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Court Rules NSA Doesn't Have To Confirm Or Deny Secret Relationship With Google

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the mum's-the-word dept.

Google 119

Sparrowvsrevolution writes "A DC appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency doesn't need to either confirm or deny its secret relationship with Google in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and follow-up lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. The NSA cited a FOIA exemption that covers any documents whose exposure might hinder the NSA's national security mission, and responded to EPIC with a 'no comment.' Beyond merely rejecting the FOIA request, the court has agreed with the NSA that it has the right to simply not respond to the request, as even a rejection of the request might reveal details of a suspected relationship with Google that it has sought to keep secret. Google was reported to have partnered with the NSA to bolster its defenses against hackers after its breach by Chinese cyberspies in early 2010. But to the dismay of privacy advocates who fear the NSA's surveillance measures coupled with Google's trove of data, the company has never explained the details of that partnership."

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119 comments

NSA 3 Google (4, Interesting)

WatchDogs (2637289) | about 2 years ago | (#39972509)

It's been known for a long time that Google has been secretly working with NSA. You may ask why they do it?

1) It is beneficial to NSA.

NSA gets immersive amount of data from Google that they would not otherwise have. Remember that Google logs every and all search requests made, has Google Analytics scripts on basically every site on the internet, owns YouTube (good place to check what videos interest people), and is now trying to compete with Facebook by building the worlds largest social network (with a strict real names only -policy), Google+.

2) It is beneficial to Google.

In turn, Google has strong government backing for all their privacy violations, snooping and ignorance of other countries laws. They have and are building a strong relationship with the highest people on US government so that they get free pass on everything and no liability.

3) Google has got lots of shit lately.

It aligns with the previous point, but Google has been major target of (valid) lawsuits around the world and U.S. lately. FTC is watching them, KFTC is watching them, European Union is watching them. By strongering their position with someone like NSA they are trying to weasel out of these suits.

4) Google is a marketing company

Imagine if you could build yourself as "the marketing company of the internet". You need to gather lots of data for that. By making some favors towards NSA, their upper personal will of course make some back. After all, they are in the same business - snooping people's data. NSA for their purposes, Google for marketing purposes.

Re:NSA 3 Google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972575)

Hey look, another super long first post with identical timestamp of the article post time by an account with this being their first post. Go, bonch, go!

Re:NSA 3 Google (1, Insightful)

SCPRedMage (838040) | about 2 years ago | (#39972883)

It's almost as if he could see the article before it was actually posted...

But to do that he'd have to be... a SUBSCRIBER!

Re:NSA 3 Google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972973)

Which bonch is!

"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 2 years ago | (#39972619)

It's been known for a long time that Google has been secretly working with NSA.

Citation needed.

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972679)

It's been known for a long time that Google has been secretly working with NSA.

Citation needed.

Go back to your encyclopedia you Wikitard.

Courts are part of the gov't and that's why they are always too friendly to this kind of secrecy bullshit. Same way they'll always take the word of a cop over yours even though cops sometimes lie.

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | about 2 years ago | (#39974071)

Go back to your encyclopedia you Wikitard.

It's kind of funny that you slur the guy with "Wikitard" (implying that Wikipedia is not an intelligent source of information because, hey, anyone can write something on a web page), when he is asking for corroboration of the GGP's assertion and not taking the word of some random person writing something on a web page.

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (1, Flamebait)

WatchDogs (2637289) | about 2 years ago | (#39972689)

Why do you think Google went to NSA after "China was in their systems" (who even believes that? It's just another cyber-security bullshit thing to raise funding), and why NSA denies to respond to the allegations?

If they weren't working with Google, they could just say so. If they were working with Google but lied now, they would be held responsible. So they just respond with "no comment".

It's obvious.

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39973095)

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (1, Troll)

ilguido (1704434) | about 2 years ago | (#39973313)

Prison planet?

Infowars???

Free award-winning SF stories/novellas - http://www.asimovs.com/ [asimovs.com]

Ah! I got it!

Seriously, Alex Jones [wikipedia.org], founder of Infowars and Prison Planet, is known for "Advocacy of national sovereignty; New World Order theories; anti-world government; and various conspiracy theories". And no, I'm not Portuguese.

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974575)

Is this better [wired.com]? You're welcome.

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39975119)

No, I prefer only Fox/Republican news. It makes my stupidity feel smart.

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973507)

He's right, I read it in the Onion, three only paper I trust.

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#39975073)

Re "Citation needed." In many form of links to read
http://epic.org/foia/epic_v_nsa_google.html [epic.org]
"On February 4, 2010, the Washington Post reported that Google had contacted the National Security Agency ("NSA")"
..."stated that the NSA's general counsel had drafted a "cooperative research and development agreement" within 24 hours of Google's announcement of the attack,
which authorized the Agency to "examine some of the data related to the intrusion into Google's systems.""

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39975521)

Look, this citation policy is fair and dandy for an encyclopedia, but in real life you will have to learn to use your judgement and make a call on this.

How far back the relationship goes? the word on the street in Silicon Valley was that the NSA bought a boatload of "google search appliances" not long after 9/11, and by boat load I mean tens of thousands and NO, I won't name my sources as it could cost them their job.

I understand your skepticism, but you will have to make a judgement call about what is more likely: a) that the NSA is partnering with the information experts in the private sector and a few geeks got a word of it or b) that the NSA is not partnering with their natural counterpart in the private sector and we are all making this up.

Hint: apply Occam's razor or alternatively, which one above should be the null hypothesis? Given no other data the null hypothesis is that a coin is fair, and given no other data, we should assume that a resource-rich information-based intelligence organization would have some sort of relationship with Google. The rumors flying around and the hush-hush confirmations like those here should only increase your confidence in the null hypothesis, even though, of course, the data still falls far short of a proof.

Re:"It's been known" [Re:NSA 3 Google] (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#39977069)

You can't be seriously asking for a public confession of espionage on slashdot, what next you want them to waterboard themselves, maintain stress positions, go without sleep, starve, freeze and play bad music too loud. It's right there in that magenta folder marked top secret just shoot me in the head right now ;D.

Google does no evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972685)

1. Google claims "don't be evil."

2. Of course, the NSA exists to protect us from evil. ("They ultimate being," I suppose.) Such as all those bad people with weird headgear. Yuck.

Thus and therefore: it is Google's job to work with the NSA.

Re:NSA 3 Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972813)

They found a red under someone's bed.

It was a red ant, but they still arrested it and handed it over to the CIA for secret rendition (apparently, it was a Muslim red ant).

Upon torturing the ant, it told of a jihadist ant terror plot to blow up a grain of sand in Afghanistan.

The plot was thwarted by the supercops - another victory and high-fives for all them.

Total cost to the American taxpayer was: $CENSORED IN THE NAME OF NATIONAL SECURITY.

Mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974451)

"It's been known for a long time that Google has been secretly working with NSA. You may ask why they do it?"
Known by who? What sources do you have?
It's a pity that such ridiculous statements even got modded up to 3 votes...

Re:NSA 3 Google (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#39976487)

1) It is beneficial to NSA.
2) It is beneficial to Google. ...

5) It is beneficial to taxpayers
If the NSA and Google work together, then the taxpayers don't have to pay the NSA to create an entire duplicate search infrastructure. Once could argue that the government shouldn't be spying on us, but hey, as long as they are doing it anyway, they might as well do it as cost effectively as possible.

Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slashdot (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972515)

GreatBunzinni [slashdot.org], real name Rui Maciel, has been using anonymous posts [slashdot.org] and sockpuppets to accuse nearly 20 people of being employed by a PR firm to astroturf Slashdot, without any evidence. Using his sockpuppets, he mods up these anonymous posts while modding down the accused in order to filter their viewpoints. GreatBunzinni accidentally outed himself [slashdot.org] as the anonymous troll who has been posting these accusations to every Slashdot story. For example, he wrote the same post almost verbatim, first using his logged-in account [slashdot.org] followed by an anonymous post [slashdot.org] days later. Note the use of the same script and wording.

It turns out GreatBunzinni is actually a 31-year-old C++/Java programmer from Almada, Portugal named Rui Maciel, with a civil engineering degree from Instituto Superior Técnico and a hobby working with electronics. He runs Kubuntu and is active on the KDE mailing list. Rui Maciel has accounts at OSNews, Launchpad, ProgrammersHeaven, the Ubuntu forums, and of course Slashdot.

Most of the users who Rui targets have done nothing else but criticize Google for something or praise a competitor. Many of them are subscribers who get the first post because subscribers see stories earlier than non-subscribers. After one of Rui's accusations gets posted, the original post receives a surge of "Troll" and "Overrated" moderations from his sockpuppets, while Rui's posts get modded up. Often, additional anonymous posters will appear to give support and receive upmods. At the same time, accused users who defend themselves are modded "Offtopic."

Rui Maciel's contact information
Email: greatbunzinni@gmail.com [mailto], greatbunzinni@engineer.com [mailto], or rui.maciel@gmail.com [mailto]
IM: greatbunzinni@jabber.org [jabber] (the same Jabber account currently listed on his Slashdot account)
Blog: http://rui_maciel.users.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
Programming projects: http://www.programmersheaven.com/user/GreatBunzinni/contributions [programmersheaven.com]

The following accounts have been confirmed to be Rui Maciel, in order of activity. You'll notice that they all share a posting style and often reply to each other:

HarrySquatter [slashdot.org]
Galestar [slashdot.org]
GameboyRMH [slashdot.org]
ZeroSumHappiness [slashdot.org]
Jeng [slashdot.org]
Nerdfest [slashdot.org]
TheNarrator [slashdot.org]
flurp [slashdot.org]
anonymov [slashdot.org]
chrb [slashdot.org]
zidium [slashdot.org]
NicknameOne [slashdot.org]
Nicknamename [slashdot.org]
forkfail [slashdot.org]
icebike [slashdot.org]
ilguido [slashdot.org]
psiclops [slashdot.org]
Toonol [slashdot.org]
russotto [slashdot.org]
rreyelts [slashdot.org]
symbolset [slashdot.org]

tl;dr: An Ubuntu fan named Rui Maciel is waging an organized trolling campaign using multiple sockpuppet accounts to filter Slashdot posts.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (3, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#39972613)

Very interesting, so you've taken a post someone wrote about you, Bonch, and then you've changed all the names to make it look like it is pro-google shilling going on while in actuality it is you doing anti-google shilling.

You are a funny funny person, go kill yourself.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (0)

WatchDogs (2637289) | about 2 years ago | (#39972631)

Oh no, Jeng forget to tick that post anonymously box again!

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#39972723)

Oh no, bonch has another sockpuppet that will be permanently -1 in about 5 minutes!

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 years ago | (#39973023)

Why are we arguing? We all know that everybody that posts on /. these days is paid to post on slashdot by someone with lots of money. Why else would you post on /.?

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#39973157)

As long as they would be open and honest about their shilling there would not be an issue.

Hell, even if he just did his shilling under one account it wouldn't be so bad.

As it is, he has created half a dozen accounts today alone and floods topics such as this posting his bullshit.

It turns this place into less a place you can honestly discuss topics and more into the bathroom wall in a truck stop.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973225)

As it is, he has created half a dozen accounts today alone and floods topics such as this posting his bullshit.

Do you have proof? How would you even know who is posting under what account and when they were created without access to Slashdot's database?

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973333)

Yes. First posts that are hundreds and hundreds of words long made by non-subscriber accounts who have never posted before within seconds of a post going up that repeat bonch's anti-Google diatribes. The only way the could o so would be to be the sockpuppet of a subscriber account such as...bonch himself.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974089)

Slashdot has always been about shilling. This place was practically founded by the ABM camp (Sun/Oracle/Netscape) to spread FUD about Microsoft. They did such a good job shilling for Google over the years that former slashdot boss Chris DiBona now works there. (Remember when Doubleclick was enemy #1 around here....whatever happend to them?)

You guys are obsessed with "bonch" (old school troll) because you have your thresholds set low, but surf this site at the default setting and it's mostly +5 Insightful "I luv Google" posts.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#39975919)

Why are we arguing? We all know that everybody that posts on /. these days is paid to post on slashdot by someone with lots of money.

I'm arguing because I want to know who took my money.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#39972745)

There was a post a few days ago that I did intend to have AC that I posted under my name, other than that I have never accidentally not posted as AC when I meant to.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (2, Informative)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#39972633)

Hey cool, bonch is now claiming I'm a sockpuppet shilling for Google despite having been downmodded in the past for negative Google posts. I've also made positive Apple posts, too. I'm not a very good pro-Google shill, apparently.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39973011)

Revealing a person's real name and contact information on a public forum that will likely be archived forever seems supremely uncool.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973633)

Then Rui shouldn't have included his Jabber contact info on his GreatBunzinni profile and then forgotten to uncheck "Post Anonymously" when trolling. Notice all his sockpuppets are now replying and are on the attack, confirming the existence of the campaign.

Re:Organized pro-Google trolling campaign on Slash (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#39974345)

I love how he talks about himself in the third person. It would be funny, it if weren't so sad.

And you ? CIA/NSA ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974751)

Is it from NSA where you get that data from ? It would not be the first case of USG trying to destroy someone by first intercepting telecom networks and then sending out the shitty guys from CIA to perform intimidation. I hope someday you will cross a really bad guy and he will do to you what you deserve !

Fuck you, Bonch! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972559)

Seriously, suck a big fat prick, you faggot.

If NSA is not partnering with Google (4, Funny)

Steve1952 (651150) | about 2 years ago | (#39972567)

If NSA is not partnering with Google, then probably somebody needs to be fired. If I were them, I probably would have responded with a "well Duh!" comment.

Re:If NSA is not partnering with Google (1)

MushMouth (5650) | about 2 years ago | (#39974153)

You can be certain that every major intelligence service has multiple operatives working for Google. The ones from the NSA may be doing so less covertly.

If you can intercept Telecoms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974771)

..you get 99% of Google search traffic. Gmail and gdocs is only slightly more difficult - force your national SSL Cert Authority to sign a bogus SSL certificate and do a NKVD-In-The-Middle.

Bizarro land... (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 2 years ago | (#39972665)

As I said on the Wired article, what should Google, a US company, have done when what are likely state or state-backed Chinese hackers thoroughly compromise one of their services?

*Not* turn to "U.S. authorities”? Do nothing? It's certainly bizarre when a US company under attack by another nation-state would be expected to *not* involve our own government.

Guess what: our intelligence activities and capabilities are secret, not because we want to "hide them from the public", but because they necessarily remain secret for the precise reasons the courts ruled the way they did in this case: so that our ADVERSARIES don't understand our sources, methods, capabilities, and responses.

I know most people here believe the NSA is evil, instead of looking across the Pacific to a country that can scarcely wait to displace the US as a global power, while keeping a firm stranglehold on its citizens. I imagine there will be many tired references to the Utah Data Center in the comments section here, too, from people who completely misunderstand the law, and NSA's purpose and missions.

Re:Bizarro land... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972841)

Yes Google should have gone to the US Government, the question is, is the NSA the correct agency? If a system was compromised, shouldn't it be the FBI or Homeland Security and not an agency who's mission is covert (as in spying)?

Re:Bizarro land... (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#39973249)

A company maintaining a huge amount of information on a nation's citizens has its security compromised... perhaps they should go to that nation's security administration, or something like that, for help in preventing a recurrence.

Re:Bizarro land... (2)

KhabaLox (1906148) | about 2 years ago | (#39974315)

As a US citizen, I'm much more afraid of the NSA (or any US agency) getting access to my Google* account data than I am of any arm of the Chinese government getting access.

*Same goes for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Dropbox, etc.

Re:Bizarro land... (1)

ffflala (793437) | about 2 years ago | (#39975391)

As a US citizen, I'm much more afraid of the NSA (or any US agency) getting access to my Google*(*& Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Dropbox,etc) account data than I am of any arm of the Chinese government getting access.

If you feel that way, you really have been approaching all of those accounts wrong from the outset. You'd have be in a better position now had you assumed they would be compromised before you created them, and used them accordingly.

I don't understand why you'd be so concerned about the NSA having your account details, when all of your information has been most certainly churned through any number of private companies, all trying to actively mine your data for profit. Again, you'd be in a better position now if you'd assumed that they were doing that all along.

tl;dr Yes, trained spies will probably be able to sneak in and access whatever data you create that leaves your local control. Deal with it appropriately.

Re:Bizarro land... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973627)

The FBI, DHS, and other Federal police agencies have no jurisdiction in China; so yes, a U.S. intelligence agency is the place for a U.S. company to turn, if they are being assaulted by/from a foreign power with which their exists no extradition treaty.

Re:Bizarro land... (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39972939)

That's fine but the government also has a bad habit or classifying things that should not be classified..... like when they covered-up the journalist that had been killed by U.S. soldiers. "We have no idea what happened to him" they told the family, rather than admit they screwed up (and also killed some kids).

Re:Bizarro land... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972949)

Your mistake is in tying defense against the Chinese, and spying against Americans. We don't need secrecy. What made this country great was freedom. What will keep us great, and keep us ahead of the Chinese, is freedom, and control of our government. Even at the expense of immediate security. We can't be free, we can't control the government, if we can't see what it's doing. And if we lose that freedom, then we will be utterly destroyed by the population of China... So in my mind, what the NSA is doing IS evil... yes. It's wrong. And it's going to lead to our destruction. Secrecy won't help that.

China doesn't scare me - not if we are free to innovate. But a KGB-esque organization accountable NOT to the people... now that's terrifying.

Re:Bizarro land... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972969)

Any organization that steals from people by definition is evil(or more specifically, its members are committing evil acts). When someone knowingly works for an organization of thieves(like an errand runner for some local mob) or cooperates with them(like a fence), they too are evil. The NSA is an agency that is part of an organization that steals from people, so by definition it is evil. This isn't a belief any more than it is a belief that 1 + 1 = 2.

Re:Bizarro land... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973055)

I agree a lot of things government agencies do is misconstrued as evil and world shattering. Your bias that the NSA is here to do no harm to domestic citizenry is foolish. Yes, many foreign nation-states would love to get their fingers further into our infrastructure. So would many NGO's. So what? Does that mean that the NSA doesn't breech it's own citizen's rights on a daily basis? Because you say so?

Don't rely on conjecture and what the "nsa.gov"'s mission statement will lead you to believe. Whistle blowers have been singing the same song about the NSA's true intent for years now. Ex officials, former employee, you name it. But make sure you ignore them... thats conjecture too (/sarcasm font)

And furthermore, you clearly believe in this ideal far too much for me to try to dissuade you with fact to the contrary. For the sake of gullible people that may read your inaccurate portrayal of the NSA, I am truly hopeful your ignorant point of view will be modded down from "insightful" to at least "funny".

The Nasty Stuff Starts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974785)

...when NSA hands their "take" to the nasty guys in the leather jackets who will visit any dissident IN PERSON for some intimidation. And of course your neighbours and your general community to spread some really nasty lies and half-lies about you.

Google Can Help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974815)

...by providing the Leather Jacket Pigs with your Full Email History of the Last 10 Years.

Re:Bizarro land... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 years ago | (#39973081)

'Chinese hackers' are almost always a scapegoat, and the US probably pays the Chinese state the lion's share of the budget for the state and state backed hackers.

Re:Bizarro land... (4, Informative)

genkernel (1761338) | about 2 years ago | (#39973123)

Guess what: our intelligence activities and capabilities are secret, not because we want to "hide them from the public", but because they necessarily remain secret for the precise reasons the courts ruled the way they did in this case: so that our ADVERSARIES don't understand our sources, methods, capabilities, and responses.

Doesn't this also effect the safety of the public, if the methods, capabillities and legal obligations of the NSA are unknown? Note that the existence of the partnership, according an article in the post linked to by TFA, is already known, and the technical capabillities provided to the NSA by this relationship can therefore be roughly estimated. It isn't like the NSA hasn't violated the US constitution (taking the overly optimistic view that it is still in effect) and due process before.

I know most people here believe the NSA is evil, instead of looking across the Pacific to a country that can scarcely wait to displace the US as a global power, while keeping a firm stranglehold on its citizens. I imagine there will be many tired references to the Utah Data Center in the comments section here, too, from people who completely misunderstand the law, and NSA's purpose and missions.

Are you certain it is not you who misunderstands the NSA's purpose and missions? How can you, when the government's interpretation of the law is kept secret? Do you really believe the NSA serves the interests of the people of the USA any more than the TSA? Isn't it possible for both the NSA and the Chinese intelligence agencies to be evil and worthy of mistrust?

Re:Bizarro land... (2)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 years ago | (#39973213)

Guess who's among the major enablers of your "firm stranglehold"
on Chinese citizens.

Btw., I can understand the US would frown upon it -- but displacing
it as a global power is intrinsically evil how?

Re:Bizarro land... (1)

kaladorn (514293) | about 2 years ago | (#39973865)

Your position seems a bit simplistic.

I do agree that intelligence personel (I know a few in military intelligence and some who were in federal police agencies' intelligence arms) tend to have better things to worry about than average citizens doing average things.

On the other hand, I've never met an authority figure who couldn't find a use for more power of surveillance if given it. There are also a lot of people in the apparatus who think that those of us not of in the government (or their agency) need watched for our own good at a fairly detailed level.

Citizens may disagree.

The fact that no government, even those like the current one that ran on getting rid of exceptional powers of surveillance, search, seizure, etc., have acutally removed the various secret wiretap and surveillance powers once in place means one of two things:

a) They got a briefing from the national security adviser and the heads of the agencies that scared them into keeping the power

b) They recognized that giving up this sort of power means giving up some convenience and some security

I find the men I know in the intelligence community generally don't think we need privacy if we're not up to anything dodgy. They seem to be of the opinion that they can make the judgement on what's dodgy and they seem to overlook the potential for abuse.

Even police datasystems that can query national databases can be abused. Officers have been arrested doing things like running background checks for landlords who are friends or who pay them. Imagine the sorts of abuses that the more broad data surveillance the intelligence agencies conduct could generate.

And it would be harder to catch. The police databases have some oversight and there are public police complaints entities that can raise the question in a way that gets answers. Who would perform this sort of citizen protection function within the intelligence community for individual incidents? Who would listen to individual concerns from citizens?

I think the answer is pretty much no-one.

So despite the fact there are real threats out there, despite the fact that our intel guys are mostly good guys, and despite the fact some bad stuff might be prevented by these sorts of powers, I can't support them. The potential for unchecked and even unseen abuse is so great and potent that its likelihood is probably 100%.

I choose to have some additional privacy, which is really a form of liberty, instead of a further veneer of security. I am willing to live with greater risks in today's world in order to retain some of my privacy. And I am willing to vote with this as one of my primary voting issues.

Re:Bizarro land... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39976769)

You choose to have additional privacy by handing your data over to random corps? You are doing it supremely right!

Why should nerds care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972779)

If the NSA knows you're googling goatse and tub girl all day long? It's not as if we don't already know this to be true. Also, your mom's calling. (I know because I'm in her right now).

[Captcha is "offend" now that's what I'm talking about]

When They Stray Into Politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974941)

Believe me on this - if you seriously question all the stupid shit the mainstream media foist onto people (e.g. "we are in afghanistan to help women get an education", "the russians are the worst in terms of imminet nuclear war" etc), THEY WILL VISIT YOU.
So yes, if you just do some technobabble (e.g. the GPL, MS, Oracle ), you are fine. But never, ever will you try to question that political-military-journalist-complex consensus of ChinaIsAMilitaryThreat|TalibanDontEnjoySupport|AmericaNeverThreatenedWithArmageddon|AmericaIsAlwaysTheGoodguys.

The whole intel/security apparatus has started to get a life of its own and they will only stop short of beating and killing dissidents. So yes, that's better than China and Russia, where you would be beaten up. But it is by no means as "free" and "rule of law" as they (the officials and their lackeys) are making it up. I was personally insulted as a "dog" who had to be "scratched" by the head librarian of my home town, because someone of the gobbermint had paid a visit to her. I never had a conversation with her before - it was all based on some hearsay. The nasty truth in this is that ordinary people who have an academic qualification can be turned into nasty tools of the gobbermint. So much to all the theorizing about "civil society" and all that.

That library was stuffed full of books about humanist ideals, but the personnel themselves had a spine made out of gelatin. Western Germany, 2009.

And a server from the USA is hacked by Chinese? (1)

Vincent77 (660967) | about 2 years ago | (#39972793)

It starts to bug me. Why are there two types of investigation? 1) "The hacker could not be traced as probably several servers were used". 2) "The IP was from China/Russia, so the hacker too". So since it is politically useful to the Americans to point at China, I suggest all hackers to get one of the computer in China. Best is Russia last with all logs at max, then China, then the usual.

Re:And a server from the USA is hacked by Chinese? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973465)

They're presumed to come from Russia and China because as criminal hacking rings are busted that's where they've proven to originate. If the M.O. is the same after some break, but the perpetrator is still anonymous, you just connects the dots. Although certainly you can be wrong some of the time, most of the time they're probably right in pointing the finger.

And the reason criminal rings so often come from those countries is because of A) the excellent technical schooling available to millions of students there and because B) those countries are politically ambivalent about shutting down organizations causing American companies trouble. Contrast that with India, where the political and economic climate is less hostile to American corporate and political interests (less toward the former than the latter).

Security of a Nation is in its People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972967)

The Security of a Nation is in its People, each and every one, not in the Security of its Government.

Secrets mean you Fear, and Fear will put you on the path to Terror. (Sound familiar?)

In the name of Love and Peace, one should never submit to lies and subterfuge under the domain of Fear. To do so is counter-productive to why we are here. Agents of the government are afraid to tell the people of their knowledge. Fear pervades the second most important institution of our lives. They FEAR to tell you the TRUTH of many things. Do not be complacent enough to believe you should be denied knowledge for the 'greater good'. It is done for the 'greater evil', if believe you that evil and negative emotions, fear, anger, terror, are kin.. as good is to love, peace, charity, and gifting.

This is the spirit in every story you read, Bible to fiction, spanning from the beginning of all things to the very end. And the choice, though it may not seem, is always yours. ALWAYS. Even inaction is a choice.

Who are you? Where do you stand, what do you know? What will you do for the sake of your brothers and sisters? Will you hide in fear, or reveal with love?

The choice is yours.

I'm sure the relationship is platonic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39972991)

none of this kinky getting down dirty stuff.

excellent (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#39972993)

I'm going to try that when my wife asks me if the transexual hooker named Serene who called the house at 4am looking for her "little man, Ratsie" is someone that I know.

"I can neither confirm nor deny..."

We'll see how that works out.

The Chinese already know if they partnered or not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973005)

Yet, they keep the secret from the tax payers. That makes perfect sense.

In this case, as in most cases the best advice is: (2)

choke (6831) | about 2 years ago | (#39973067)

to cynically assume the worst. You'll come up just a little short of reality but you won't be very surprised.

Considering the NSA is currently building the world's largest data warehouse / encryption system http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1 [wired.com] ... and that google saves everything, and knows who asked the questions.. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/20/AR2006012001799.html [washingtonpost.com], you are well on your way to the NSA knowing what you were looking for, and devising ways to illegalize precrime and do away with the annoying unconstitutionality of prior restraint.

A bit silly, no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973131)

They can just not respond? And somehow they expect that to be interpreted differently than rejecting the request?

By making that ruling, aren't they making non-response the new rejection?

So if I put in a FOIA request asking for information about cooperation between the NSA and aliens... a rejection means they cooperate, and a non-response means they cooperate. Thereby confirming not only the existence of aliens, but the fact that the government knows about them and has been covering them up. A lot can be inferred from silence now.

it's irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973137)

It's irrelevant whether google shares data with the NSA. With or without the NSA, they are highly intrusive to privacy, and anybody who cares about their privacy stopped using google (or running their script tentacles that are all over the damned internet now).

It just doesn't matter. If you care about privacy, you don't use google, or facebook, or other similar things.

Re:it's irrelevant (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#39975319)

you don't use google, or facebook, or other similar things.
The problem is your friend with a job offer or your boss or your family is. Your name, interests, friends are floating around. Add in your cell calls, emails, texts to your cell phone.
Contractors buying bulk commercial data, the US gov and govs around the world, your data been looped around the world - its all fair game to the NSA.

that means... (1)

Sprouticus (1503545) | about 2 years ago | (#39973297)

now the NSA is completely exempt from FOIA?

they can just ignore ALL requests, and there is no vetting of their reasons. Brilliant.

Next the CIA and FBI will do the same, so the law becomes meaningless.

side-note: How does this post fail the lameness filter and look like ASCII art?

Well, this sucks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973467)

For those of us with more than 10 to 15 years of life left in us, we are standing on the fringe of a very terrifying, yet exciting moment in world history. On the red corner we have the secret societies pushing as hard as they can for a totalitarian world government seeking to exploit all the resources the world has to offer (including the whole of humanity itself) for their own private benefits at any cost. On the blue corner we have a world population armed with access to more access to technolegy and knowledge than any generation before in human history. Things like instant cost-free publishing and unbreakable encryption have only been in the hands of the people for a sliver of the human timeline. The internet has let the geany out of the lamp, so to speak.

So the question is, by the time my children reach my age (I'm 20, no wife or kids yet), will they be living in a post-imperial age, or will they be brainwashed rfid-tagged livestock who's only purpose is to serve the elite? All I know is no matter how dumb the media may make us Americans seem, there still are plenty of us who DO see what is going on, and it scares the living SHIT out of us... and with all of these government surveilence programs and the military industrial complex, combined with the fact that all of our polititians are owned by the corporations, it looks like it won't be much longer until the first shot will be fired. Godspeed everyone.

Just Tell Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974995)

..to not carry a mobile phone. Not use facebook. Use search engines through TOR. Meet real people in reality. The gobbermint will salivate over the "treasure" of data they can get from the 99% who are too lazy to follow these rules.

Not Suprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973477)

This is the same answer the NSA would give if they were asked about a working relationship with any Company in the world.

They give a blanket, we aren't going to answer that question about everyone. Makes it harder to tell who they are really working with if the response is always the same.

Double standards. (4, Insightful)

Requiem18th (742389) | about 2 years ago | (#39973719)

Why is the NSA watching me? I've done nothing wrong!
If you are doing nothing wrong you have nothign to hide!
Can I see what information you arecollecting then?
We don't need to respond to FOIA requests.

Spam the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973761)

Sounds like time to wait until the FOIA legal time period runs out, then just absolutely spam them with FOIA requests. I mean, they won't answer them, but at least it'll let them know that breaking the law will cost them plenty of money as floods of FOIA requests come in . (Yes they are breaking the law -- I don't care what these dirty uncle-fucking paid-off judges say, the whole "national security" part of FOIA was to avoid putting in-place spies in danger or blow *SPECIFIC* ongoing operations, not allow a nationwide police state by just claiming it's "national security".)

Standard response (3, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#39973763)

When I had a security clearance "neither confirm nor deny" was what we were instructed to say when asked what we did. If the affiliation with Google is classified then that's the right answer here too.

Why would they have to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39973991)

Of course they don't have to confirm or deny the relationship, according to the summary, the court already did it for them.

A DC appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency doesn't need to either confirm or deny its secret relationship with Google...

Re:Why would they have to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974473)

Needs some more specific requests, so they could write "NSA also isn't required to confirm or deny that 2.32 billion dollar contract with Google. Unfettered NSA access to private mail and other data is also neither confirmed nor denied"

I can't either confirm or deny existance of editors bias on this one.

The Solution To Google Snooping (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974635)

http://www.yacy.net/en/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SheevaPlug

Assume Control Of Your Own Data. Encrypt everything. Fuck the Snooping Pork-Barellers !

Dont forget about M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39974707)

Microsoft has allowed a backdoor for the NSA to enter on its Windows Operating System. Maybe people should look that up as well.

Re:Dont forget about M$ (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#39975311)

MS seems to have been more a rapid roll out of CPU friendly, rushed beta code to ensure a digital brand and land grab before cashed up start ups got traction.
Security was to come after as the end users got better cpu's, gpu's, bandwidth and only ***if*** US law ever dictated better digital privacy.
The NSA would have loved all that clear text, spyware friendly tech been exported, copied, cloned, installed, pushed around the world.
MS and its rush to build networking gave the USA the gift of a few decades of low cost/easy crypto.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_Enforcement_Act [wikipedia.org] then fixed aspects of wiretapping networkings in place, making new OS security a pure marketing term due to easy tracking of any messages/usage.

No Such Comment (1)

lexsird (1208192) | about 2 years ago | (#39975079)

Seriously people, settle down.

We all know there is No Such Agency and that they have a mandate to secretly try to catch villains involved in our national security. That means, they don't care about your torrent of that cam of some shitty movie you downloaded. Nor do they care how much music you pirate, or even what porn you watch. We have entrusted them with a shroud of secrecy in order to operate under the radar and find bad guys.

Now when they start breaking that trust for bullshit domestic reasons, if they ever do, then we hold their noses to the grindstone. But until then, we have to remember why we gave them such a mandate to begin with. We also need to remember that ignorance is bliss.

Before I sound like a complete lackey, let me say this; shaking the mechanism that houses the safety on No Such Agency and making sure it still works is a wise idea. Somewhere in the machine there are safeties should they stray out of their mandate to correct themselves. They would have to, in order to remain off the radar and not make domestic enemies. You step on toes, people notice and start looking.

Are they working with Google? Who cares? If they did in light of recent events, then why would that be a bad thing? We should be happy about it. Again, stop being paranoid about your own shit and letting it paint your image of them. Yes, it's a monster, but it's our monster. Stop poking it with a damn stick to see if it will bite your goofy ass.

Look on the bright side, if they are overtly working with Google, (at least to Google) then there is a level of accountability even if it's from exposure. Bluntly put, if they do something fucked up and leave Google holding the bag, Google has enough money to at least punch someone from No Such Agency in the dick. Getting punched in said region isn't good for business and puts No Such Agency on the radar where it becomes vulnerable. Assured mutual destruction can be a wonderful diplomacy tool. Honesty is the best policy, if you start messing around, you shake loose "things" that turn up at the worse possible moment.

It's probably a nervous date between the two. They want to catch bad guys, Google wants to make money and not be sued shitless over privacy rights violations. There is probably an annoying amount of "cover your own ass" protocols that have to be followed that people are getting carpel tunnel signing forms. Anyway, that is how I see it. I don't envision dark evil plots being carried out by minions, that's a DC thing.

Re:No Such Comment (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#39975245)

We all know there is No Such Agency and that they have a mandate to secretly try to catch villains involved in our national security

... or they might have some other mandate. We the People have no way of knowing what they've been ordered to do, nor what they're actually doing (which may or may not coincide with what they've been ordered to do, again we have no way of confirming anything)

Now when they start breaking that trust for bullshit domestic reasons, if they ever do, then we hold their noses to the grindstone.

And how exactly do we find out whether the NSA is breaking that trust, when all definitive about their activities is classified? What the public does have access to are a number of former NSA officials who've stated publicly that the NSA is committing serious crimes and provided some evidence to that effect - those former officials are now in prison.

Yes, it's a monster, but it's our monster.

Who's "our"? Which side of what conflict is the NSA actually on? I don't know that either, because all of their activities are classified.

The short version of your post is "We should just trust with no evidence whatsoever that the US government is following it's laws and doing the right thing." That's just plain stupid, at least as dumb as "We should just trust with no evidence whatsoever that George W Bush personally organized the 9/11 attacks" or "The CIA assassinated JFK".

Distinction with a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39975269)

I don't object to NSA collecting the information, and it wouldn't matter if I did under law and precedent under our "common law" system.

I do however object to information obtained in violation of the Constitution and the Rules of Evidence to be used in either a civil or criminal case against any U.S. Citizen or "legal person". If somehow "extralegal" evidence is allowed to be used for any purpose other than military or neo-military, that would be a direct and overt violation of civil rights. Period.

There should be a bright line there. If for any reason it is not there now, we need a new law or RULING to verify it.

JJ

Google *is* the NSA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39977087)

It's something I've been saying for at least five years (somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but there you go).

Coming up with a credible plan to coax people to hand them over their data willingly is Just The Right Thing To Do for the NSA. One might even argue that they ain't worth their salt if they didn't. For an added bonus, this scheme is financially self-supporting by a comfortable margin.

So it would have made a hell of a lot of sense for them to "invent" Google.

Taking into account that NSA employs many of the brightest mind around, this {hypothesis|conspiracy theory} is just... plausible.

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