It's 2006. Has Google Indexed Your Kid's Social Security # Lately?
School's out for summer, but it looks like Google isn't taking any breaks.
A county school system in North Carolina filed an injunction against the search engine on Friday, saying it improperly indexed private information about schoolchildren, including test scores and Social Security numbers.
The injunction was honored by the Honorable Richard D. Boner and calls for Google to remove any information pertaining to Catawba County Schools Board of Education from its servers. The injunction also alleges conversion and trespass against Google.
The school board alleges that information on 619 students was secured on a DocuShare server, which requires a username and password to access. One of those students has a presence on the Web, according to information the school system's chief technology officer, Judith Ray, shared with a local news site. Ray said the file that Google indexed was removed from the server on Friday, but the information was still available online.
A Google spokesperson said the company cannot index information secured by password
The company has not returned an e-mail requesting additional comment.
"We worked with the school district to remove the information from our index within hours of receiving their email request. We have not been served with the injunction," said a Google representative.
"It is completely ridiculous," said Search Engine Watch's Barry Schwartz in a brief interview. "Google cannot index pages behind password forms." Schwartz said that the data may have been accidentally published on the Web, or that a page was published that contained the password embedded in a hyperlinked URL.
Schwartz said, however, that he was "all for Google removing the content."
Google doesn't have a history of complying with court-ordered injunctions, whether in the United States or abroad.
Update: Danny Sullivan has more info, including an e-mail from Catawba County Schools' Judith Ray.