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Google and NSA

November 4, 2013

The latest revelations from Snowden’s stolen documents, as conveyed by journalists not familiar with SIGINT, have it that NSA is doing nefarious things with Google databases. I was on CNBC today and I expressed my skepticism about both the story and about Google’s faux indignation:

Yeah, look – first of all, what we’ve heard so far, most recently, are allegations from Edward Snowden’s stolen documents. They are just allegations at this point, and a lot of his allegations turn out to be not exactly true.
 
Second of all, NSA does not spy on Americans without a warrant, and the only grounds for spying on Americans are a warrant granted from the FISA court on grounds that you’re working for foreign intelligence or foreign terrorism. There are no other grounds. Period. End of story.
 
Google collects information on all of us. I don’t know how one could use the Internet without using Google. I spent almost a decade with NSA in counterintelligence, working some of the most sensitive projects in the US government, and I’ll bet you today Google knows more about me than NSA does.

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8 Comments
  1. A Long Time Reader permalink

    The MIB cut your feed because you’re not presenting the right information, Dr. Schindler. The story is this: Google is the victim. NSA are the bad guys. Everybody needs to give Google a second chance now that Snowden’s job at Booz Allen has been automated.

  2. Todd Rossman permalink

    In your own blog about counter-espionage, you point out how security personnel have their own agendas and ego-oriented goals. The claim that the NSA has no other ground or goal than to fight terrorism (Period?) seems obviously not genuine (faked) or misinformed. The abuse of power by the NSA is not checked in a transparent way. The same seems to apply for Google and those involved in commercial interests as for government agencies and departments.

    Individuals must and can be vigilant because systemic solutions don’t always apply to subjects like security. All of this doesn’t obscure the real issue of individual humans rights like freedom of speech & privacy that should be assured… The Google-NSA link is perhaps what was warned about in Eisenhower’s “military-industrial” speech about technocrats taking power away freedom the people?

    • Hey dumbass, never said NSA exists to solely fight terrorism. Wake up and learn to read.

      • Todd Rossman permalink

        Incorrect/incomplete edit was posted. My apologies.

        Still your statements don’t hold. What do you think?

        NSA’s penetration & collection of information extends past Google information. While the data collected by Google may be more extensive, it wouldn’t be as critical.

        Abuses for baseless / warrantless searches are addressed in the legislation that allow for spying on Americans. Thus the law & whistleblowing activity: it happened and will happen. “Period.” The majority of Americans believe that the NSA is lying about listening in to calls.
        http://today.yougov.com/news/2013/06/12/americans-think-nsa-lying-about-listening-calls/

        It seems one can blur the difference between SIGINT and free (political) speech promoting positive change. This is problematic in the global digital environment. When talking with the former NATO Baltic coordinator (A US citizen) a few years back, our mutual grim assessment was that personal freedoms were being trampled upon and that the EU was doing more to protect this. The blowback from this “George Friedman US hegemony” policy and international surveillance and data collection is finally internal critique. Looking at the Nov/Dec FA article, it argues that the Snowden & Manning leaks are putting an end to the ability of the US to use hypocrisy as a key weapon in its soft power.
        http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140155/henry-farrell-and-martha-finnemore/the-end-of-hypocrisy# Perhaps this would make your point that “Operation Snowden” is very effective, but how will you offset the ‘ole “confirmation bias” syndrome? This goes for both the NSA and Google data collection.

        The Soviet Army was one of the greatest sources of corruption with little oversight and much secrecy. What would prevent the NSA from having something like a global pedophile or extortion ring once the abuses start? After teaching Political Science in Latvia prior to their first elections, I heard too much about the abuses of secret courts, after talking to judges who admitted to these abuses, pressured in various ways. Forgive me if I err on the side of distrust. Forgive me if I listen to NIST about the NSA, bonehead. (<- friendly pushback)

      • Never lose your passion.

  3. Todd Rossman permalink

    Regarding “Operation Snowden” – do you think such people as Sarah might be “Useful Idiots”? Thinking in terms of the book “The True Believer” I don’t see her as one of the masses getting pulled in… Regarding digital rights for the freedom of speech, when is one’s “freedom fighter” transformed from being an ” radical insurgent” seems to be an issue too. Mind you, I know there must some nasty counterintelligence – like when the KGB were actively recruiting Latvian citizens English Departments in Latvia in ’92. Having a discerning eye, and realizing this also may support your view (even though I disagree with it), what might you think of this?

    http://international.sueddeutsche.de/post/66551706047/contagious-courage

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