DoJ to block Google from sharing personal information of journalists

The DoJ on Monday announced it will block the sharing of personal information about reporters, media outlets and editors.

The move follows a court order in March that required Google to disclose the identity of journalists, the media outlet and editors who work with them in order to avoid being targeted by hackers. 

As a result, reporters, editors and reporters at local and national outlets will no longer be able to use Google News to track their stories. 

The court order also required Google and other tech companies to create policies to prevent access to reporters’ private information. 

A DOJ official said the company will continue to provide “information that could identify journalists, news outlets and other editors, including the name, address, phone number, email address and social media account used to post articles.”

The official declined to identify specific journalists who might have been targeted by the order.

Google’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The DoJ’s order also applies to journalists at national media outlets.

The news organizations and their employees are protected by the First Amendment, which prevents government agencies from forcing companies to divulge information that would identify them.

But Google and others have fought the order as violating their right to free speech.

In a separate order Monday, the DoJ ordered Facebook and Google to hand over all data collected by the social media platform and all the information shared by users about their activity on the site.

The order is a response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups. 

In its lawsuit, the groups said the information is needed to identify the sources of the content, identify who may be accessing it and determine whether to investigate complaints about the sites. 

“It’s a direct attack on free speech, on journalism, and on the First and Fifth Amendments,” said Mark Rozell, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which helped organize the protest at the White House last week. 

After months of fighting, the tech companies have failed to come to terms with the court order, and Facebook has filed a counter-suit in federal court that accuses the DOJ of infringing on First Amendment rights.