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Privacy Encryption Google Government

How Big Companies Can Hamper the Surveillance Infrastructure 153

Posted by timothy
from the little-friction-here-little-friction-there dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "Buried underneath the ever-growing pile of information about the mass surveillance methods of the NSA is a small but significant undercurrent of change that's being driven by the anger and resentment of the large tech companies that the agency has used as tools in its collection programs. The changes have been happening since almost the minute the first documents began leaking out of Fort Meade in June. When the NSA's PRISM program was revealed this summer, it implicated some of the larger companies in the industry as apparently willing partners in a system that gave the agency 'direct access' to their servers. Officials at Google, Yahoo and others quickly denied that this was the case, saying they knew of no such program and didn't provide access to their servers to anyone and only complied with court orders. More recent revelations have shown that the NSA has been tapping the links between the data centers run by Google and Yahoo, links that were unencrypted. That revelation led a pair of Google security engineers to post some rather emphatic thoughts on the NSA's infiltration of their networks. It also spurred Google to accelerate projects to encrypt the data flowing between its data centers. These are some of the clearer signs yet that these companies have reached a point where they're no longer willing to be participants, witting or otherwise, in the NSA's surveillance programs."
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How Big Companies Can Hamper the Surveillance Infrastructure

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  • Outsource freedom (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2013 @06:52PM (#45445235)

    If you want large companies to not perform surveillance, move them to a country where the government cant secretly compel them to do what every they want.

    Due to US cryptography export restrictions, its likely easier to actually provide some security if you leave the US too.

    Outsource freedom: because losing the jobs isn't enough anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:10PM (#45445301)

    Oh come on, you expect them to drastically increase costs to encrypt everything everywhere and thus make every machine that works with the data have decryption keys? Sure, adding layers of encryption does not hurt, but it does not help much, and its expensive.

    If you want your data protected that badly, perhaps you should not trust/expect someone else to do expensive things that you have no way to verify are done properly. And regardless, none of that helps if the NSA asks for the data.

    If you want your data protected, don't give it to random corporations, especially those in the US which are routinely compelled to hand over such data. Keep your data yourself if its kept at all. Encrypt it yourself, store your keys yourself, and be wary of side channel attacks.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmMENCKENail.com minus author> on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:22PM (#45445347)

    They should assume that hostile agencies (foreign *and* domestic) have tapped every last network link they own.

    I am sure they knew all along. They were fine with it

    Everyone is making noise now, because it became public and there is some concern over backlash from the users.

  • No longer willing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:32PM (#45445373) Homepage Journal
    Too bad secret laws exist to force you, even if you don't want, and to not say that you are doing it. And a lot could want anyway, as could be incentives to make it desirable (like obtained secrets of competitors, "friendly" judges and so on). In any case, American companies can't be trusted, and big enough from other countries on line with this (UK, Australia, Sweden, Israel, maybe whoever signs the TPP, etc) probably should be avoided too.
  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:42PM (#45445407)
    The genie is out of the bottle. Users, particularly non-USA users, will never again trust American internet service providers. I expect far-reaching ramifications, the extent of which wont be fully known for a couple years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:44PM (#45445413)

    Mass surveillance and data collection is the business model at companies like Google and Yahoo. If their frustrations are genuine it is only that they are angry that their data is being taken without being properly paid for it.

  • Dear Google, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mister Liberty (769145) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:45PM (#45445415)

    "If it looks like a duck, ..."
    "You probably know that one.

    "Please tell me, what is all this drive towards one account, no anonymity, all this cloud
    and data storage about?
    "You have been convicted of privacy transgressions before, althougn admiitedly minor
    compared to the Nefarious Scumbag Assholes".
    "Please, Miss Google, get some clue that 'appearances are against you', as they say"
    "Why is it that I, a prolific and avid googler, have never seen on your sites, never once
    among the many times I pass by on a single day, any statement to the effect that you
    despise the NSA, that you will not commit my data to them, that ...",
    "well, you know what I mean (actually I suspect you know I'm mean)"

    "Dear Google, are you with me or against me".
    "Whatever happened to 'Do no evil'. Was that just a hollow PR ploy? An imperative
    to the 'other players' and something to pat yourself on the back with now and then?"

    "In fact Google --since you started it (the mentioning)-- how do you define evil?"
    "it would be nice to get you enlightened insights, preferably with a name under it".
    "Nothing personal -- just accountability, you know"
    "Thank you".

  • Appearances (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:13PM (#45445547) Homepage

    The big tech companies want to appear to be unwilling to cooperate with spying. But what's to keep them from secretly cooperating all the same?

  • Re:Wrong question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @09:33PM (#45445879)

    Disobey WHAT?

    Taping into data links between corporate data centers was not done with a warrant or a court order.
    There is nothing to Obey. It was simply unreasonable search and seizure.

  • by Silentknyght (1042778) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @09:34PM (#45445883)

    They should assume that hostile agencies (foreign *and* domestic) have tapped every last network link they own.

    I am sure they knew all along. They were fine with it

    Everyone is making noise now, because it became public and there is some concern over backlash from the users.

    Let's be honest here. "They" in these cases are companies staffed by 1,000's of people. It seems highly implausible that all of those people, or even just all of the 100's that matter with respect to IT & infrastructure security, would have "known it all along," even less so been "fine with it." I find it more likely that the outrage is 99+% genuine, with 1% reserved for the dozen or fewer people who would have actually (or theoretically, if it's just a conspiracy theory) been in the know on something this big.

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