A hearing to attempt to make Google turn over search records to the US government has been postponed until March 14.

The hearing had been set for 27 February in San Jose. In an order filed last week, US District Court Judge James Ware pushed the date back without explanation.

The US DoJ (Department of Justice) subpoenaed records from several search-engine companies to bolster its argument that a federal law is more effective than filtering software for protecting internet users under 18 from viewing pornography. AOL, Microsoft's MSN and Yahoo all complied with the subpoena to some degree, but Google refused to provide the records. US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales filed a motion in the court in San Jose to compel Google, based in Mountain View, California, to comply.

Google now has until 17 February to file its response to Gonzales' motion, and the DoJ has until 24 February to reply to what Google files. Third parties filing 'friend of the court' briefs also have until 24 February.

The DoJ is defending the Child Online Protection Act in a 1998 suit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which says the law violates the US Constitution's First Amendment right to freedom of speech.