[Follow-Up] Google Calls Out US Government on NSA Spying Issue

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief
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    Earlier in the week we shared breaking news about Verizon being forced to give up customer phone records to the NSA by a Top Secret Court order. A political and ethical firestorm erupted and it has dominated the mainstream news scene ever since.

    More info has since come to light, and the whistleblower himself, a man named Edward Snowden, came forward admitting he was the one who leaked the documents. Snowden formerly worked for the CIA and also just recently worked as a contractor for the NSA. He is now hiding out in Hong Kong while the U.S. Government debates on how to get him back and possibly prosecute him as a traitor. Some are hailing him as a hero. He gave up a $200,000 dollar a year job, his family and his girlfriend, knowing that leaking the evidence would probably ruin his life. Of course, there are two sides to this debate and there are those who would argue he betrayed an important duty. Our Government is simply trying to do the impossible job of protecting us from possible terrorism by gathering as much data as possible to predict future events. It is perhaps the greatest balancing act a government can perform, trying to weigh safety and security versus freedom and liberty.

    Regardless, this is not a political forum and the secret universal answers to this issue will probably not be discovered here. However, there is something that is specifically relevant to our forum that we would like to share with you today. One of the documents Snowden leaked also talked about a secret NSA program called PRISM which is basically a secret wiretapping of our biggest internet and technology companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple and many more. Supposedly, the network activity for these companies has been closely monitored by the NSA for some time. All of the big names came forward denying it. Google has been particularly vocal about this, and Larry Page even took the stage expressing disgust and assuring Google customers that their servers are 100% secure and none of their data has been given to the government unless a valid and non-secret legal request has been made.

    Today, Google took things a step further and has called out the U.S. Government on this issue. Google sent a legal request to the U.S. Government requesting Google be given the ability to be more transparent and publicly publish even more national security related data. Here's a quote with the full blog post from Google,

    So far, the response to Google taking the government to task on this issue has been resoundingly positive. Google is being hailed for their courage and their renewed dedication to further transparency. Basically Google is making it clear they won't stand for what has happened, and they want to prove beyond any doubt that they have not been coerced by the U.S. Government. It's laudable that Google was the first to take such a hard-line in the sand stance, and it will be interesting to see if other companies follow suit. Share your thoughts on Google's move and what you think might come about from this action.

    Thanks for the tip, wicked!

    Source: Google Blog
     
    #1 dgstorm, Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  2. johnomaz

    johnomaz Silver Member

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    As Michael Scott from The Office once said "you expect to get screwed over by your company, you don't expect to get screwed over by your girlfriend". Just replace company with government.

    I'd like to know if any actual leads were discovered in the *listening in* they've done. Have they stopped actual terror plots. Have they foiled criminals? Has the power been abused for reasons completely aside from its actual purpose? I see it like Google. Billions of bits of data go through every second and some serious computing power is used to pick up key words/phrases. No group of people is actually listening to every conversation or anything. I don't think its ok, but at the same time, welcome to post 9/11 America. Sadly, America is still better than so many other countries. Every country has its issues and they all begin at the top, the government.
     
  3. kodiak799

    kodiak799 Gold Member

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    I'm sure they have. And according to Obama, this intel (broadly speaking) accounts for about 1 in 7 leads.

    The key question is how effective is it, really, with terrorist cells increasingly going off the grid. Of course the Boston guys had quite a digital trail, but they fell thru the cracks.

    At some point, the potential for the govt to abuse this power becomes the greater risk.
     
  4. Tonik

    Tonik Active Member

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    With all due respect to the author Google isn't taking the government to task. Taking them to task would be fighting some of this in court. Especially the PRISIM system.

    This is a PR move.
     
  5. GeLopez

    GeLopez Member

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    i love that google is at least doing something. anybody else wants to join in?
     
  6. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief
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    I definitely see your point of view, but sometimes going public is actually the more difficult thing. If Google wanted to take on the government in the courts, they could be forced into using the Secret Court system. By immediately going public, it is painting a big red target on themselves for everyone to see. It also strategically puts the government in a position to respond or look even worse. Also, perhaps this is just the first step. Maybe Google intends to fight things in court. Regardless, it's great to see them take a stance.
     
    #6 dgstorm, Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  7. gadgetrants

    gadgetrants Senior Member

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    ^This. Actually, my first thought was, "Gee, if I ran a company where the slogan was 'Don't be evil' but I actually didn't believe it, then what I'd do is cooperate with the government with one hand, and then tell them that I was planning to issue (totally meaningless) press statements with the other hand that appeared to neither condone nor cooperate with the government." In other words, keep the public happy while actually pleasing the people in power.

    Without real action, it's 100% impossible to know if this statement is sincere. By all accounts, the government response will be to get lost, and google will end up looking like the good guy (who lost).

    -Matt

    DISCLAIMER: the older I get, the more quickly I buy into absurd conspiracy theories (except the "We didn't really land on the moon," and "9/11 was really the US govt." type stuff)!
     
    #7 gadgetrants, Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  8. FunN4Lo

    FunN4Lo Member

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    Couldn't have said it better myself. I am a huge Google fan, but I think Google has scripted this, and it fits right into their game plan. Let the government think they are helping them. Let the people think they are fighting the man. When all the smoke and mirrors start to fade, turn on Skynet for world domination
     
  9. DesktopDevin

    DesktopDevin Active Member

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    Agreed nothing but a PR Stunt, if they wanted to impress me they should have fought it before they were busted doing it.

    This is like a kid getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar and blames it on their brother/sister saying they were telling him/her to get them the cookies.

    But is anybody really actually surprised about this revelation? Did anybody actually think their data is actually safe from the corporate/government machine?

    Yes it may have been safe from "unsavory individuals", but to actually trust the people that hold the keys.

    Let me post this IM from the Zuck that has made its fair share of rounds around the web. It is the reason I will never ever have a facebook account. And the Zuck himself admitted that he made this statement about the users of the early version of facebook.

    Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

    Zuck: Just ask.

    Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

    [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

    Zuck: People just submitted it.

    Zuck: I don't know why.

    Zuck: They "trust me"

    Zuck: Dumb F*cks.


    If you actually trust these people with your data, read the above IM again and let it sink in because this is how they truly feel about the users of their "product" which is you.
     
    #9 DesktopDevin, Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  10. Dalvik_Cache

    Dalvik_Cache Super Moderator
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    Based on Googles traditional stance on SOPA and other legislative bills to regular the exchange of data I would say it's sincere.
     
  11. Shadez

    Shadez Super Mod/News Team
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    I'm surprised more people didn't know about Echalon...
     
  12. kodiak799

    kodiak799 Gold Member

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    Again, I'm not really sure what people expect. Google (and other companies) was under secret court order to release that data. Not much of a leg to stand on. And in case you haven't been paying attention recently, opposing the govt does not come without consequences.
     
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