Google hearing set for Feb. 24

A date has been set for the preliminary hearing in US v Google to determine whether the government can compel Google to turn a list of sites in its index.

Key dates in the Google case: Google's arguments due Feb. 6, the government's response due Feb. 13, hearing Feb. 24 before Judge James Ware in San Jose, News.com reports. 

U.S. District Judge James Ware on Thursday set the date for the highly anticipated hearing, which is expected to determine whether the U.S. Justice Department will prevail in its fight to force Google to help it defend an anti-pornography law this fall.

Although the Justice Department also demanded that Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online hand over similar records, Google was the only recipient that chose to fight the subpoena in court. After the spat became public last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said: "This is important for the Department of Justice and we will pursue this matter."

The government's request has raised eyebrows among privacy advocates and members of Congress, some of whom fear it could open the door to future fishing expeditions. Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he would introduce legislation to curb records retained by Web sites, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, has asked Gonzales for details.

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