“Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge,” Ed Pilkington and Dominic Rushe report for The Guardian.

“WikiLeaks has written to Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, to protest that the search giant only revealed the warrants last month, having been served them in March 2012,” Pilkington and Rushe report. “In the letter, WikiLeaks says it is ‘astonished and disturbed’ that Google waited more than two and a half years to notify its subscribers, potentially depriving them of their ability to protect their rights to ‘privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches.'”

“Google revealed to WikiLeaks on Christmas Eve – a traditionally quiet news period – that it had responded to a Justice Department order to hand over a catch-all dragnet of digital data including all emails and IP addresses relating to the three staffers,” Pilkington and Rushe report. “The subjects of the warrants were the investigations editor of WikiLeaks, the British citizen Sarah Harrison; the spokesperson for the organisation, Kristinn Hrafnsson; and Joseph Farrell, one of its senior editors.”

“Harrison, who also heads the Courage Foundation, told the Guardian she was distressed by the thought of government officials gaining access to her private emails,” Pilkington and Rushe report. “‘Knowing that the FBI read the words I wrote to console my mother over a death in the family makes me feel sick,’ she said. She accused Google of helping the US government conceal ‘the invasion of privacy into a British journalist’s personal email address. Neither Google nor the US government are living up to their own laws or rhetoric in privacy or press protections.'”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Open.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Arline M.” for the heads up.]