About that DOJ Request

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I’ve waited several days and thought quite a bit before saying anything about the Department of Justice asking search engines for search data.

I waited partly because I didn’t want to say something I’d regret, and that was pretty likely to happen early on. And partly because I wanted to see how the companies involved were going to handle the situation. Most did a very poor job.

I was initially tempted to post instructions and screen shots for each major search engine. They’d illustrate, step-by-step, how to sign out and search anonymously–you know, just in case. But that’s a lot of work and all I really wanted to say was this: I’m disappointed.

I’m disappointed in the government for wanting to use the online behavior of millions of people in an attempt to justify a law that many of those million are likely against. I’m disappointed in them for making people even more fearful of “being tracked online” and the Bush Administration’s attempts to keep an eye on the public.

I’m disappointed in those companies that appeared not to put up a fight, notify their users, or explain what happened in a timely fashion. I’m disappointed in them for not providing an opt-out mechanism. I guess that’s everyone but Google so far.

I’m disappointed in the general public for jumping to conclusions about what happened before the story had really been worked out.

I’m disappointed in the media for helping to scare the public. They, like the government, appear to be doing what they’re best at and that’s pretty troublesome.

I hope that people will stop IMing, emailing, and otherwise asking me what I think of all this and what Yahoo’s position is. In case it’s not clear, I’m not speaking on behalf of anyone other than myself. And the Powers That Be have decided not to say much on the matter. So there you have it.

Jeremy Zawodny is the author of the popular Jeremy Zawodny’s blog. Jeremy is part of the Yahoo search team and frequently posts in the Yahoo! Search blog as well.

Visit Jeremy’s blog: Jeremy Zawodny’s blog.

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