Monday, July 30, 2007

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Change Privacy Policies

Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all recently changed their privacy policies due pressure from certain groups, not the least of which is the European Union, which is, among other activities, scrutinizing the possible merger of Google and Doubleclick.

Among the changes:

Yahoo - all search log data will be anonymous after 13 months.

Microsoft - all user search data anonymous after 18 months.

Google - data stored about end users in its server logs anonymous after 18 months.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


AG Alberto Gonzalez testified this week there was dispute about Justice Dept. activities, but that it did not involve what he called the "terrorist surveillance program."

He may have been referring to large scale searches of electronic databases of domestic phone call and e-mail records, or data mining, according an article in the New York Times.

That the government can do this is well-known, utilizing the NSA's ability to intercerpt electronic traffic.

In 2004 there was disagreement within the Department of Justice over a program, but Gonzalez refuses to discuss it, and President Bush will not confirm its existence.

It may have involved Justice Dept. disagreements with the White House over the President's power to access large volumes of domestic records of phone calls and internet usage, looking for specific patterns or combinations of words, rather than usage by a person or group.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Raul Touts Work of White House Privacy Board

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board based out of the White House has long been regarded as toothless at best - recall Democrat Lanny Davis quit - and recent remarks by it's vice chair will do nothing to disabuse that impression.

Alan Raul told a House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee that he opposed pending bill which would give the board more power, and more importantly, separate it from the White House. Davis quit out of concerns that the White House interfered with the Board and edited it's final report.

Raul claimed that the Board meets frequently and evaluated the privacy implications of areas of the federal government such as the NSA, the State Dept., and Treasury.