The Transportation Security Administration in US had recently issued a directive to many airline companies around the world requiring them of carrying out additional screening procedures of passengers. This, expected to be a high security directive was seen as breached when two bloggers who claim to have received information about this from an anonymous source blogged about them.
Late December 30th, the bloggers’ were interrogated by TSA officials to know about the anonymous source who sent them the mail. Apparently, these emails were sent from a Gmail account.
This makes it likely for Google to have received Subpoena orders once again. You might remember that back in 2006, there was a lot of debate over whether or not Google should give in to directives to reveal their users information to security officials looking for information on the spread of child pornography. Google took the US Justice Department to Court and won the case.
However, the company is apparently looking to keep the current case low profile. On contacted, the company spokesperson said
“We don’t talk about individual cases to help protect all our users. Obviously, we follow the law like any other company. When we receive a subpoena or court order, we check to see if it meets both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying. And if doesn’t we can object or ask that the request is narrowed. We have a track record of advocating on behalf of our users.”
While it is not clear about whether or not Google complied in this case, it looks like a wasted attempt by TSA authorities. The directive was sent to hundreds of airliners and possibly reached thousands of people all the world over. As Steven Frischling, one of the bloggers involved the case says
“It was sent to Islamabad, to Riyadh and to Nigeria. So they’re looking for information about a security document sent to 10,000-plus people internationally. You can’t have a right to expect privacy after that.”
Update: Following the public outcry, the subpoena against the two bloggers have been withdrawn. The case about Google still remains.[via Search Engine Land]