Read this article and understand that MSN, Yahoo, AOL and all the other small search engines have sold you out to the Feds.
Thanks to Boing Boing, this is a follow up piece good for background information:
Feds demand user data from Google: Battelle’s analysis
In light of today’s SJ Merc report that the Department of Justice has demanded user search records from Google, this excerpt from John Battelle’s The Search seems worth reading again:
As we move our data to the servers at Amazon.com, Hotmail.com, Yahoo.com, and Gmail.com, we are making an implicit bargain, one that the public at large is either entirely content with, or, more likely, one that most have not taken much to heart.
That bargain is this: we trust you to not do evil things with our information. We trust that you will keep it secure, free from unlaw- ful government or private search and seizure, and under our control at all times. We understand that you might use our data in aggregate to provide us better and more useful services, but we trust that you will not identify individuals personally through our data, nor use our personal data in a manner that would violate our own sense of privacy and freedom.
That’s a pretty large helping of trust we’re asking companies to ladle onto their corporate plate. And I’m not sure either we or they are entirely sure what to do with the implications of such a transfer. Just thinking about these implications makes a reasonable person’s head hurt.