Survey finds solid opposition to release of Google data

A majority of 1,017 Americans, 56 percent, who responded to a survey by Ponemon Institute said they do not believe Google should turn over Web search information to the U.S. government. The respondents were paid US$5 for their participation in the survey, Ponemon said.

The Department of Justice recently asked a California court to force Google to turn over information about how the company's search engine is used to find pornography on the Internet. Justice officials say they need the Google usage records to prepare a defense in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. But Google has so far resisted the subpoena.

According to the survey, "Should Google Release Information to the Government," 41 percent of the respondents who do not want Google to hand over the information said they would stop using the search company if it turned over their Web searches. Another 18 percent said they're not sure what they would do if Google released the information.

According to the survey, 89 percent of respondents believe that their Web searches are kept private and 77 percent believe that Google Web searches do not reveal their personal identity.

The respondents appear to be evenly split on the belief that the Bush administration can be trusted to take reasonable steps to protect the privacy rights and civil liberties of Americans, the survey said.

For those who believe that Google should not release information to the government, 81 percent do not believe the current administration is committed to protecting their privacy rights, according to Ponemon.

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Linda Rosencrance

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