An obscenity trial currently underway in Florida is highlighting the impact that search engines are having on the offline world. The defence team are using results gathered from Google to show the browsing trends of the community.
Whether the data is admissible in court or not is yet to be determined, however the salient fact is that the data collected by the major search engines is providing a more detailed shapshot of our lives.
“That’s why a lot of people are nervous about Google or Yahoo having all this data,” [Chris Hansen, lawyer] said.
For more information, see the New York Times Article
The far-reaching impact of cases like this come into play when looking at the Microsoft takeover attempts of Yahoo. Civil Libertarians are worried that the fewer the number of companies holding onto the data, the less secure the private viewing histories would be.