There’s been a mixed reaction to the news that Google is set to team up with the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US to ward off cyber-attacks. Google, still reeling from recent hacking controversies in China, has decided to pull out the big guns and enlist the NSA, whom the Washington Post refer to as “the world’s most powerful electronic surveillance organisation”.
The Post report that broke the story tells how, while an agreement is yet to finalised, the nuts and bolts of the deal would see the NSA help Google analyse the “major corporate espionage attack that the firm said originated in China and targeted its computer networks, according to cyber-security experts familiar with the matter”. The overall aim is to better defend Google – and its users – from future attack.
More interestingly, while neither party would comment, sources with knowledge of the arrangement, speaking on the condition of anonymity, “said the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information without violating Google’s policies or laws that protect the privacy of Americans’ online communications.” The sources did add though that the deal does not mean the NSA will be viewing users’ searches or e-mail accounts or that Google will be sharing proprietary data.
ZDnet point out that whole deal is “already making some experts a bit squeamish, concerned about the balance of information sharing between a company like Google and the federal government”. Commentator Sam Diaz continued, “Is Google really putting the security of my personal information into the hands of the federal government for safekeeping? I certainly hope not.
“If I were a business considering making a move to Google’s cloud-based applications to manage my critical data, I might be forced to think twice if I knew Google was relying on the government for advice on how to keep it safe – regardless of whether or not the company was actually sharing the data with the feds.”
Certainly an interesting one to watch as privacy debates rage on throughout 2010.