There are recent reports that as part of the US Department of Justice's effort to enforce online pornography laws, it has petitioned a federal court judge to order Google to release information on millions of its users' search queries. While Google is, for the time being, challenging the USDOJ proceedings, three of its competitors - Yahoo, MSN and America Online - have previously acquiesced to similar demands and released said information.
As a result, net surfers are questioning and fearing the degree of government internet surveillance. Could a Google search for 'SEALs weapons for sale?"? trigger undesired attention on you? Would you resent having to justify your query? Having to disclose your interest on SOCOM Navy Seals for PS2?
While American citizens, residents or visitors may enjoy protection from undue surveillance and disclosure of private personal information under sundry legislation, how are surfers outside the US protected, if at all, when search information is stored in the US?
Pornography laws are a must, everywhere in the world. But we should be concerned about how they are being enforced in this instance.