Google and the NSA Always Had a Working Relationship

#Privacy

Thu, Jul 24th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Jason Leopold of AlJazeera, emails obtained under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal that "a year before Snowden became a household name," National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt had a "far cozier working relationship [...] than was implied by Silicon Valley brass after last year’s revelations about NSA spying."

[...] by enlisting the NSA to shore up their defenses, those companies may have made themselves more vulnerable to the agency’s efforts to breach them for surveillance purposes.

“I think the public should be concerned about whether the NSA was really making its best efforts, as the emails claim, to help secure enterprise BIOS and mobile devices and not holding the best vulnerabilities close to their chest,” said Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s digital civil liberties team.

He doesn’t doubt that the NSA was trying to secure enterprise BIOS, but he suggested that the agency, for its own purposes, was “looking for weaknesses in the exact same products they’re trying to secure.”

The NSA “has no business helping Google secure its facilities from the Chinese and at the same time hacking in through the back doors and tapping the fiber connections between Google base centers,” Cardozo said. “The fact that it’s the same agency doing both of those things is in obvious contradiction and ridiculous.” He recommended dividing offensive and defensive functions between two agencies.

Two weeks after the “60 Minutes” broadcast, the German magazine Der Spiegel, citing documents obtained by Snowden, reported that the NSA inserted back doors into BIOS, doing exactly what Plunkett accused a nation-state of doing during her interview.

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