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DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Google / NSA Partnership 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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DOJ Asks Court To Keep Secret Google / NSA Partnership

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  • Who really cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:19AM (#39338413)

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

  • Fascism in action (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:22AM (#39338453) Homepage

    "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.

  • Not surpised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:25AM (#39338483) Journal
    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:well, duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:28AM (#39338515) Homepage Journal

    "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.


  • Re:well, duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oxford_Comma_Lover ( 1679530 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @10:59AM (#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.

  • by MisterMidi ( 1119653 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:05AM (#39338917) Homepage
    So basically you're saying that girls with iPhones are sluts? Good to know :-)
  • by willpb ( 1168125 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:07AM (#39338943)
    The CIA has ties to the NSA so it doesn't matter much.
  • Re:well, duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demachina ( 71715 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:14AM (#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,,, or the Google API like

    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Americano ( 920576 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:17AM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kruhft ( 323362 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:24AM (#39339175) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:27AM (#39339209) Homepage

    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: []

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @11:36AM (#39339327) Homepage

    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.

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @12:22PM (#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.

  • by Anthony Mouse ( 1927662 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @02:24PM (#39341579)

    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.

    You're assuming it's true. Look closely at what happened: The NSA "could neither confirm nor deny" anything -- which is what they always say about everything. It's the stock spy agency answer to everything, because any alternative is an information leak. They can't even deny the rumors that are totally false. Because if false rumors get denied and true rumors all get "refuse to confirm" then you can obviously tell when a rumor is true. So instead, whether it's true or false, they always refuse to confirm or deny everything.

    And then you throw in things like the spy agencies having developed some of the satellite technology which is used for Google Earth and you've got a bunch of conspiracy theorists running around speculating about nonsense.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan