Microsoft and Yahoo have handed over customers’ search data to the Bush government, in response to subpoenas which are part of the government’s effort to make on-line porn more difficult for children to access.
The government had previously asked Google to comply with a similar subpoena last year, although it is believed Google had refused to comply.
Both Microsoft and Yahoo maintained that releasing millions of customer search results via their search engines would not break their customers’ confidentiality, since their identities were not included in the information handed over.
The government is trying to overturn a ruling in the US Supreme Court, which said on-line porn providers did not have to ask for registration information before allowing users access to material.
Porn providers don't want such a law as it would be a barrier to drummming up new business.
The Bush Administration wants to revive a law to stop children accessing such sites without being registered first.
The government maintains that filtering software is not an adequate barrier for children trying to maintain such material in the home.
It will use the information provided by Microsoft and Yahoo to build a case to re-introduce a law requesting prior registration for porn site access.