Google Deal With NSA Raises Privacy Questions

The Washington Post Google

While the exact origin of the attacks is likely to remain a mystery, teaming up with the NSA could shed light on how to prevent such attacks from happening again, not only at Google, but within other large networks. Privacy advocates worry, however, that the government agency will somehow gain access to private user data.

Neither the NSA nor Google is commenting on their partnership, but the Post reported that anonymous sources said the two organizations will "share critical information without violating Google's policies or laws that protect the privacy of Americans' online communications." In addition, the arrangement will not permit the NSA to view users' searches or e-mail accounts or let Google share proprietary data.

Google said the strikes -- which apparently originated in China -- last month targeted the Google source code and included more than 30 large companies, including those in technology and defense. Gmail accounts of human rights activists in Europe, China and the U.S. were also impacted. The attacks prompted Google to threaten to leave the Chinese market entirely if the government would not agree to let Google run an unfettered -- i.e., uncensored -- search engine there. That issue has not been resolved.

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