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Dear Sir, We See From Your Files . . .

By Andrew Postman
Sunday, January 29, 2006

Dear Ms. Stanhope,

Once again (the fifth time since last week's subpoena!), we must respectfully decline your request to turn over to the Justice Department "one million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period." While we hear your claim that the data are needed to satisfy a Supreme Court demand that you establish a factual record regarding a 1998 federal law -- and not for the purpose of invading the privacy of our customers -- how can we not find this argument disingenuous when you yourself have been lying to us all along? In fact, Ms. Stanhope, though your name has appeared at the bottom of each of the previous e-mails, you are not technically the person who crafted them, now are you? The repeated use of such phrases as "woefully negligent" and "patriotically correct" is characteristic not of you (who rarely employs adjectival phrases in your home Google searches) but rather of your boss, deputy assistant attorney general Bernard Tutley.

Thank you for your inquiry.

David Miller

Associate counsel, Google

Dear Mr. Miller,

And your repeated claim that you cannot release random data because compliance "could endanger [Google's] crown-jewel trade secrets" isn't disingenuous? When, as we speak, Google is trying to get its hands on the trade secrets of three startup search engine competitors, whose search algorithms may ultimately turn out to be nimbler than yours? There are multiple phone records and (legal) wiretap recordings.

Once again, we implore you to turn over the data.

Bernard Tutley

Deputy assistant attorney general

Department of Justice

Mr. Tutley,

The DOJ should not be in the business of threatening American enterprises, particularly one as beloved as Google, the people's search engine. Especially when taxpayers pay your salaries -- salaries that, at least in your four-person office, are apparently going largely to subsidize (according to our tracking cookies) a minimum of four hours daily of eBay auctions (James Llewellyn and Carol Santana, both GS-14) and SpongeBob Collapse (Martha Stanhope, GS-13).

David Miller, Google

David Miller,

Twice last month your VW Passat went through the Ninth Street Toll Plaza -- 11:04 p.m. on 12/26 and then, in the opposite direction, at 4:31 a.m., 12/27 -- with a fetching young passenger whose retinal scan does not appear to match that of Donna Weinstein-Miller, your wife of seven years and mother of your twins, Emma and Jedediah.

Turn over the records.

B. Tutley, DOJ

Mr. Tutley,

For a man whose Google searches the past six months have included the terms personal bankruptcy, bankruptcy lawyer, Chapter 11 and Azerbaijan hotties (btw, the "and" is superfluous), you're in no position to muscle us, or to demand a peek at the personal information of others.

D. Miller

P.S. A "Google Alert" is a great way to generate automatic e-mails alerting you to up-to-the-minute news about favorite topics -- say, Azerbaijan hotties. Go to http://www.google.com , type in "google alert" and follow the instructions.

Miller,

How many fingers do I have up?

Tutley

Mr. Tutley,

Even given all we know about you and your DOJ colleagues, this is childish.

Three.

David Miller

miller,

lucky guess. am i sitting or standing?

bernie

Mr. Tutley,

Standing.

Miller

miller,

no, i'm sitting.

b

Mr. Tutley,

Unless instructed otherwise by a court, Google considers this matter closed.

David Miller, Google

Dear Mr. Miller,

Your mother is being audited. Also the girl in the car.

Bernard Tutley, DOJ

P.S. Your left taillight has been out for 12 days. Maybe you didn't realize, but that's against the law.

Author's e-mail: andyp@onebox.com

Andrew Postman, a writer living in New York, has fake retinas.

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