This is a really interesting development:
Google stands up to White House in row over privacy on web Special reports Guardian Unlimited:
The head of the internet search engine Google has vowed to protect the privacy of web surfers against the US government.
As Americans delivered a sweeping midterm election defeat for the Republican administration, Eric Schmidt strongly criticised the White House's attitude towards privacy at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, where the world's most powerful internet players are meeting this week to discuss the future of the medium.
Earlier this year, Google overturned a government subpoena that attempted to force dozens of internet companies to make available huge banks of data on web users' habits. The government claimed it wanted access to records of internet searches and online activity to help identify suspected terrorists and observe dangerous patterns of behaviour.
A federal judge ruled that the move was illegal, and Mr Schmidt said surfers were right to take their anger out on officials. "This was a complete violation of our users' rights," Mr Schmidt told the summit. "We, as a society, came to a rational outcome, and if we don't like it we can replace the people who pass those laws."...