By Terry Vanderheyden

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, January 30, 2006 ( – Some commentators are describing Google, the world’s most used internet search engine, as “scary,” after learning that the internet giant stores web search history and e-mails.

The UK’s Times on Line reported that Google keeps an “extraordinary amount” of user information. Google logs searches on its search engine, storing the information “indefinitely.”“Because every computer has a unique IP (internet protocol) address, every visit to every website can be traced back to the computer making it – a fact which is well known in geek circles but remarkably under-publicised outside them,” the Times article explained.

Google’s alternative to hotmail, their new free e-mail service, Gmail, stores all e-mails indefinitely on their server. The company already admits to scanning e-mails in order to send targeted advertising.

The company’s own privacy statement states that, “When you visit Google, we send one or more cookies – a small file containing a string of characters – to your computer that uniquely identifies your browser. We use cookies to improve the quality of our service by storing user preferences and tracking user trends, such as how people search. Most browsers are initially set up to accept cookies, but you can reset your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, some Google features and services may not function properly if your cookies are disabled.”

The privacy statement adds that, “When you use Google services, our servers automatically record information that your browser sends whenever you visit a website. These server logs may include information such as your web request, Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser.”

The dangers inherent in granting governments any authority to monitor and censor the internet for a very real good, could at the same time lend government authority to exclude legitimate material expressing valid viewpoints from the public square. As Canada and other countries pass so-called hate-crimes legislation making it illegal to, for example, condemn homosexual activity as evil, these measures could lead to censorship or worse.

See related coverage:
  Bill Would Permit Canadian Government to Monitor Emails, Chat and Cell Phones
  Privacy In Peril In Canada


Commenting Guidelines

LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.