Search Marketing: FBI triumphs over Google and the release of data

July 16, 2013 - Digital State Marketing

Google is no stranger to controversy. As an experienced search marketing company, we have a specific interest in all news relating to the internet organisation as we aim to boost our client’s visibility within the results pages of the search engine. The search behemoth is a constant feature in the media spotlight recently following various scandals involving tax, patents and controversial hardware. The media attention seems to be continuing with news emerging of an altercation with the FBI.

The FBI has won a battle against Google regarding the release of private customer data. The search engine had previously challenged 19 requests from the FBI asking for the release of sensitive information on users by stating the requests were unconstitutional and unnecessary.

However, a US Judge has ruled in favour of the FBI which has ultimately caused an influx of complaints regarding privacy violations in the past. FBI counter-terrorism agents were allowed to issue the secret national security letters, which do not require a judge’s approval, after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The types of data that the FBI agents typically demand are financial and phone records from telecommunication companies, internet service providers and banks.

US District Court Judge Susan Illston has ruled against the search engine giant despite finding the letters unconstitutional in March in a separate case filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Back in March, Judge Ilston found that demands by the FBI for those with letters to refrain from telling anyone that they had received the letters was a violation of free speech rights.

Regarding the recent Court case, the US Judge has put the ruling on hold until the ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals can decide the matter however until that point, the internet firm will have to comply with the FBI’s demands unless they can show that the FBI did not follow proper procedures in making its demands for the sensitive customer data in the 19 letters that they are currently challenging.

It currently stands that the US Judge was satisfied 17 of the 19 letters were issued correctly following sworn statements from two top-ranking FBI officials however she has requested more information on the remaining 2 letters.

For more news and information relating to Google or search marketing in general, please visit our website. If you would like a no obligation chat on how a tailored search marketing campaign can help boost your visibility online, contact our experienced team today.