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The Dirty Little Secret Is…..

February 4, 2010

There is no privacy…..

That went out the window a long time ago. I have been studying how to secure networks, that’s pretty impossible too. You can make it more difficult, but relate it to a bunch of inmates being isolated on death row. They have all day to figure out how to circumvent the rules and regulations, and end up communicating and heck … maybe even running outside businesses. If someone wants to know something about you bad enough, they will.

That’s why I don’t care about how much I share on my blog …. the more I tell you ….. the more confusing it gets …. or becomes a really detailed profile analysis. Either way, I’m cool with that.

Reported Google-NSA alliance sets off privacy alarms

Google, NSA may partner on cybersecurity, Washington Post says

By Jaikumar Vijayan

February 4, 2010 03:03 PM ET

Web Gia nts attacked

Computerworld – In a development that is already causing alarm among privacy advocates, search engine giant Google Inc. is reported to be enlisting the help of the National Security Agency to investigate recent cyberattacks that Google says originated from China.

The Washington Post, quoting unnamed sources, today said that the NSA and Google are in the process of finalizing an agreement under which the NSA will help Google better defend itself against future attacks. Under the deal, the NSA would not get access to users’ search information or e-mail accounts and Google would not share any proprietary data, the source claimed.

Google approached the NSA shortly after the cyberattacks, which it said were launched from China. However, the deal will take time to hammer out because of the sensitive privacy issues involved. If the deal goes through, it will be the first time that Google has entered into a formal information-sharing relationship with the NSA, the Post quoted its source as saying.

In response to a request for comment, a Google spokesman pointed to a blog post dated Jan. 12 and written by David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president and chief legal officer. Titled “A new approach to China,” it explains Google’s concerns over the attacks, which it said also affected at least 20 other companies.

In the post, Drummond said that after the attacks, Google took the “unusual step” of sharing attack information with a “broad audience.” This information, Drummond said, “goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech.” Drummond’s post did not say with whom the company shared the attack information.

In an e-mailed statement, an NSA spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on specific relationships it may or may not have with U.S. companies. “We can say as a general matter, however, that as part of its longstanding Information Assurance (IA) Mission, NSA works with a broad range of commercial partners and research associates,” on cybersecurity related issues, the statement said.

Even so, the prospect of the world’s largest search engine company teaming up with the country’s largest spy agency is already setting off alarms within the privacy community.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, said any relationship between the two would be “very problematic.”

“We would like to see Google develop stronger security standards and safeguards for protecting themselves,” he said. “But everyone knows the NSA has two missions: One is to ensure security, and the other is to enable surveillance.”

Whenever the NSA has entered the private security realm, there have been problems, Rotenberg said. In the 1990s, for instance, the NSA’s role in network security resulted in weakened encryption standards all around. “We have had a long-running debate about the impact of NSA’s role in the security realm,” he said. A partnership with Google raises those questions all over again.

We definitely need more information” on whether the rumored partnership will go through or not, said Ari Schwartz, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based think tank and advocacy group.

The information available is too sparse to determine if Google will abide by the promises it made in joining the Global Network Initiative if it does enter a partnership with the NSA, Schwartz said. The GNI is a coalition of companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, and several leading human-rights organizations, academic institutions and advocacy groups.

As part of the group, Google is committed to protecting personal information and the privacy rights of users when confronted with government demands that appear unreasonable or overly broad, Schwartz said.

A Google partnership with the NSA will also need to be put into a broader perspective given Google’s global footprint, Schwartz said. “It is natural for Americans to say, ‘This is our law enforcement,'” he said. “But what is the standard and precedent going to be when other countries look at this? What if someone says, ‘Well, you are cooperating with U.S. intelligence officials, why not with ours?'”

More information also needs to be made available on the NSA’s involvement in domestic cybersecurity matters and how it is working with other law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, he said.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at Twitter@jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar’s RSS feed Vijayan RSS. His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2010 12:04 pm

    woop woop! (yeah, i’m bored!)

  2. Nuglibiacib permalink
    May 17, 2010 3:28 am

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian, watch south park online

  3. June 27, 2010 4:57 pm

    thanks !! very helpful post!

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