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Order in the court!
Man, everyone is just lashing back against THE MAN lately. First it’s everyone telling the FCC and the ISPs to shove it, and now it’s U.S. Magistrates telling the government they can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine when it comes to online account access during investigations.
Backlash against government data requests
“Nah, son.” That’s what U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal—located in Silicon Valley—basically told the government when they asked for the Google account of a government employee suspected of corruption. When speaking of the tech companies that allow the government access to their users’ data—some of which may go way beyond the scope of the investigation—Grewal said, “…too few understand, or even suspect, the essential role played by many of these workers and their employers in facilitating most government access to private citizen’s data.”
This isn’t the first time a judge has stepped up, either. Two months back, a D.C. judge told the government to kiss off when it asked for a customer’s Apple account.
Long live the revolt of lower-level judges! But seriously, I guess this is good news because finally people with somewhat-real power are stepping up and telling the government that they need to BACK UP, BRO and lay off the gigantic data requests. Really—if the government gets a hold of your Google account, that’s a lot of information that they now know about you far beyond the scope of the investigation.
But really, this goes a little deeper into the actual actions taken by companies like Google and Apple in actively challenging the government-issued requests for data and search warrants. Sure, they keep your stuff and protect it from others, but it seems like the government has an open-door policy when it comes to accessing your accounts. I mean, you can be as transparent as you want, but it doesn’t mean you’re not giving up the data anyways.
Out of the 10K+ requests Google got from the government from July-December 2013, they gave up the goods on 83% of them. Thanks for playing, guys.
Everyone is at fault here, really; the government asking for waaaay too much data and Google being more than willing to oblige.