Wiretapping, Google subpoena earn Muzzle Awards

Technology-related actions earn Administration the ire of Thomas Jefferson Center for Protection of Free Expression.

The Bush Administration and the Justice Department earned awards of dubious distinction by  Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression who each year around April 13, bestow the annual Muzzle Award to violators of free speech. This year, The Bush Administration topped the list for authorizing the National Security Agency to tap the phones of U.S. citizens who make calls overseas, reports CNN.

A "Muzzle Award" was also given to the Justice Department for demanding that Google turn over thousands of Internet records, prompting concerns that more invasive requests could follow if the government prevails.

"The many millions of Americans who routinely seek information on myriad matters through Internet search engines like Google naturally assume (as the search providers assure them) that the subject matter of their inquiries will remain private.  In the summer of 2005, however, that expectation was challenged by a Justice Department demand filed in federal court, seeking extensive access to Google search data.  Despite government assurances that the results would be used only in aggregate form, and that the demand was not seeking information which could “personally identify” the individuals who made the search requests, Google strenuously resisted this unprecedented demand," stated the Thomas Jefferson Center said.