Google were ordered by the courts to hand over search data to the US Government.
Unlike AOL, MSN and Yahoo, Google had held back from releasing any data to the US Government. They formally rejected demands to comply with the request stating “The request would violate the prvacy of its users and reveal secrets to their competitors”.
The government initially asked for potentially billions of addresses, later reducing the requet to just 50,000 web addresses and 5,000 seacrh terms. The government wanted this data to help prevent access to online pornography, and understand how easy it is to ‘stumble’ upon pornography online.
However this week, the court forced Googles hand. Google handed over the 50,000 web addresses, but were not required to release details of search terms.
Google viewed the outcome as a success. From a PR point of view, they seem to once again get one over on their rivals and hit the headlines again.