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DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Google / NSA Partnership

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the can-neither-confirm-nor-deny dept.

Censorship 157

SonicSpike writes "The Justice Department is defending the government's refusal to discuss — or even acknowledge the existence of — any cooperative research and development agreement between Google and the National Security Agency. The Washington based advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center sued in federal district court here to obtain documents about any such agreement between the Internet search giant and the security agency. The NSA responded to the suit with a so-called 'Glomar' response in which the agency said it could neither confirm nor deny whether any responsive records exist. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington sided with the government last July."

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China issues similar statement (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338363)

China can neither confirm or deny that the U.S. contracting out almost all its intelligence work now to third-party private contractors like Google, Stratfor, etc. makes it a lot easier to steal classified intelligence and code from you dumb yankees.

Re:China issues similar statement (5, Funny)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338425)

No way, I believe Googles security would be substantially better than any government system, right?

Re:China issues similar statement (5, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338521)

That's not what you said in your last email...

Re:China issues similar statement (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338747)

Google has been hacked several times. Last time it happened in 2010 [topnews.us] as a company-wide hack. Chrome is also hacked daily. Hell, it was the first browser to fall in this years pwn2own. Google is bad with security. Really bad. I guess that comes with the NSA package.

Re:China issues similar statement (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338893)

It was the first to fall in pwn2own because it was the first one they told them to try cracking.

Re:China issues similar statement (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339283)

No way, I believe Googles security would be substantially better than any government system

*clap*clap* - well wrote.

Hands up those of you that don't think that Google also tells the US Government Inc. what you search for (and click on, since they have a nice little habit of doing referring rather than direct linking on a lot of hits (look at the actual links, dumbasses) to "contentious" stuff (read: stuff that affects big business or affects security theater or any other amero-gov-war-terrist-business-centirc paranoia money generating)).

Parse that last paragraph, kiddies :-^

Re:China issues similar statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338479)

That's not even a logical statement. Why would China want to keep this knowledge clandestine when the country has nothing to gain from "hiding" well known information?
Secondly, what's with the bigotry?

I bought an iPad! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338389)

Did you hear? I bought an iPad! AN IPAD!!! Now all the guys at the gay bar will finally notice me! I've also made sure to buy a dozen pairs of skinny jeans and some emo glasses in preparation of receiving it on Friday so I can go straight to Starbucks and show it off! AN IPAD!!! WOOHOO!!

Re:I bought an iPad! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338491)

Here's a bit of a warning, mate: girls dig guys who use Apple gear.

Apple = cool user.
Microsoft = corporate user.
Linux user = nerd loser*.

* this comment is not aimed at unix on servers.

Re:I bought an iPad! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338821)

Not to mention, iPhone owners have more sexual partners [cnn.com] on average.

No, Fandroids, your hand doesn't count.

Re:I bought an iPad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338903)

neither does steve job's rectum, but that's never stopped an apple fan.

Re:I bought an iPad! (3, Insightful)

MisterMidi (1119653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338917)

So basically you're saying that girls with iPhones are sluts? Good to know :-)

Re:I bought an iPad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339075)

The article failed to mention that the sexual relationships were almost always homosexual.

Re:I bought an iPad! (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339347)

Here's a bit of a warning, mate: girls dig guys who use Apple gear.

Apple = cool user.
Microsoft = corporate user.
Linux user = nerd loser*.

* this comment is not aimed at unix on servers.

Then I am proud to be a nerd loser (Ubuntu 10.04 on both desktop and laptop).. Being 61 and happily married for 26 years
I'm not gonna worry about "the girls not digging me" cuz I don't use rotten apple gear..

Re:I bought an iPad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339439)

I'm sure that mounting Moby Dick...er.... your wife is great....fun?

M$ FUD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338401)

This is just a made-up controversy by M$ to stir the FUD pot.

Who really cares? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338413)

Since NSA took over Facebook all of the data they need is on there.

Re:Who really cares? (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338449)

You're right. Now you can return to your current WoW session in your mom's basement.

Re:Who really cares? (1)

gx5000 (863863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338489)

Not a basement, But an office in our own homes. Gogo Boomers V2 !

Re:Who really cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39340203)

Yeah, somehow I doubt that. Make sure to wipe the burger grease off your resume before you re-apply to McDonalds.

Re:Who really cares? (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338577)

Wrong agency. The CIA has ties to Facebook, the NSA has ties to Google.

Re:Who really cares? (3, Insightful)

willpb (1168125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338943)

The CIA has ties to the NSA so it doesn't matter much.

Re:Who really cares? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339453)

Talk to someone who works for either about inter-service rivalry sometime...

Re:Who really cares? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338945)

Typical government inefficiency!

Re:Who really cares? (1)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339219)

And the FBI has ties to Microsoft. Competition is a good thing!

Re:Who really cares? (2)

travisco_nabisco (817002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339739)

I always thought it was the DOJ that had ties to Microsoft.

Re:Who really cares? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339569)

>>>The CIA has ties to Facebook, the NSA has ties to Google.

So Alex Jones was actually correct when he said facebook and google were working with the government? Every time I heard him say that I was like, "Yeah sure alex." Wow. That blows my mind.

Re:Who really cares? (3, Interesting)

The Moof (859402) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339913)

The thing with Alex Jones is he usually does have some kind of facts to back up his initial points. It's when he makes enormous leaps in (*ahem*) "logic" that he loses credibility in a hurry.

My friends and I have a running joke that Alex Jones is, in fact, a government plant to derail things by taking a real "conspiracy theory" and going crazy with it. The final conclusion he reaches is so out there that no one would believe the original theory in the first place.

well, duh (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338437)

The fact that Google still exists is confirmation that they comply with whatever the NSA asks of them.

The next question to be asked is, "Would the NSA benefit from privileged access to Google's data?" If the answer is yes, then it can be assumed that it has access.

Following this, the only thing an individual doing X has to ask is: "Do I want the government to know about X?" If you don't, you hide X from Google.

The alternative ideological approach is to ask whether the spirit and letter of US law allow any particular relationship between the NSA and Google. This is important in the long run for when we consider moving to a transparent government - perhaps one predating the C20 security services and their privileged position wrt/ information.

Re:well, duh (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338515)

"Do I want the government to know about X?" If you don't, you hide X from Google.

"Do I want the government to know about X?" If you don't, never post anything about X on the Internet and don't tell about X to anyone because they post stuff on the Internet.

FTFY.

Re:X (4, Funny)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338649)

The first rule about X is never talk about X :)

Re:X (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338735)

X? What X? There is no X.

Re:X (4, Funny)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338827)

And you tell me this now after I've spent all my school years finding it?

Re:X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338873)

Don't you worry about Planet Express. Let me worry about X.

Re:X (2)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339529)

The first rule about X is never talk about X :)

Y

Re:X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339911)

E actly

Re:X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39340017)

He was in both films.

Re:well, duh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338897)

Why must geeks see everything in binary? If you are doing something which involves communication with other people, they have to know at least something about what you're doing. If you choose the Internet to communicate, then it stands to reason that you will not use a centralised service the primary business of which is datamining (for advertisers).

You could assume our benevolent masters have all the resources to record every single packet to and from everywhere, and decrypt a good deal of what we consider to be strong. But this requires a much greater leap than simply assuming one government intelligence agency has full read privileges to Google's (or Yahoo's, or Microsoft's...) activity databases.

Re:well, duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339245)

Why inspect all the packets when you can inspect all the websites?
If I had to guess, Google is running some sort of analytics with NSA supplied keywords and reporting the results, including private email.
Hey, they've got a copy of the internet, why not look at it closley?

Re:well, duh (5, Insightful)

demachina (71715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339043)

The problem is if you want to know something about X one thing you do these days is a Google search about X, followed by clicking on links in the results. If you are afraid Google is tracking your search queries maybe you will use DuckDuckGo or go to some other website. Whatever, when you get to the web site on X there is a fair chance the web site will have embedded in it HTTP connections to doubleclick.net, google-analytics.com, googlesyndication.com, googleadservices.com or the Google API like apis.google.com/js/plusone.js.

You don't actually need to post anything about X, or tell anyone about X, you just need to leave bread crumbs scattered about the Internet showing you have interest in X, and Google will know.

All the bread crumbs Google tracks would, no doubt, be extremely interesting to any intelligence agency.

Re:well, duh (2)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338797)

I'm not too worried about Google. IMHO, if there is somebody out there to worry about, it's your ISP. They have a much better idea of what it is that you do on the internet and they have a well established history of doing whatever the government asks them to do. Thankfully TLS is quickly becoming the normal way of connecting to sites, so this does quite a bit to shield you from the prying eyes of your ISP.

Re:well, duh (3, Insightful)

kruhft (323362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339175)

TLS does nothing to prevent your ISP from knowing which sites your are going to, only the data you are sending and receiving from them.

Re:well, duh (3, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338853)

Not really. The NSA has a lot of power to blackmail, and we know that they have no scruples about violating the Constitution left and right, but there's a non-subtle difference between violating the Fourth Amendment and destroying a company.

So even assuming there is data big enough and black enough to destroy Google out there--not a point I'd concede--even then, I'd be hesitant to say the NSA is destroying them or would destroy them absent actual evidence. Frankly, if they got caught taking down a multibillion dollar American company, they would face a real risk of being defunded or decapitated (i.e. leadership replacement). Congress listens to multibillion dollar companies.

Re:well, duh (4, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338925)

Actually, you can replace google with any large technology company - not just microsoft or apple, and the issue is the same.
Don't forget: Cisco, Riverbed, any MPLS complaint devices, any internet-facing devices, DNS, ISPs, TIVO, etc.

The list is way, way, way bigger than Google. Not a good thing but something worth highlighting.

Re:well, duh (5, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339081)

In fairness to Google and the NSA, it's possible for them to be involved on projects together that *don't* involve assembly of a complete dossier of every citizen alive today, with realtime updates.

There are lots of people around the world - many of whom even live outside the US! - who might view Google's systems as an attractive (and critical) piece of infrastructure that would be valuable to penetrate; the NSA is tasked with monitoring and collecting foreign signal intelligence and other communications... it's entirely possible that their collaboration involves detecting, monitoring, and responding to foreign threats, even the establishment and monitoring of honeypots and the like, the existence of which would be confirmed by documents detailing the relationship. This would serve to tip off the organizations trying to penetrate Google's systems, and they could adapt and circumvent the monitoring Google & the NSA have put in place. Being able to monitor these penetration attempts lets the NSA collect data on the methods & capabilities of other intelligence agencies.

There ARE possibilities that don't require careful application of tin foil to your cranium. Doesn't mean you shouldn't be prudent with the use of Google's services, but a collaboration between Google and the NSA *need not* be solely for evil purposes.

Re:well, duh (2)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339411)

...There ARE possibilities that don't require careful application of tin foil to your cranium. Doesn't mean you shouldn't be prudent with the use of Google's services, but a collaboration between Google and the NSA *need not* be solely for evil purposes.

Yes, you're absolutely right. Too bad the only response to try and confirm "do no evil" from either party is "we cannot confirm or deny", so I guess we'll just have to open up the history books and start making some (likely accurate) assumptions...

Re:well, duh (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339735)

And that's fine, and perfectly reasonable - but if you're truly making assumptions based on past performance, make sure you take note of the number of times that the NSA and other intel agencies have legitimately acted in America's security interests and "done the right thing" - not just the "Top 50 worst moments in American intelligence agency history, which prove they're all inherently, irredeemably evil because assuming that fits neatly with my biases."

Re:well, duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39340315)

NSA= National Security Agency.

I am sure the project has nothing to do with the farming and arranging into complete portfolios on every single person who posts on the Internet.
And you seriously believe the NSA is all that interested in protecting Google information systems? This is the Government you are talking about, they barely can wipe thier own ass without having the balls to admit wrong doing.

Seriously, you are either niave or you work for the NSA.

Re:well, duh (1)

Que914 (1042204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39340407)

Sounds good in theory, but domestic counter-terrorism efforts falls under the FBI's jurisdiction, not the NSA's.

NSA uses Glomar! (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338441)

It's super effective!

Re:NSA uses Glomar! (2)

gnick (1211984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338985)

Actually it is... When you ask a question like this, it just publicizes suspicion. I think it's likely that there's a relationship there, but if you asked the NSA, something preposterous like "Is gnick collaborating with you to collect information about slashdot users?" Their response would be identical to this one.

Re:NSA uses Glomar! (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339633)

Well I 'know' that, you 'know' that, everybody 'knows' that, doesn't make it true!

BTW, ensure to put in your report that RivenAleem has not, nor ever will plot any acts of terrorism against the USA, because he's such a swell guy. And ensure you get the capital A right, people are always forgetting that.

Fascism in action (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338453)

"Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power." -Benito Mussolini

What we currently have is corporations acting as arms of the government, and government acting as an arm of corporations, to the point where they aren't very distinguishable.

Re:Fascism in action (0, Troll)

golfnomad (1442971) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338763)

did you forget? our wonderously brilliant Supreme Court declared Corporations are *people* nothing new here, just those with all the money making the rules to suit them.....

Re:Fascism in action (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339327)

This has absolutely nothing to do with corporate personhood.

Think of this another way: Say a US agency (which can legally be only the FBI) wants to intercept a US citizen's phone calls. If they do this legitimately, they have to gather evidence enough to create probable cause, get it to a judge to approve a warrant, and then go to AT&T to intercept the calls. However, if they're willing to break the rules, they can have AT&T just intercept everything and send it to them, grant AT&T immunity from being investigated for wiretapping, and keep everything classified so that nobody can actually bring the issue to court.

They could do this whether or not AT&T had the free speech rights of a person, because this is all about doing things and *not* talking about it.

Re:Fascism in action (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339803)

declared Corporations are *people*

No, they didn't. You merely misunderstand what corporate personhood is or why it exists. Corporate personhood exists merely to protect the rights of the people associated with that corporation.

The Constitution frequently assigns rights or privileges to "people", for example, freedom of speech and the right against seizure of assets. So how do you protect the rights of the people who make up organizations such as limited liability corporations? The US Supreme Court chose to do so via corporate personhood. By treating corporations as people for the purpose of these above rights which refer to people, the Court delivered a simple and logical fix for this problem. They could have fixed it some other way, but they didn't.

And as dkleinsc noted, corporate personhood has nothing to do with the problem of blurring of business and government. That would happen anyway. In fact, it probably would be worsened by the removal of the protections that organizations enjoy today. For example, in the absence of these protections, a politician could take property away from a corporation and give it to a favored crony. And then they could punish the original corporation, if any member of that company dared speak out.

Re:Fascism in action (0)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339485)

"Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power." -Benito Mussolini

Besides the fact that Mussolini's use of the term "corporate" in other contexts does not refer to businesses in the sense we use it, this particular quote seems to be spurious [wikiquote.org] and it's likely that he said no such thing. Please don't perpetuate false quotations.

Ooh! Let's quote more Mussolini! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339541)

Really? Mussolini? You're going to cherry-pick quotes from him?

Well, allow me to do so as well:

"The truth is that men are tired of liberty."

"Socialism is a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail."

"All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state."

No Such Agency (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338475)

The NSA responded to the suit with a so-called 'Glomar' response in which the agency said it could neither confirm nor deny whether any responsive records exist.

The NSA Representative then followed up that they could neither confirm nor deny the existence of the NSA as well. The reporters counter question was, "So you're saying that there may, or may not be an arrangement between Google and an agency that may or may not exist?" To which the NSA representative simply replied, "I'm not saying anything." And then promptly morphed into a bubble which shrank out of existence over a three second period of time and vanished with a small pop.

Re:No Such Agency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338525)

The NSA Representative then followed up that they could neither confirm nor deny the existence of the NSA as well. The reporters counter question was, "So you're saying that there may, or may not be an arrangement between Google and an agency that may or may not exist?" To which the NSA representative simply replied, "I'm not saying anything." And then promptly morphed into a bubble which shrank out of existence over a three second period of time and vanished with a small pop.

I saw a man upon a stair,
A little man who wasn't there,
He wasn't there again today,
He might have been from NSA.

Re:No Such Agency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339717)

I was approached about working with the NSA
Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll take a shot. Say I'm working at the N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people that I never met and that I never had no problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Send in the marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number was called, 'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southie takin' shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. They're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin' play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's walking to the fuckin' job interviews, which sucks 'cause the schrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorroids. And meanwhile he's starvin' 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure, fuck it, while I'm at it, why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

Not surpised (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338483)

Go ask for docs on NSA and MS partnership, or NSA and Apple, or NSA and Yahoo, or NSA and even Bull. You will find that many companies, even those not based here have something going on.

Now, go ask Apple, MS and Yahoo there involvement with China. If you get an honest answer, you would be shocked and PISSED.

Re:Not surpised (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338859)

isn't Yahoo owned by a Chinese company? or did that sale not go through?

I hadn't heard of an Apple/NSA connection, but wouldn't be surprised.

Re:Not surpised (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338987)

The NSA's had its hand in many things, and not necessarily in bad [wikipedia.org] ways.

Re:Not surpised (2)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339213)

Ask for docs on NSA and Slashdot, or NSA and the local pizza place, or NSA and your mother, and you'll get the same non-response.

Re:Not surpised (1)

c (8461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339401)

> Go ask for docs on NSA and MS partnership, or NSA and Apple,
> or NSA and Yahoo, or NSA and even Bull.

You'll probably get the same answer if you ask for docs about their relationship with Krusty Korporation or Santa Industries. I believe it's boilerplate for "Hi, we read your letter".

We can neither confirm nor deny ... (5, Informative)

realitycheckplease (2487810) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338533)

Occasionally, when in the name of security, someone says "we can neither confirm nor deny x", x isn't happening (for whatever value of "happening" is appropriate to x). In this case, given the US attitude to jurisdiction the reality may be quite simple. Any data or communications processed on or passed through any system that is owned, operated, managed or otherwise controlled by any US entity or subsidiary thereof may be arbitrarily hoovered up by the NSA or other similar agencies. They will then analyse it however they wish for whatever purpose they want. This can happen regardless of what connections are known to exist between the US authorities and any individual provider. Attempting to discover the scope and extent of those connections may thus be a pointless exercise. The same thing probably happens in many other countries too.

Re:We can neither (not) deny ... (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338857)

Generally this response has the informal meaning of Confirming something, but it avoids perjury.

Re:We can neither (not) deny ... (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339387)

It sometimes confirms something, but only if the person (or agency in this case) accidentally confirming it isn't particularly clever.

Monday: "Did you steal my sandwich?" "Of course not!"
Tuesday: "Did you steal my sandwich?" "Of course not!"
Wednesday: "Did you steal my sandwich?" "I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not I may have stolen your sandwich."

That doesn't work. If you want "I can't confirm or deny" to work you have to use it consistently.

In this case it's a one-time allegation about something EPIC has little or no proof even exists. Can "give me all your secret information NOW!" be responded to with anything other than "I'm not even going to tell you if I have secret information much less give any of it to you?"

Re:We can neither (not) deny ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339441)

That doesn't work. If you want "I can't confirm or deny" to work you have to use it consistently.

The US government has been doing this "we can't confirm or deny" bullshit for 100 years. It's what happens when a country is run by lawyers. It's not rocket science, very easy (by far, it's the response that requires the least amount of effort) and they're very consistent.

Re:We can neither confirm nor deny ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339009)

Occasionally, when in the name of security, someone says "we can neither confirm nor deny x", x isn't happening (for whatever value of "happening" is appropriate to x).

Your decision to prefix this statement with "occasionally" means that not even you are willing to commit to its applicability in this case (namely, Google's collaboration with the NSA).

Attempting to discover the scope and extent of those connections may thus be a pointless exercise.

Wow. You've been so indoctrinated by the US government's policies that you've completely given up on having them tell you the truth. Google is the largest commercial data mining effort in history. In sane countries, an agency would require warrants to perform surveillance (and even then, the warrant wouldn't allow wide-scale, non-targeted surveillance). In the US, an agency like the NSA can spy on the entire nation. Since the DOJ refuses to disclose what the agency is doing, it can't be implicated for illegal wiretapping.

No sex in the champagne room (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338563)

And other truisms:

1. There's no privacy on the internet

2. There's no privacy on the internet

3. There's no GODDAMN PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET.

(Hi, spooks!)

Re:No sex in the champagne room (1)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338689)

Well, theres PGP (or other encryption software ) and proxies so in theory there is but theres always someone with more knowledge that can beat that privacy with something else.

Re:No sex in the champagne room (3, Funny)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338871)

If he's wrong that you can't have privacy on the internet... does that mean he's wrong about sex in the champagne room?

Because I swear, that stripper was TOTALLY digging me... she even asked to see me again at the club sometime!

Of course they're talking (1)

teebowdada (618188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338567)

If I could borrow from Mr Rubin, there's no "firewall" between Google and the NSA.

Wouldn't it be clever if... (2)

FellowConspirator (882908) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338645)

Google and Facebook were just NSA and CIA fronts. The best part would be that they have an almost self-sustaining business model so the cost of running it is defrayed. People get cheap software, and the government gets cheap information on the users plus surveillance and tracking devices in every pocket...

Re:Wouldn't it be clever if... (2)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338749)

Thank you for the morning laugh.

In all seriousness, I would be suprised if the various inteligence agencies are not using Facebook, G+, MySpace and other social networks to track potential criminals. The only problem is the signal to noise ratio and you are correct that both Google and Facebook are self supporting, thus there's no money trail from the government showing. So they throw a few bits of code at them. Hell the NSA threw SELinux at us along with published those pesky docs about securing Windows and *Nix boxes. Now if only MS, Apple and Linux would actually read and understand them.

Re:Wouldn't it be clever if... (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339155)

> Google and Facebook were just NSA and CIA fronts.

Well, it was nice knowing you, man! Such a bright future ahead of you and now all for nothin'. Because you couldn't keep your mouth shut! :-/

Wait, I know what that is! (0)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338659)

Don't be evil ...without cause.

In Other Words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338685)

EPIC FAIL!

Secret? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338695)

Not so secret now, is it?

not an either/or, though, is it? (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338785)

quote:

EPIC said its records request does not seek documents about NSA's role to secure government computer networks. "Google provides cloud-based services to consumers, not critical infrastructure services to the government," Rotenberg said.

once google 'grew up' and got cozy with the government, I don't think there's any going back. they are *both* for the consumer (if you think that way) and now they are also a source of info feed for the government agencies.

I don't think google set out to do this, when they were a 1000 person company or less; but at their huge successful size and power, now, I don't see how you can exist and not be forced to 'play ball' when ask^Htold to by those who really run things.

with all the data google has, do you really think the gov would sit back and not ask for a fiber tap and a cut of the action, so to speak? come on.

only some of the googlers would be able to deal with this, and it ruins the whole 'do no evil' sunshine and ponies bullshit game they play. whatever ties there are, it won't be confirmable or made public. not even from inside the normal rank and file. but the same as any large powerful company that has things the government wants.

its always been this way, though. don't be shocked. companies and governments are powerful entities and from time to time, they 'have lunch' together.

"its all part of the plan" ;)

Now that's some good editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39338803)

"Refused to comment" == "keep secret Google/NSA partnership"

Obama administration (0)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338819)

So much for Obama's promise of government transparency.

Romney will be no better either. Too bad it isn't practical to pull a Monty Brewster and check "None of the above." I want to write in Ron Paul, but he hasn't a chance of getting elected. He just isn't marketable enough for the drooling masses. :-(

Re:Obama administration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339087)

Obama tells everybody what he thinks they want to hear. People want transparency in government? Campaign on it! etc.

I'm not going to vote anymore.

Re:Obama administration (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339299)

Obama tells everybody what he thinks they want to hear. People want transparency in government? Campaign on it! etc.

I'm not going to vote anymore.

That's the wrong response -- acquiescence is acceptance. Be a third party voter and join those willing to tell the government it doesn't represent them AND that you're willing to put your beliefs where your vote is. Cost a lesser-evil-candidate an election or two, and just maybe, we'll start getting some candidates of a greater-good type. Worst case scenario is that it doesn't do any good, but there is no question that choosing to not vote will do no good.

Re:Obama administration (3, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339209)

Voting Ron Paul, or any member of any third party you like, IS voting none of the above. It would not take a majority of voters doing such a thing, to get the parties to notice that swath of potential swing voters isn't buying the current political narrative, and then cater to those voters by changing the narrative. But because everyone is so concerned about picking a winner, we ensure that we only get losers in office.

Voting isn't a bet like picking a horse in a race -- unless you're donating millions to candidates you aren't going to get anything from being in a winning politician's camp except for the feeling that your candidate won. But when that candidate turns around and screws you, what is that winning feeling really worth? Nothing, and worse, you gave up your chance to actually vote for change -- the change that comes when politicians realize that people aren't sucking up their BS like they used to and that sticking with the status quo can cost an election. For the average American, this represents a much bigger win than the temporary happiness of being on a winning team, but in order to win the war, you have to be willing to lose some battles along the way to prove the point.

Here's a list of third parties. Pick one that reflects your values and vote with pride:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

Re:Obama administration (1)

Noxal (816780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339253)

Ron Paul? Really? An anti-choice ("pro-life") opponent of church state separation that supports the "rights" of states to discriminate against its residents?

Re:Obama administration (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339331)

So much for Obama's promise of government transparency.

Romney will be no better either. Too bad it isn't practical to pull a Monty Brewster and check "None of the above." I want to write in Ron Paul, but he hasn't a chance of getting elected. He just isn't marketable enough for the drooling masses. :-(

Not marketable enough? You mean not desireable enough for the corporations who market the likes of Larry King to the drooling masses, to market him, because if he was, they'd be able to market Paul. The media in the US could get a literal monkey elected, if it was pro corporate enough. And by now it's hardly the drooling masses. To quote "How to get ahead in advertising" on marketing and the PR industry...."...if you breathe, it works on you...".

Re:Obama administration (1, Troll)

offerk (764276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339375)

I want to write in Ron Paul, but he hasn't a chance of getting elected. He just isn't marketable enough for the drooling masses. :-(

Ron Paul Newsletters Controversy [wikipedia.org] .
Really? This is a man you would endorse for president? I think /. is for sci/tech not politics usually, but since you brought it up - how can you support someone who would, say, refuse to hire you because of your skin color, instead of your skills? Shouldn't we tech people be better than that?

Huh? (1)

Troyusrex (2446430) | more than 2 years ago | (#39338991)

I'm surprised that so many people are taking NSA's "neither confirm nor deny" as proof of Google's guilt. Ask them if they had a ham sandwich for lunch and they'll give you that response. It is the STANDARD response and means absolutely nothing. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if they were or were not working with the NSA but the NSA's statement gives no information as to wether they are or not.

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339235)

Why are you surprised? It's an open question that could be simply answered with a "no, we don't" and the story would be (almost) over. But if turned out that NSA and Google were indeed cooperating and that information was leaked, then big shots would be in trouble for alienating the public. They don't know if it's not going to leak so they are not taking chance by saying no and being destroyed later. Thus.. there is a very likely chance NSA and Google are cooperating. Why wouldn't they anyway.

Re:Huh? (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#39339885)

Actually, the standard answer of "neither confirm nor deny" is the output of a some super-secret encryption algorithm they developed... If only we could decrypt it, we would obtain the desired answer to all questions about Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Trust US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339045)

If you trust the US government, you must trust Google too.

The US Government led by great Americans like Barack Obama can do no evil, therefore Google can do no evil.

Therefore this is a non story.

QED

I told you all before Google is Evil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339183)

I urge all of you to dump your Google accounts. I killed my google music account and I am in the process of moving my mail server off of Google Apps. I also deleted all my Google friends and posts, all my Facebook friends, posts, and pictures. Why? Because you don't get something for nothing. Facebook and Google have a relationship with the NSA. As I'm getting older I value my privacy more and more

baidu.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339217)

At least you know baidu is not in cahoots with NSA wankers.

Misread as NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39339601)

Let's just say I'm disappoint.

It's OK.... (1)

t4ng* (1092951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39340199)

They are just wasting it [slashdot.org] anyway!

nlp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39340245)

i would think the nsa would be more interested in google's nlp capabilities than in the particular data they have. i dont think the nsa has any problem acquiring data, but they do have a problem extracting meaningful information from the huge volumes of data that they have access to. processing large volumes of data and extracting meaningful information in an automated fashion google's real value. this is why it didnt surprise me when google bought usenet and started offering attractive, free email since this just gives them access to tons of communication that they can use to refine their nlp capabilites.

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