Monday, November 4, 2013
Google chairman: NSA spying on our data centres 'outrageous'
Google chairman: NSA spying on our data centres 'outrageous'
Eric Schmidt says company has lodged complaints with NSA, White House and Congress as criticism hardens in Silicon Valley
Rory Carroll in Los Angeles
theguardian.com, Monday 4 November 2013 15.40 EST
Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, has attacked the US government for apparently breaking into the connections that link the company's data centres around the world as "outrageous" and described other surveillance practices as "possibly illegal".
Speaking at an event in Hong Kong, Schmidt stepped up the company's response to revelations in the Washington Post that the National Security Agency, working with its British counterpart, GCHQ, had broken into fibre optic cables that carry the transfer of data around the world for Google and Yahoo.
"It's really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that's true," Schmidt told the Wall Street Journal.
"The steps that the organization was willing to do without good judgment to pursue its mission and potentially violate people's privacy, it's not OK."
The comments reflected Silicon Valley's hardening criticism of government snooping amid continued revelations based on documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Just two months ago, Schmidt declined to "pass judgment" on the surveillance programmes.
But last week it was reported that the NSA intercepted communications links used by Google and Yahoo to move vast amounts of data between overseas data centres.
On Monday, the Washington Post published further Snowden documents and additional context for its story. Among the details published in the latest report is the claim the interception took place on "British territory".
It also claimed that none of the statements issued by the NSA since the story was published contained substantive denials. It said the source documents showed the NSA, rather than break directly into Google or Yahoo data centres, intercepted communication between them that ran on private fibre optic cable circuits. The former is known as "data at rest", the latter as "data on the fly".
It was clear spies broke into both companies' private "clouds", or internal networks, said the report, because some of the extracted data existed nowhere else.
It remained unclear how the NSA did this, and whether it had help from inside the technology giants.
Asked if it had launched an internal security review, Google on Monday reissued a statement given last week from chief legal officer David Drummond, saying the company did not give access to its systems to any government and that it was expanding encryption across more Google services and links.
In his interview, Schmidt said Google had lodged complaints with the NSA, the White House and members of Congress. He also attacked the separate NSA program that sweeps up the telephone metadata relating millions of Americans. "The NSA allegedly collected the phone records of 320 million people in order to identify roughly 300 people who might be a risk. It's just bad public policy … and perhaps illegal," he said.
Google itself has faced repeated accusations of privacy violations, including illicitly tracking web browsing.
Schmidt has made no secret that the company tests boundaries of what is acceptable. "Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it," he said in 2010.
Outcries in Europe and growing momentum in Washington to rein in surveillance has put the NSA on the defensive.
Asked to respond to Schmidt's criticism, an NSA spokesperson said the agency was "focused on valid foreign intelligence targets" and referred to a previous statement that press articles had misstated facts and mischaracterised NSA activities.
"NSA conducts all of its activities in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies – and assertions to the contrary do a grave disservice to the nation, its allies and partners, and the men and women who make up the National Security Agency."
Last week the agency's director, General Keith Alexander, said the agency had not used a presidential order to circumvent domestic legal restrictions: "I can tell you factually we do not have access to Google servers, Yahoo servers. We go through a court order."
National Security Agency (NSA)
PRISM is a clandestine mass electronic surveillance data mining program known to have been operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007. PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN. The Prism program collects stored Internet communications based on demands made to Internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms. The NSA can use these Prism requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the Internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier, and to get data that is easier to handle, among other things.
PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration. The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court, or FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Its existence was leaked six years later by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as "dangerous" and "criminal" activities. The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial arrangement between NSA's Special Source Operations division (SSO) and PRISM partners in the millions of dollars.
Note: PRISM reportedly collects data from Google Inc., the Microsoft Corporation and is a data-mining program for the National Security Agency (NSA).
Booz Allen Hamilton is a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA).
Edward Snowden was an employee at Booz Allen Hamilton, and leaked information about the National Security Agency (NSA).
Robert S. Osborne is the EVP & general counsel for Booz Allen Hamilton, and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Commercial Club of Chicago, Members Directory
Please note: This link for the members of the Commercial Club of Chicago can no longer be found.
R. Eden Martin is the president of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and counsel at Sidley Austin LLP.
Michelle Obama was a lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP.
Sidley Austin LLP is the lobby firm for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
Barack Obama was an intern at Sidley Austin LLP.
Newton N. Minow is senior counsel at Sidley Austin LLP, and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Valerie B. Jarrett is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the senior adviser for the Barack Obama administration, and her great uncle is Vernon E. Jordan Jr.
Cyrus F. Freidheim Jr. is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank).
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was a funder for the Brookings Institution (think tank).
William H. Gates III is a co-chair for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a co-founder & chairman for the Microsoft Corporation.
National Security Agency (NSA) was a grant recipient from the Microsoft Corporation.
Gary F. Locke represented in the Microsoft Corporation in China, the commerce secretary for the Barack Obama administration, and is the China U.S. ambassador.
Jon M. Huntsman Jr. was the China U.S. ambassador for the Barack Obama administration, and a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution (think tank).
Sheryl K. Sandberg was a trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), and the VP for Google Inc.
Censorship by Google
Google adhered to the Internet censorship policies of China, enforced by means of filters colloquially known as "The Great Firewall of China" until March 2010.
Vernon E. Jordan Jr. is Valerie B. Jarrett’s great uncle, a senior counsel for Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), a director at the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank), was the president of the Economic Club of Washington, and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP is the lobby firm for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
David M. Rubenstein is the president of the Economic Club of Washington, and a trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank).
Foundation to Promote Open Society was a funder for the Brookings Institution (think tank), and the New America Foundation.
George Soros is the chairman for the Foundation to Promote Open Society.
Eric E. Schmidt was a funder for the New America Foundation, is the chairman of the New America Foundation, the chairman for Google Inc., and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Google's Eric Schmidt talks about how to run the world (not that he wants to)
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
...as Schmidt wrapped up a speech to the Economic Club of Washington during a luncheon in a packed ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Click here for an audio clip of Schmidt's comments.
The appearance was a homecoming of sorts for Schmidt. Vernon E. Jordan Jr., the club's president and a former President Clinton advisor, noted that Schmidt was born a few blocks away from the hotel at George Washington University Hospital, and grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs. His mother, Ellie Schmidt, was in the audience.
PRISM reportedly collects data from Google Inc., the Microsoft Corporation and is a data-mining program for the National Security Agency (NSA).
Posted by Sam and Bunny Sewell at 8:11 PM