Google’s standoff with feds still on

Google refused to blink Friday in its standoff with the federal government over a U.S. Justice Department's subpoena requiring the company to turn over personal search information.

Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online did turn over search records to the feds, according to numerous media reports, creating a debate over what customer information should remain private.

A Yahoo spokesperson said Friday that the company did not view the matter as a "privacy issue."

"We are rigorous defenders of our users' privacy. We did not provide any personal information in response to the Department of Justice's subpoena," said Mary Osako, Yahoo spokesperson. "In our opinion, this is not a privacy issue. We complied on a limited basis and did not provide any personally identifiable information."

The Justice Department has requested the records in order to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches. The case stems from the Bush Administration's efforts to resurrect the Child Online Protection Act, struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago, which would punish online pornography sites that make graphic content available to minors, according to published reports.

Nicole Wong, Google associate general counsel, said the federal government went too far in requesting the records.

"Google is not a party to this lawsuit and their demand for information overreaches," she said. "We had lengthy discussions with them to try to resolve this, but were not able to and we intend to resist their motion vigorously."

Microsoft also said it protected customer information.

"We take the privacy of our customers very seriously. We did comply with their request for data in regards to helping protect children in a way that ensured we also protected the privacy of our customers," said a company spokesperson. "We were able to share aggregated query data (not search results) that did not include any personally identifiable information at their request."

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