A judge for the US Court of Federal Claims [official website] has issued a preliminary injunction preventing the US Department of Interior (DOI) [official website] from accepting a bid from Microsoft [corporate website] to overhaul its e-mail system, according to a ruling made public Tuesday. Google [corporate website; JURIST news archive] had filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in November alleging that the DOI arbitrarily decided only to allow Microsoft to compete for the contract. Google was allegedly excluded because of security concerns, but the company says it has created a special application, Google Government Apps, that addresses all of these concerns. Furthermore, the company argues its application would save US taxpayers millions of dollars. The DOI may now continue to dispute Google's claim or elect to consider Google's bid.
Over the past year, Google's privacy practices and policies have been the focus of numerous investigations and complaints. In October, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] announced that it had ended an inquiry [JURIST report] into Google's internal policies and procedures that led to the company inadvertently collecting data on unsecured wireless networks while photographing streetscapes for its Street View maps program. Also in October, Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart announced that Google was in violation [JURIST report] of the country's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act [text, PDF] (PIPEDA). In August, the South Korean National Police Agency (SKNPA) [official website, in Korean] raided the Google South Korean headquarters [JURIST report] in connection with accusations that the company had been illegally acquiring user data. In July, the Australian Privacy Commissioner announced [JURIST report] that its investigation revealed Google's actions violated the Australia Privacy Act [government backgrounder].