Google Inc. argued against disclosing millions of search queries along with 1 million randomly selected Web page addresses to the Department of Justice in court papers filed on Friday.
The documents filed in San Jose federal District Court claim the release of the data would expose Google trade secrets without justification.
The disclosure also would undermine the trust Google has built up with its users, the legal documents state. The papers were filed in response to a lawsuit the department filed last month seeking the records for a lawsuit defending the Child Online Protection Act.
The act is meant to keep minors from Web sites with sexually explicit material, but is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, which contends it violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech.
A March 13 hearing has been set in the case.
Google’s filing in the case claims the release of data to the Justice Department would tell the world about its proprietary systems for conducting online Web searches.
Google avidly protects every aspect of its search technology from disclosure, even including the total number of searches conducted on any given day, the documents states.
Moreover, complying with the department’s subpoena for information would require Google to spend a week’s worth of engineering time, the filing says.
The department wants to use the information from Google to test the use of “filters” on the Web to screen out offensive sites. It has already received similar data from Microsoft Corp.’s MSN Web site, Yahoo Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s AOL unit in response to subpoenas sent last year.