Companies like Google are not only making it more difficult to crack their data, but they have also become less and less cooperative when it comes to requests from law enforcement and security agencies.
Coincident with the Reset the Net effort, in which they are taking part, Google and Yahoo, along with Microsoft and Facebook, and others, are moving at speed to block the NSA’s snooping, and to tighten up their systems to make it more difficult for the NSA, and others, to eavesdrop on their data.
Of course, when even the President himself suggests that the NSA has run amok (our words, not his), it makes sense to not just wait for government action, but to harden your systems yourself. And that is just what Google, et al are doing.
Google has committed a number of engineers to the task, which includes greater encryption for data on both the front and back end.
Microsoft has commmitted to encrypting all of its products, including email, by the end of the year, and with better, stronger encryption that will be harder for the government to crack.
And it isn’t just the NSA at which these efforts are aimed, but also the spy agencies of other countries. What’s more, it isn’t just people in the United States who are concerned about the NSA’s penetration into private data. As Edward Snowden’s whistleblow-heard-round-the-world came home to roost, Google and others found that their international customers were becoming increasingly concerned about the privacy of their data when stored in the U.S..
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As a result of this and other data privacy insults suffered at the hands of the NSA, companies like Google are not only making it more difficult to crack their data, but they have also become less and less cooperative when it comes to requests from law enforcement and security agencies.
Explains Google Security Chief Eric Grosse, “I am willing to help on the purely defensive side of things. But signals intercept is totally off the table.”
“No hard feelings,” adds Grosse, “but my job is to make their job hard.”
Countered Robert S. Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “[It is] an unquestionable loss for our nation that companies are losing the willingness to cooperate legally and voluntarily.”
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But there is no doubt that the agencies have brought this on themselves. In a story in the New York Times, Google’s Grosse reveals that they caught the NSA exploiting an unencrypted point on their servers. Google had this confirmed with some of the documents that Snowden had leaked. While Google had already suspected that the NSA was eavesdropping on their data, Grosse says that “It was useful to have proof, in terms of accelerating a project already underway.”
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