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Court Date Set for Google, Dept. of Justice Standoff

A federal judge has set a Feb. 27 hearing to examine the Google Inc. (GOOG) decision to withhold millions of online search records from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The hearing, to be held in U.S. District Court in San Jose, will be the first in the high-profile case. The Justice Department is seeking to force Mountain View-based Google to comply with a subpoena seeking 1 million Web site addresses reached from Google and one week of search queries.

It hopes to use the information to defend its Child Online Protection Act, designed to keep children from sexually explicit material on the Internet. The act has been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment right of free speech.

Google says the subpoena overreaches and, after conducting lengthy discussions with the Justice Department, decided to resist the subpoena vigorously.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and New York-based Time Warner Inc. (TWX) unit America Online have already turned over the information sought by the department.