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Google didn't help the NSA

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

Monday, March 17, 2008
12 years ago3,047 views

<<Google is now the first of the major search engines and e-mail providers to make a firm statement on the issue of the National Security Agency's wholesale surveillance of Internet content.

Google has stated it didn't help the NSA search your e-mails. More specifically the company denies participating in the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program. >> ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

One interesting part (highlighted):

<<If Google was obligated to give up search/e-mail records, it is likely that this request would be made via a Patriot Act authorized National Security Letter. A recent Journalarticle confirmed as much, stating that the information gained from National Security letters ended up in the gigantic NSA databases. But recipients of those letters may not be allowed to tell anyone about it, ***and may in fact be forced to lie***.>>

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Google doesn't help NSA, but CIA ;-) ...
They made this statement maybe because they have something to hide... ?

shady [PersonRank 3]

12 years ago #

but lying would be evil and Google believes in not being evil!!!


Since "evil" can be subjective...

Google could just let users have absolute control of their data and thus not having users worry about governments intruding on their personal data.

My examples:

1. Have gmail users have the option of opting out of email retention on the google servers after they delete their emails.

2. anonymize all ip sessions or give users the choice to anonymize all ip seesions across the board, including your ip session when you log into gmail

And i'm sure you guys have other ideas on how Google could better protect our data.

Hey, Google COULD be the THE BEST privacy advocate if they WANTED to be.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

there is a difference between the DoJ and NSA ..

if the DOJ ask' s they will provide. ..they don't need to give NSA anything, its already been aquired on the wire at the ISP zone...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> but lying would be evil and Google believes in not being evil!!!

Google does not say "don't be evil" anymore, they say "evil scale" – this means small evils (such as China self-censorship) can be done for a perceived greater good. In other words, if they believe they risk the shutdown of Google as a whole if they don't lie, then they can argue it is better to commit the evil of lying than it is to deprive the world of Google.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Google COULD allow you to submit your public key so that all Gmails would be encrypted with it, and become inaccessible to anyone who does not hold your private key.

Unfortunately there's no business case for that, because Google needs their servers to scan your emails for the purpose of displaying context-sensitive ads.

Bilal [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Today or tomorrow, Technology will always yield to political pressure.
If there is any guaranty that these information will only serves for security goals then no problem. however the odds this happen are zero.

> but lying would be evil and Google believes in not being evil!!!
let's ask Google about this: ...

shady [PersonRank 3]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]phillip, wow, I didn't know they switched their motto! Got a link for that?

[put at-character here]roger, I remember reading somewhere that their is a way for Google to encrypt emails and still provide adds. I don't recall the explanation though...

But it would be nice if gmail implemented some of hushmail's security features!

[put at-character here]bilal, good one! lol!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> wow, I didn't know they switched their motto! Got a link for that?

Censoring e.g. human rights watch groups in Google China is going against the "don't be evil" motto taken literally, and Eric Schmidt accordingly announced the "evil scale" in 2006:

<<We concluded that although we weren't wild about the restrictions, it was even worse to not try to serve those users at all .... We actually did an evil scale and decided not to serve at all was worse evil>> ...

By referring to "worse evil," Eric is implying that Google went for a less worse evil – but still evil, hence going against a literal "don't be evil" or at least rendering the old motto irrelevant.

It might be interesting to compare references to "don't be evil" made in official Google interviews before, and after January 2006.

Colin Colehour [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I'm hoping Google doesn't follow the same path that Phone companies have followed recently.

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