What will NSA do with Google access?

Bob Moon Feb 5, 2010
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What will NSA do with Google access?

Bob Moon Feb 5, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Last month, Google complained of a major espionage attack that it claimed originated in China. Now there’s word the company has turned to the nation’s top electronic intelligence watchdog,
the National Security Agency, to help foil future attacks. Which might lead you to wonder: is the government now going to have access to all our Google searches? Here’s our senior business correspondent Bob Moon:


Bob Moon: The Washington Post quotes knowledgeable sources as saying an agreement between the company and the NSA provides for the sharing of critical information without violating Google’s policies, or online privacy laws. But neither the company nor the NSA are commenting officially, which worries Greg Nojeim, legal counsel at Washington’s Center for Democracy and Technology:

Greg Nojeim: Really, we need to get some more disclosure from Google about what it has agreed to do, and from the NSA about what it has agreed to do. And also, what is it that Google has said it won’t share with the NSA?

Nojeim says Google has the legal authority to cooperate with the government. And he agrees sharing appropriate information could make it easier to defend against future attacks. Still, he worries that privacy safeguards remain fuzzy:

Nojeim: The important thing here is to draw the line so the sharing of limited attack information doesn’t morph into ongoing monitoring of innocent activity.

Nojeim suggests some kind of independent oversight might be needed to prevent unwarranted snooping.

I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

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