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Google Gives the US Government Access To Gmail

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the of-course-they-do dept.

Australia 445

schliz writes "Google condemns the Chinese Government for censoring its results, and Australia for planning to do the same. Meanwhile, its lawyers and security experts have told employees to 'be intentionally vague about whether or not we've given access to end-user accounts,' according to engineer James Tarquin, hinting that Google may be sharing its data with the US government. Perhaps Australia's most hated communications minister, Steven Conroy, could be right in his criticism of Google's privacy record after all."

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If not China, why US? (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762844)

If China government cant get access to Gmail, what it makes it ok for USA? Especially to those accounts not owned by US citizens.

If China tried to get access to gmail accounts of those who tried to start revolts in China and that wasn't ok, what makes it ok for US government to get access to those who try to start revolts in US (aka terrorists)? After all, USA also has a long [wikipedia.org] track record of killing those it considers its enemies and even civilians [wikipedia.org] and journalists [slashdot.org] , in addition to detaining people and ignoring their human rights [wikipedia.org] along with sexual abuse [thecurrentaffairs.com] and torture [wikipedia.org] . US does exactly the same to it's enemies than China. Like most of Chinese people, US people also deny this or say it's not as bad or try to justify it by saying they're enemies or "terrorists". In the end it's all the same.

Re:If not China, why US? (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762962)

Because they're over there and we're over here. Google has a substantially larger user base and operation here than in China. Pulling out of China is likely to cause them less loss of revenue than trying to pull out of the US. Assuming they could even do so. With most of the work being done stateside as well as a lot of the communications gear, it's questionable as to whether or not saying no would even make a difference.

Not that that makes it OK, it just suggests that if they don't play ball then the laws can be changed. Admittedly we do have Democratic control of 2 out of 3 branches, but SCOTUS has shown itself to be somewhat less than impressed with things like the constitution in recent years if it doesn't please conservatives. If SCOTUS can justify overturning the DC handgun ban without citing precedence or any case law, I can only imagine what kind of consideration this sort of thing will get.

Re:If not China, why US? (0, Troll)

Sollord (888521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763178)

What universe do you live in?

Re:If not China, why US? (3, Interesting)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763218)

If SCOTUS can justify overturning . . . without citing precedence or any case law

SCOTUS is supposed to hold the law as written in higher regard than previous ruling on it.

Otherwise none [wikipedia.org] of [wikipedia.org] the [wikipedia.org] terrible [wikipedia.org] supreme [wikipedia.org] court [wikipedia.org] decisions [wikipedia.org] could ever be overturned.

Re:If not China, why US? (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763508)

IMHO "the Supreme Court has made stupid decisions in the past, like making Segregation legal," is the biggest argument against why the Court should not be the final arbiter over what the U.S. Constitution says.

- "Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches." --Thomas Jefferson to W. H. Torrance, 1815.

- "To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so..... their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves." --Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820.

- "The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Union, assembled by their deputies in convention, at the call of Congress or of two-thirds of the States. Let them decide to which they mean to give an authority claimed by two of their organs." --Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823

I go even further than this Founding Father:

I think the State Legislatures, acting on behalf of the people, should be given the power to nullify acts of congress. i.e. If 25 States declare a U.S. Law unconstitutional, it has the same effect as if the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. It's nullified. State Legislatures tend to more democratic than the national legislature (which ignored the ~80% of Americans who did NOT want Pelosicare or TARP/bailout bills to pass). The State governments are the proper organ for nullification, not 9 old people who are unelected oligarchs.

Re:If not China, why US? (-1, Offtopic)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763702)

Totally OT so mods fire when ready, but wanted to reply to your sig

OS 10.6 requires 1 gigabyte; no exceptions. But WIN7 runs well on just 1/2 GB. Apple's OS appears *twice* as bloated.

Actually 10.6 will run in 384mb. It won't install with under 1gb of ram. (and other requirements like processor speed)

The difference here is, Windows will let you install into a memory footprint that will make you want to slit your wrists with an icepick. It has nothing to do with the amount of memory either of them needs, but how much they sensibly require. It's like the Dells that were sold as "vista ready" and that were basically unusable until you upgraded them. It's hard to make a good comparison, but OS X and Vista are actually about on par for performance vs hardware host.

This is probably a foreign concept though for you, being able to install on one machine, and move the hard drive to another machine, and have it immediately work perfectly. But you can do that with OS X. One of the many, many advantages of maintaining and servicing a mac. You were making observations on things that you can and can't do between the two OS's, so I'd hope you wouldn't ignore this disparity? ;)

Re:If not China, why US? (1)

Nickodeemus (1067376) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763254)

SCOTUS does not necessarily have to cite precedence or case law when they are interpreting something that is in the Constitution. Thats the benefit to them of being the supreme arbiter in the land of what is the law and what is not the law. Where other courts in the land must use case law to justify, SCOTUS can look at the law itself and determine what it means.

conservatives whine about activist judges (-1, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763532)

when there are no greater activist judges than conservatives

hey scotus: thanks for your january 2010 ruling, allowing corporate spending in election cycles, just in time for the november 2010 election cycle. that's really "constitutionally conservative" of you. way to champion democratic notions over crass financial manipulation assholes. with that vote scotus, and especially that conservative knuckle dragger scalia, earned my eternal burning hatred for being huge hypocrites on constituional principles, being morally bankrupt, and being politically compromised

Re:conservatives whine about activist judges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763678)

Ah, but won't it be funny when technology companies dig into their deep pockets to pay for commercials for their liberal, progressive picks?

Can't you just SEE the red-faced, sputtering, frothing at the mouth right wing yelling "BUT... BUT... THAT'S NOT FAIR!"

I can't wait until election season.

Re:If not China, why US? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763710)

>>>If SCOTUS can justify overturning the DC handgun ban without citing precedence or any case law

Say what? The SCOTUS cited this law: The Constitution. They also quoted a couple of the founders in their decision, including James Madison who wrote the constitution. No citations??? They used plenty of citations.

I also find it odd that you disagree with the Court's decision, considering (1) that DC crime has *dropped* since handguns became legal again. (2) Or considering that the law is clear - the people have the right to bear arms for the purpose of raising a national defense against invaders. (3) Or considering that if you own your own body (the argument used in favor of abortion), then naturally you have an equal right to protect it from harm by thieves/murderers/rapists. Your illogical thinking baffles me.....
.

>we do have Democratic control of 2 out of 3 branches

Oh. Never mind. You're a Democrat. You don't believe in either the Supreme Law or natural rights. That's why you want to disarm everybody and leave them vulnerable to attack.

Re:If not China, why US? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762996)

Obviously Google let the US do this because they asked nicely, China just took it and Google said that was jsut impolite.
Also - http://citizenx.org/wp-content/republican-fascism.jpg [citizenx.org] or http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2187/2368696288_c10d8e8a95_o.jpg [flickr.com]

Your pick of party.

I should probably get up off my ass and get my own mail server up and running.

Re:If not China, why US? (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763420)

Nice links save for the fact last i checked the Democrats were in power... New boss is same as old boss.

Re:If not China, why US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763534)

Nice links save for the fact last i checked the Democrats were in power... New boss is same as old boss.

Actually I suspect if Republicans were in power that Google would be less likely to allow government to have access to emails.

Google is run by Obama supporters ... they trust the Obama government not to abuse the rights of the people.

Frankly its foolish regardless of whom is in charge in DC.

Re:If not China, why US? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763524)

Did you mean for those to be links to two different pictures? Because they aren't.

Re:If not China, why US? (1)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762998)

From TFA:
"Like all law-abiding companies, we comply with U.S. laws and legal processes."

What does that mean? Google doesn't think China has laws? Maybe there was more to the China-Google slugfest than we were led to believe.

Re:If not China, why US? (4, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763552)

What do you mean "Google doesn't think China has laws"? They made just as much a show of obeying China's laws when they operate there, as they make of obeying U.S. laws when they operate here.

They also made a show of disagreeing with the principles on which some of those laws were based, and in the case of China they made a business decision that it was no longer worth access to the Chinese market. Anyone who claims this was solely based on their alleged disagreement with the principles behind Chinese law is being naive, but that's beside the point.

If Google didn't think China had laws, they would continue operating there and evade Chinese efforts at censorship and spying.

Re:If not China, why US? (5, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763232)

If Google is abiding by its user agreement then it provides data on users if given a subpoena from a court of law under which it operates. The problem with China was that they did not go through their own legal process but turned to hacking Google's and users' computers. I believe that in the past Google HAS given Chinese law enforcement information on users when requested to do so by a court and when the data was within that courts jurisdiction.

Re:If not China, why US? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763498)

However subpoena is kind of moot point. You can get one just to check that theres not any law being broken, instead of having some evidence or probably cause. In my opinion a court order should be the minimum requirement in the US too. Also, a lot of data is actually disclosed even without subpoena and like with this news US government probably has some hidden backdoor service like with some ISP's.

Re:If not China, why US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763310)

You had me until you listed the recent death of the journalists by US Army. There is no indication the government intercepted those journalists's email, gmail or not, then tracked those two journalists in Iraq and send those gunship to gun them down. However, there's an indication that the govt. tried to stop this video from being published by following wikileaks editors through various means (even by email?). But the govt did not murder them.

The journalists' death has nothing to do with the govt. access to email, gmail or not.

Re:If not China, why US? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763388)

Obviously English ISN'T your first language. If you don't know the differences between the US government and Chinese government then STFU and only open your mouth IF you can find something intelligent to say.

Re:If not China, why US? (4, Insightful)

StWaldo (574433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763460)

So by your reasoning, a terrorist is a revolutionary, and (at the risk of sounding jingoistic) the 9/11 attacks, Madrid bombings, London, Moscow, etc., were all on a par with Tienamen Square or any number of peaceful demonstrations for Tibet or human rights in general.

And are you seriously suggesting that the US at large is culpable for the actions of William Calley, Jesse England, and any other rapist, murderer, or degenerate who manages to make it into the uniformed service.

Careful using a broad brush when you paint your pictures, it smacks of an untrained eye and mind.

Re:If not China, why US? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763574)

And are you seriously suggesting that the US at large is culpable for the actions of William Calley, Jesse England, and any other rapist, murderer, or degenerate who manages to make it into the uniformed service.

How do you know its not the same thing with Chinese army? They even have hundreds of thousands larger army so theres probably more such immoral persons.

Just like China, US also has detention camps and is one of few countries in the world who still have a death penalty (like China).

Re:If not China, why US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763468)

If China government cant get access to Gmail, what it makes it ok for USA? Especially to those accounts not owned by US citizens.

If China tried to get access to gmail accounts of those who tried to start revolts in China and that wasn't ok, what makes it ok for US government to get access to those who try to start revolts in US (aka terrorists)? After all, USA also has a long [wikipedia.org] track record of killing those it considers its enemies and even civilians [wikipedia.org] and journalists [slashdot.org] , in addition to detaining people and ignoring their human rights [wikipedia.org] along with sexual abuse [thecurrentaffairs.com] and torture [wikipedia.org] . US does exactly the same to it's enemies than China. Like most of Chinese people, US people also deny this or say it's not as bad or try to justify it by saying they're enemies or "terrorists". In the end it's all the same.

Not even close to what the Chinese are doing. I suggest you try burning a US flag in DC then burning a Chinese flag in Tienanmen square. You will then learn the difference.

Re:If not China, why US? (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763470)

You're right. It is all the same and we need to condemn it whenever we see, no matter where. it's not okay simply because others are doing it.

Re:If not China, why US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763558)

I agree with you. Its hypocrisy. They beautify all the evil things they do using the media and sad to say it is a tendency for most innocent Americans even the smart ones to get brainwashed to thinking that everyone besides them are oppressed and so on.

Re:If not China, why US? (2, Insightful)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763560)

The difference between giving access to US law enforcement and giving access to the Chinese government is like the difference between giving access to a police officer or a mafia criminal. The US government does criminal things sometimes, but the Chinese government IS criminal all the time, because it's a dictatorship. In the US, you can openly criticize the government, and if the people want to they can elect a reform candidate. In China a reform candidate can't even run, and the people aren't allowed to openly complain about it. If all the Chinese government wanted from Google was info on thieves and rapists and such, then nobody would complain about them handing it over. Somebody who wants to overthrow the Chinese government violently isn't a terrorist, because the people have a right to overthrow a dictatorship by any means necessary. But the people of the US have the freedom to criticize the government and vote it out of office, so someone who tries to overthrow the US government by violence actually is a terrorist or criminal. The US government isn't perfect, but the Chinese government is in a whole different class of bad.

Because (1)

abbynormal brain (1637419) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763616)

We're keeping it in the family baby! (Muah)

Though I should have done this a while ago... (2, Funny)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762882)

I'm migrating from GMail pretty soon, and logging out any time I do a search.

inb4 "You're overreacting" warblgharbl.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762946)

Or even better, use www.scroogle.org

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763002)

Do you live in the USA? You do realize that all data handling companies are subject to the same US laws, so move your email anywhere you want, the government can still get it at will.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763038)

Good luck passively monitoring the mail server I own.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763084)

Good point, but if you host your own mail server it's much harder for someone to gain access.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763320)

Irrelevant. One does not have to gain access to your hardware to obtain a copy of all the data that goes into it and out of it.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763368)

They still have to gain access to your hardware in order to install the keylogger to capture your pgp passphrase.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763550)

Dose any one still think that a keylogger is not a standard component of all computer hardware? If it's a computer and hooked to the internet then obviously the government is watching you. That's why I only post to Slashdot from work.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

JTsyo (1338447) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763502)

If they subpoena the data on your server would you refuse and go to jail?

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763166)

Do you live in the USA? You do realize that all data handling companies are subject to the same US laws, so move your email anywhere you want, the government can still get it at will.

Take mail hosting from prq.se [prq.se] (the company hosting WikiLeaks and earlier The Pirate Bay) and use SSL IMAP/POP3 to access it. Looks like a quite good package [prq.se] too.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763642)

Do you live in the USA? You do realize that all data handling companies are subject to the same US laws, so move your email anywhere you want, the government can still get it at will.

It's easy enough to get a virtual or real server in Europe.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

Warlord88 (1065794) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763108)

There is an option to disable search history. Whether Google actually stops collecting information if history is disabled is entirely different thing.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763198)

They always also have logs of what search queries were done from what IP's.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763278)

Show me a search engine that doesn't.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763600)

Scroogle [scroogle.org] and other such. There's also some German one (I forgot the name now) that is required to delete such data by their private laws.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763236)

Why would you do that? Where are you going to go that the government kind use a legal means to get your data?

Do you connect to the internet? then you connect to a service that the government can legal get data from.

Based on you post, I would say you have neither a bookshelf or a diploma.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763436)

Where are you putting your email? On a private server? Even if you own all of the hardware and store it on your own property, the government can still get at it with a warrant.

As for a private server with some hosting company, I'd be very surprised if they protected my data with the same vigor Google would. Especially given that failure to do proper monitoring got an entire datacenter confiscated by the FBI for the actions of a single customer.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763664)

Where are you putting your email? On a private server? Even if you own all of the hardware and store it on your own property, the government can still get at it with a warrant.

As for a private server with some hosting company, I'd be very surprised if they protected my data with the same vigor Google would. Especially given that failure to do proper monitoring got an entire datacenter confiscated by the FBI for the actions of a single customer.

PRQ.se [prq.se]

Confidentiality
We defend your integrity to the end. With our discrete customer relations policy we don't even have to know who you are, and if we do we will keep it under strict secrecy. We utilize encryption heavily, and suggest that you do the same.

They also host WikiLeaks and TPB.

And if you store your own server at your property, just crypt it.

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763528)

Give Duck Duck Go a try, you'll like their privacy policy: http://duckduckgo.com/privacy.html

Re:Though I should have done this a while ago... (1)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763672)

Don't you mean Wharrgarbl? [photobucket.com]

Duh? (0, Offtopic)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762898)

Duh? Is this really a surprise for anyone that Google would do so? Really?

Re:Duh? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762974)

Usually it has required a court order, or at least subpoena. Though subpoena is kind of meaningless as you can get it just to check that nothing criminal is taking place instead of checking if some crime is being committed (yes theres a difference)

well fuck (0)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762906)

that sucks.

hinting that Google may be sharing its data with (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31762916)

So in other words this is the opinion of someone who read an article which quotes someone as saying that he was told to do something suspicious. Good stuff.

Anonymous Coward (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31762930)

Isn't it a shame that Google, once regarded as a leader in privacy, seems to have gone and sold its soul? "Don't Be Evil" seems to be more and more fluid in its meaning, and suddenly Google is looking like another Microsoft. What happened to "The Good Guys"? I'll be sure to cancel my gmail account very soon, such a shame.

Re:Anonymous Coward (2, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763032)

Isn't it a shame that Google, once regarded as a leader in privacy, seems to have gone and sold its soul? "Don't Be Evil" seems to be more and more fluid in its meaning, and suddenly Google is looking like another Microsoft. What happened to "The Good Guys"? I'll be sure to cancel my gmail account very soon, such a shame.

Google has never been leader of privacy. "Don't Be Evil" is PR. Google is a marketing company - to begin with your privacy is gone. Microsoft is at least selling you software and has no reason to violate your privacy. The Good Guys? They developed Google and started making money. And you know, Google is a publicly traded company with shareholders who can tell the company to do anything they like.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763300)

And you know, Google is a publicly traded company with shareholders who can tell the company to do anything they like.

You had an intelligent post till right there. Everyone knows that Larry & Sergei have complete voting control over Google until they sell their stock (which granted, will be sooner than later).

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763686)

And because Google maintains logs and everything else so long, changes in the future can affect current day too.

Re:Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763362)

Not really true, except in the sense that serious non-proftable decisions will be penalized by loss of share-value. The founders set it up so that they couldnt be removed very easily not have their long term goals overriden. I'm not a huge fan of Google's size and power, but they are genuinely decent people I'd say. A little arrogant sometimes, but they mean well is the worst I'd classify it as!

From their IPO document:

"The main effect of this structure is likely to leave our team, especially Sergey and me, with increasingly significant control over the company's decisions and fate, as Google shares change hands. After the IPO, Sergey, Eric and I will control 37.6% of the voting power of Google, and the executive management team and directors as a group will control 61.4% of the voting power. New investors will fully share in Google's long term economic future but will have little ability to influence its strategic decisions through their voting rights"

Summary and Title doesn't seem to match (5, Insightful)

Reapman (740286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762940)

Why does the summary say "May Be Sharing" while the Title indicates this has already happened?

Re:Summary and Title doesn't seem to match (4, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763026)

This is Slashdot. We distill sensationalist journalism to its essence.

Re:Summary and Title doesn't seem to match (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763060)

Welcome to Marketing 101. Please take your seat...

Re:Summary and Title doesn't seem to match (2, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763322)

Because the headline is more scary that way.

Re:Summary and Title doesn't seem to match (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763424)

In the discussions about China's hacking here on /. it was mentioned that the US government probably has a back door into Gmail. And Yahoo and the rest as well of course. This as there is supposedly some law over in the US that requires telecom companies to provide means for wiretapping. Originally meant for telephone only, this was rumoured to be extended to webmail providers, some posters even going as far as claiming that telcos (including webmail providers) must provide a direct back door for government access.

No hard evidence was given, of course.

And then there is something like the PATRIOT act that (also according to /. comments) allows the government to subpoena communications (e.g. the contents of a gmail account) and on top of that require this subpoena to remain secret from the person whose data has been subpoenaed.

In other words: if someone says the US government has accessed private data stored on gmail (or yahoo mail, or hotmail - why are this kind of discussions always about gmail anyway? There are more webmail providers out there) then I would take their word for it. Even if the US gov't would claim never to have done such things I wouldn't believe them, thinking of the illegal wiretapping scandals under Bush. That part of trust is lost, and the funny thing about trust is that it is gained hard and lost easily.

In this case, from what I know about scary laws in place in the US, I would give gmail the benefit of the doubt and simply assume that they do share data with the US government.

Eh. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762944)

I hate to say this doesn't surprise me, but it doesn't :/

Re:Eh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763126)

I hated to read your comment, but I did. :(

You can't fight a subpoena. (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762960)

Look, it doesn't matter who or where you are. The government has guns, you do not. If they want something, they will get it. What separates, or is supposed to separate, this process in places like the USA, from places like China, is that there is supposed to be accountability for the government that gets that information. This is at the ballot box and also due to separation of branches.

That Bush argued that the executive was allowed to unilaterally search due to a commander in chief doctrine was what really got him in trouble with the left, and, I think on that score the lefties were correct. What's interesting, though, is that the present administration seems to be adopting the same doctrine, but is making the "personality" argument, and really, once you start using personality arguments, rather than supportive of a legal process, you've shredded civil rights. To wit, just because Obama might be a nicer dictator for some people doesn't mean that he is still not a dictator. If it is bad for a President to do something when you voted against him, it is bad for a President to do it when you vote against, and vice versa.

Re:You can't fight a subpoena. (4, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31762988)

Look, it doesn't matter who or where you are. The government has bigger guns than you.

Fixed.

Re:You can't fight a subpoena. (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763020)

Google could buy guns and have a million nerd volunteer army.

Re:You can't fight a subpoena. (2, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763500)

Do corporations have the right to bear arms?

(Half-joking, but I believe the question is actually not settled, and not really litigated. The government can probably regulate how corporations may arm their employees and deploy those armed employees, but it's not clear what the limits on that power are.)

Re:You can't fight a subpoena. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763332)

"The government has guns, you do not. If they want something, they will get it. What separates, or is supposed to separate, this process in places like the USA, from places like China, is that there is supposed to be accountability for the government that gets that information."

actually that should read: "The government has guns, you do not. If they want something, they will get it. What separates, or is supposed to separate, this process in places like the USA, from places like China, is that there is supposed to be many well armed and trained militia made up of pirvate citazins who don't answer to the government for the purpuses of stopping this kind of thing". That's what the second amendment was for.

Re:You can't fight a subpoena. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763518)

That Bush argued that the executive was allowed to unilaterally search due to a commander in chief doctrine was what really got him in trouble with the left, and, I think on that score the lefties were correct.

Expecting the President to follow the law isn't a leftist belief. Replace "left" with "non-fascist" and you come closer to reality.

Re:You can't fight a subpoena. (2, Interesting)

OctaviusIII (969957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763690)

Ugh, no. That's not it, either. At the risk of being misinterpreted as defending fascism, let me just say this: the ONLY governments that ignore the rule of law are tyrannies. Julius Caesar's rise to power was illegal; Auschwitz, terrible though it was, was not. Fascism actually highly values the rule of law. The strict militarism, the demands for obedience, and extreme nationalism philosophically cannot allow for legal malleability, even at the top. Petty monarchs of ages past and dictators of today break their own laws with regularity, but such countries are no more fascist than someplace like Kyrgyzstan is democratic.

Inflammatory And Wrong!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31762980)

The article and headline makes it seem like Google is just giving away the keys to the US government everything they have.

But it's clear to me that Goggle "gives" them access insofar as when being served a lawful subpoena or other legal procedure.

This story is so bogus and wrong, Slashdot should be ashamed of themselves.

This is what Google, Facebook and Twitter are for. (3, Funny)

elucido (870205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763010)

The big brother government uses twitter to track what you are doing, uses facebook to investigate you and your friends, uses google to try and figure out what you think.

The FBI exists specifically as an intelligence agency to spy on American citizens. So when random people add you as a friend on facebook it could be the beginning of an FBI investigation.

And ignorance of the law wont hold up in court, so if you don't know whats in the 1000+ page healthcare reform bill, or the tens of thousands of pages of new laws which pass each year, you could already be breaking some esoteric law and committing a felony.

And thats all you need to do to get the FBI to investigate you. So you better not talk about anything criminal.

Re:This is what Google, Facebook and Twitter are f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763118)

So when random people add you as a friend on facebook - so the FBI has to resort to selling penis enlargers these days, as thats whats these random people wanna sell me. bring back Fox and Mulder, they would never stand for these Shenanigans

first word in article was "opinion" (2, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763018)

"No facts to see here. Move along" -Obiwan Kenobi

Special Memo To Slashdot: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763042)

N.S.A., or more correctly, their proxies, are intercepting ALL electronic communications.

Yours In Akademgorodok,
Kilgore Trout

Re:Special Memo To Slashdot: (2, Insightful)

0ld_d0g (923931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763582)

I don't think even google can process hundreds of petabytes *DAILY*. NSA might want to, but they don't have anywhere near the processing power (nobody does) to even piece together the individual data packets together in their original form much less identify the individual end-points accurately (people behind NAT,proxies,etc) or decrypt voice/email communication packets.

Ask Eric Schmidt (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763068)

"If you're doing something you don't want people to know about - STOP DOING IT!"

I don't know how many times I've been criticized for pointing out that gmail TOS do not include anonymity - the government can just ask and google will roll over on you - it's nice to see others finally "getting it."

Re:Ask Eric Schmidt (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763186)

Yes, if the government uses legal means to ask for the data, they will get it. Just like ANY OTHER EMAIL PROVIDER. Do you think your ISP won't do the same?

There is no news here, just an opinion piece.

""If you're doing something you don't want people to know about - STOP DOING IT!"
and THAT is the stupidest thing I have read in a long time.

Re:Ask Eric Schmidt (2, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763374)

I do actually [cnet.com] think so [techdirt.com] . These ISP's clear your traffic data and have gone to court to defend your privacy and won. Some mail providers do the same, and some utilize encryption so that they wouldn't even have access to your emails even if they needed to.

Re:Ask Eric Schmidt (2, Insightful)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763520)

"If you're doing something you don't want people to know about - STOP DOING IT!"

- sounds like the antithesis to freedom... just saying.

It Depends (2, Insightful)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763080)

If a person is sending email to those suspected of contributing to terror groups then our government needs to be able to study those emails. That does not imply that the government has either the intention or the man power to be studying every trivial bit of email that we send or receive.

Re: It Depends (3, Insightful)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763394)

If a person is sending email to those suspected of contributing to terror groups then our government needs to be able to study those emails. That does not imply that the government has either the intention or the man power to be studying every trivial bit of email that we send or receive.

1. "Terrorism" is a very loosely defined word in the US these days.
2. "The government" might not have the intention or manpower to snoop on Jane Harmless, but the disgruntled ex-husband in the local sheriff's department might. Especially if there is a handy fully automated subpoena tool available for all kinds of "law enforcement".

Nice headline, Trollitor (2, Informative)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763096)

Being intentionally vague about whether they share data is not the same thing as "Giving the US Government Access to Gmail"

Google oogles you (1, Interesting)

Meditato (1613545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763098)

The only reason I had been trusting Google was that it had made such a big show of putting up a fight against Department of Justice subpoenas during the Bush administration. If it is confirmed that they quietly caved, then I most definitely will not be purchasing any device running a Google cloud operating system like Chrome OS. And out of sheer, ineffectual spite, I will be be blocking all Google-owned ads.

Huh? (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763124)

The article fails on numerous levels.
1. It cross-compares two different rights issues: censorship and privacy (specifically contrasting Google's rhetoric against government censorship with their compliance to discovery requests under US law). It isn't necessarily inconsistent to argue against censorship but not worry about privacy.
2. Google's compliance with US legal discovery requests (under PATRIOT and other laws) is used to imply that Google advocates breaching privacy. The fact that Google complies with the law isn't evidence that they agree with the law. Indeed they specifically say (and have demonstrated, as far as I can tell) that they fight discovery requests and only deliver private data when the request is necessary/legitimate.
3. The article is also contrasting governmental policies (censorship, etc.) with policies of a private company (Google). The article states "We have far less power over Google." which is true in some sense (Google is not beholden to democracy directly... though it is controlled through laws and through consumer pressure/choice). But this "we have less power over Google" has to be counter-balanced with "Google has far less power over us". If the government mandates censorship, then every citizen and company is affected. If Google mandates censorship on its own, consumers will flock to other services. The difference is huge, and actions taken by government are far more scary because they are far further reaching.
4. Also, no evidence of Google breaching privacy is actually provided. Certainly no evidence that there is a systemic problem; merely that Google is acknowledging that they will comply with US law.

Really the article is just a weak attempt to set-up some a non-existent conflict between Google's open stance against censorship, and their grudging compliance with US discovery laws that could infringe on privacy. But the argument is laughably weak. I'm not trying to give Google a free pass here... but let's focus on the real issues and not trumped-up hypocrisy charges.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763430)

to take a line from the past:

THIS.

it's amazing how few people see google for what they are. they're an american company that has: a set of internal policies, and a set of user policies.

they're not some sort of evil beast that must be destroyed, or whatever crazy person of the week is chirping out with these days. they're a corporation.

jeez (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763128)

A) Sharing information with the Government is not censoring. These are two different issues, and comparing them isn only used to appeal to emotion.

I am not defending either of them, just stating that they aren't really comparable.

B) They are talking about legal request for information.

itNews is just trying to drum up revenue.

data location (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763146)


I most definitely don't store my critical data using remote email, despite the temptation, however, I do know colleagues that do. I shall pass this information on.

google=evil, time to move on

Wrong Tone, wrong conclusion (1)

flerchin (179012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763184)

The difference is due process of law, with oversight and consent of the people, versus totalitarian law.

FTFA:

"We scrutinise each one to ensure that it adheres to both the letter and the spirit of the law before complying, and do our best to notify the subject named in any such requests to give them the opportunity to object."

One can hardly expect Google to do much more than that, beyond hiring their own mercenary army to keep law enforcement out of your free web-hosted email account.

Kills any business use (2, Interesting)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763284)

Last year Google gave a presentation to the government I work for (which is not in the US). They made a big pitch as a sizable part of that presentation to try to convince us to move off Exchange and to the commercial Gmail offering. There's some pretty good reasons why that's a good idea.

Unfortunately, stuff like this kills the idea entirely. There is absolutely no sales pitch that will convince people here that we really want to turn over our government email to the US government. (Hell, with the way things are going now we don't even allow people to take laptops with anything on them across the border, even if they're encrypted.)

Re:Kills any business use (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763542)

And you think the UK-USA Security Agreement nations don't already read your government's mail?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echelon_(signals_intelligence) [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacrosse_(satellite) [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_(satellite) [wikipedia.org]

Get yer pitch fork out (2, Insightful)

linuxguy (98493) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763294)

Almost sounds like the guy who submitted the "story" works for Microsoft. "Google *may* be sharing data with govt. Time to get super mad at Google!"

Sensationalist stuff like this really pisses me off. CmdrTaco posted the story and sure got some ad impressions as a result. But man, do you really have to sink this low?

Re:Get yer pitch fork out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31763688)

Heh, If the regularly scheduled anti-ms troll pieces that slashdot is known for were fact-checked, slashdot would be an empty place.

In either case, you could say that since slashdot is happy to accept advertising money from MS, your ability to troll here against MS is in part because MS helped pay the bills ;)

This is shocking news why? (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763358)

Every company in the US is required to give data to the US government when they get served a search warrant if they don't comply they'll just get there servers seized by the FBI/US Marshals. If you want secure email run your own private mail server at home with ssl, and an encrypted hard drive with an emergency electromagnet built in the drive cage. Though if you're that much of a nut case or into that much illegal shit it might be better if you just stopped using the internet its bound help reduce your paranoia.

Oh please... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763400)

The title should have read: Google is big and scary because a government might serve a warrant on it!

Yeah, imagine that, a government might serve a f#$%ing warrant or something equivalent on Google in compliance with its legal code, which Google can find out about in advance of moving to the country or leave if it gets too onerous.

What is different here is that the USA PATRIOT Act still works within our legal system; China didn't even bother working within its own legal system. The day that the NSA starts extrajudicially attacking Google for Australian labor emails is the day there is a real comparison...

Wow, talk about a blatantly incorrect title! (1)

carluva (963158) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763548)

Have Slashdot stories always been this ridiculous and I just haven't noticed before?

Re:Wow, talk about a blatantly incorrect title! (1)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763610)

Magic 8ball answer:

I would be inclined to think so.

Maybe just for subpoenas? (1)

tedhiltonhead (654502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763620)

Sometimes when the government subpoenas an ISP for data on a specific customer, they request that this be done in a way that won't let the customer know. You can imagine the nature of criminal investigations that would call for this. The Google policy discussed here may very be for dealing with those types of cases. It's not logically correct to assume that this means Google is secretly sharing all e-mail data with a government.

Completely Inaccurate (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763692)

1. Google telling its employees to "Be vague" does not mean they're giving out personal information or access to the government. For all we know, they're being vague so the government doesn't get a straight answer about why they CAN'T access the accounts.

2. This article is pure speculation and has no factual basis to indicate Google is giving anyone access to anything. A report worthy of Fox News.

Google has always been a proponent of privacy, and they have gone to near-contempt lengths to prevent people from obtaining their records. I highly doubt for some reason they're just handing that information over now.

"We have far less power over Google." (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31763700)

Perhaps someone should tell Mr. Winterford that it is actually possible to not use Gmail. In fact, it is possible to not use any Google services at all. Furthermore, he can make that decision on an individual basis: no need to convince a majority of fellow voters to go along with him as he must do in order to change his government.

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