REPOST: Google to work with NSA?


A buddy of mine sent me this link concerning the possibility that Google might team up with the NSA.

For those of you who are not sure what the NSA is or what they do, NSA (besides standing for National Sheriff’s Association) is the National Security Agency. 

Here’s a quick blurb about the NSA from wiki:

The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy concerns surveillance of persons within the United States incident to the collection of foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the “terrorist surveillance program”,[1] part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA is authorized by executive order to monitor phone calls, e-mails, Internet activity, text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S., without warrants  (I added the bold, red italics).

The exact scope of the program is not known, but the NSA is or was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s major telecommunication companies’ major interconnect locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic. [3]. Critics stated that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[2] The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts are not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).[3] FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.[4] In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.[5]

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed the existence of the program, first reported in a December 16, 2005 article in The New York Times.[6][7] The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication.[8] Critics of The Times have openly alleged that executive editor Bill Keller had knowingly withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential election, and that the story that was ultimately first published by The Times was essentially the same one that reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had first submitted at that time.[9] In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times.[10]

Gonzales stated that the program authorizes warrantless intercepts where the government “has a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda.” and that one party to the conversation is “outside of the United States”.[11] The revelation raised immediate concern among elected officials, civil right activists, legal scholars and the public at large about the legality and constitutionality of the program and the potential for abuse. Since then, the controversy[12] has expanded to include the press’s role in exposing a classified program, the role and responsibility of Congress in its executive oversight function and the scope and extent of Presidential powers under Article II of the Constitution.

Above is what the NSA is and what they are capable of in a nutshell.

So let’s get this straight: The NSA is going to be working with Google to help prevent Hacking?

Google, a nongovernmental entity, a private enterprise, is soliciting a Government Agency to help them with their security issues? Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

Get me a cup of Conflict and throw some Interest in there. 

Read the news blurb below and leave your thoughts.


In wake of hack, Google negotiating cooperation with the NSA

By John Timmer | Last updated February 4, 2010 3:05 PM
In January, Google went public with news that some of its systems had been hacked, along with those of a number of US-based companies. The attacks had targeted both accounts maintained by political activists and commercial code, and Google pointed the finger straight at China, vowing to change its entire approach to business in that country. But a report now suggests that the company is also looking to beef up its internal defenses to prevent a repeat of the attacks.

The Washington Post is reporting that Google has started negotiations with the US National Security Agency about a collaborative effort to analyze the attack and figure out how best to prevent a recurrence. The Post is citing confidential sources, as the deal isn’t final and, even if it were, it’s unlikely that Google would seek to publicize it.

For starters, both organizations have already been the target of many complaints by privacy advocates, the NSA for its domestic surveillance efforts, Google for its data retention policies. The combination of the two would clearly make the advocates far more uneasy, and might help them make their case with the wider public. Meanwhile, as the report notes, private companies have often been loath to share information about their proprietary systems with the government for a variety of reasons.

That may explain why the negotiations have been going slowly, as the NSA would clearly need access to and understanding of Google’s infrastructure in order to fully evaluate the attacks and future risks. And that’s precisely the sort of proprietary information that Google is presumably reluctant to provide anyone with—even a highly secretive organization like the NSA



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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. They have blamed this megacorp with many wrong reasons so
    that the new customers would shy away from investing with them.
    When you eat large meals in one sitting, especially empty
    calorie meals, you not only become sluggish and tired, but you also store those calories as fat.

    I could have easily ordered a super-sized #5
    with extra cheesy sauce and the 5,000 empty calories that came with it during my fast-food drive-thru experience
    or I could get creative.

  2. Music began playing when I opened up this site

  3. Very concerning stuff.

    The tidal wave of Post-9/11 privacy violations (both by Big Brother and Little Brothers) has got to be the single biggest issue almost nobody gives a fuck about. Most people are fine with the government monitoring everything they do, or the private companies/individuals who do it as well. Thanks to Reality TV, many actually enjoy being watched by cameras as if they were common criminals. It validates their pathetic existence.

    It’s for our safety don’t ya know? Because the public is stupid enough to think taking pictures stops a crime from happening. (The World Trade Centre had over a thousand security cameras that kept it safe!) The public mistakenly thinks that drift net fishing of everybody’s private communications will result in greater safety. All it does is create mountains of completely useless information that has to be sifted through anyway. If anything, such wastes of resources actually make us LESS safe.

    Not only that, that information can be kept forever and used for nefarious purposes. Political retribution, blackmail, secret blacklisting and intimidation are not only possible, it happened in the past and seems to be happening again.

    But everybody has this laughably naive notion that they don’t have anything to fear if they’re not doing anything wrong. The government is only interested in Bad Guys. While that’s largely true, it’s still a very dangerous assumption.

    Anyone familiar with the Nixon era knows how low the threshold can be to become an Enemy of The State. I’m sure it’s even lower now. All you really have to do is be actively opposed to something the government is doing and you could become a target. But today, “actively opposed” could consist of little more than Internet chat groups or Facebook associations. Remember, it’s always easier to monitor and punish a law abiding citizen than it is to catch a criminal or a terrorist who tend to cover their tracks.

    Which is why Google and the NSA teaming up very concerning. If they cooperate, there is almost literally nothing they can’t dredge up on you.

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