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Google Questioned By WikiLeaks Over Information Given To U.S. Government

January 26, 2015 - Written By Jeremiah Nelson

Google is under some scrutiny from WikiLeaks over information that the search giant gave to the U.S. government in an ongoing investigation. Google was issued a secret search warrant three years ago by a U.S. federal judge, and had to hand over emails and other personal data on three WikiLeaks staffers. It’s not confirmed, but the assumption is that this information relates to WikiLeaks publishing U.S. secrets from Chelsea Manning. Either way, Google handed over data on WikiLeaks staff members, and WikiLeaks isn’t happy about it. They feel that Google should have pushed back against the warrant like Twitter did when the government demanded information from them. WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange also feels that this is a classic example of Google “rolling over yet again to help the US government violate the Constitution – by taking over journalists’ private emails in response to give-us-everything warrants.” Assange said that this is a “seriously wrong attempt to build an alleged ‘conspiracy’ case against me and my staff’.”

Google was presented with a warrant from the federal government, so you could argue that they didn’t have a choice in the matter. Another issue for WikiLeaks is that the warrant was presented to Google, and Google complied with it, way back in 2012. It’s been almost three years, but Google is just told WikiLeaks on Christmas Eve 2014 that they had to give information to the government. Google was probably under some kind of a gag order that prevented them from speaking about the warrant or any information that they handed over. Assange and his team aren’t concerned with that. They just want to know why Google didn’t put up a fight and why they took almost three years to mention anything.

WikiLeaks published a letter that they sent to Eric Schmidt, asking for clarification on the situation. WikiLeaks is “astonished and disturbed” that it took Google this long to “notify its subscribers that a search warrant was issued for their records.” Google isn’t saying exactly what information they gave to the U.S. government under the terms of the warrant, but they did say the warrants were “shockingly broad.” WikiLeaks has never liked Google because of all the information they access and store, and this is just adding fuel to the fire.