From the New York Times, an article about the how the Justice Department's request that online search engines turn over records of searches in a bid to aid investigations has led some to think twice about what they search for. From the article:
...the Justice Department had asked a federal judge to compel Google to turn over records on millions of its users' search queries. Google is resisting the request, but three of its competitors - Yahoo, MSN and America Online - have turned over similar information.
The government and the cooperating companies say the search queries cannot be traced to their source, and therefore no personal information about users is being given up. But the government's move is one of several recent episodes that have caused some people to think twice about the information they type into a search engine, or the opinions they express in an e-mail message.
The government has been more aggressive recently in its efforts to obtain data on Internet activity, invoking the fight against terrorism and the prosecution of online crime. A surveillance program in which the National Security Agency intercepted certain international phone calls and e-mail in the United States without court-approved warrants prompted an outcry among civil libertarians. And under the antiterrorism USA Patriot Act, the Justice Department has demanded records on library patrons' Internet use.
Those actions have put some Internet users on edge, as they confront the complications and contradictions of online life.
Click here to read the full article.
For more information on this issue, read Google Rebuffs Feds on Search Requests from the Washington Post.