, or even care about, the difference?

    Devotees in the cult of govt can be tragic…

  12. The DOJ isn’t just interested in kiddie pr0n. They want to get into that database and get in there whenever and however they want. Kiddie pr0n is merely a ruse to gain that access. With permanence.

    But you aren’t willing to throw your liberties under the bus for sake of Julian’s law-and-order sensibilities. And that makes you wrong, evil, impractical and unpatriotic. How dare you question authority! George Bush has our best interests at heart, shut up and stop questioning him. And for god’s sake, don’t check to make sure he is doing anything untoward. That would aid and comfort the terrorists.

    Goodbye Julian.