Google Says User Data Is Protected From Government

 Google Says User Data Is Protected From Government

Speaking at the South by Southwest festival in Austin Texas, Google CEO Eric Schmidt assured his audience by saying he was “pretty sure,” that the company’s user data was protected from “prying eyes,” which included the U.S government. In response to the Edward Snowden incident, where large volumes of classified information were released to the public, the company has upgraded their encryption process. Without divulging too much information, especially about the specifics of these new encryption systems, Mr. Schmidt stated that the only way to protect user data was to essentially “encrypt more.” In addition to the increased encryption levels the company also claims to have upgraded many of their digital security systems.

The details of this upgrade share the same story of secrecy with that of its new encryption standards. This is perhaps why Mr. Schmidt’s public announcement is significant. After whistle blowers like Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning have shown that not even classified government data is safe, and that a government agency like the NSA spends billions of dollars recording everyone’s digital footprint, many have questioned not only their safety online but also their right to privacy in an increasingly digital world.

In other words, when the very same government that spies on every citizen’s online activity cannot keep its classified and sensitive information safe from the hands of whistle-blowers or hackers, what level of security and privacy is the average citizen and internet user entitled to when they visit major websites like Google, Yahoo or Facebook? Most of these billion dollar online conglomerates not only store the personal data of their users but also use this information to understand their clientele and improve their business model to increase profits. So when a company like Google tries to assure everyone that their user data is protected from the intrusion of not only the government but also from any other security threat, the company is making a bold attempt to boost the confidence of their millions of customers.

Responding to this customer concern for a company like Google could be more about keeping the business profitable than about any moral qualms concerning an online user’s right to privacy. To his credit, Mr. Schmidt contends that the NSA’s intrusions into their user database was without Google’s knowledge. He also went as far as to say that an intrusion by the US government was not dissimilar from any other intrusion including one from any other government. In this respect, the NSA intrusion by the US government in 2013 was no different from that of the Chinese in 2010. From a security point of view, Mr. Schmidt contends that the US government is still the number one threat to anybody’s online privacy.

Eric Schmidt also spoke of his personal philosophy with regard to the internet – that it should be free and open for all people all over the world. Despite the upgrade in security technology and encryption standards, the company is still bound by the US Patriot Act and the secret court system that functions for judicial matters that are of concern to national security. This is a compromise that no amount of new age technology can address because it is the law. By taking into account all the events of the recent past, with regard to the activities of the NSA that have been brought to light, it is now clear that their activities are for the most part legal.  So when Google makes an announcement that all of its user data is protected from the government, it can be inferred is that it is probably safe until a court orders the release of a private data record. How safe these secret courts are is another question for the American people to decide, but that is something Google will not have to answer for.

By Unni K. Nair

Sources:

TIME

CNET

Android Headlines

 

5 Responses to "Google Says User Data Is Protected From Government"

  1. Unni Paul   March 8, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Hey Richard, the whole point of the Patriot Act is to subvert the 4th Amendment that you have written out. As long as this act is not struck down it remains the law even if its being abused.

    Reply
    • richard wilmot   March 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      “whole point of the Patriot Act is to subvert the 4th Amendment that you have written out. As long as this act is not struck down it remains the law even if its being abused.”

      But the U.S. Government remains an illegitimate government until they obey our Constitution. I have no moral duty to obey an illegitimate authority. They rule only by force of arms and spying.

      Reply
  2. richard wilmot   March 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    “This is a compromise that no amount of new age technology can address because it is the law. By taking into account all the events of the recent past, with regard to the activities of the NSA that have been brought to light, it is now clear that their activities are for the most part legal. ”

    Nonsense. The Fourth Amendment is NOT worded as a suggestion. They need a warrant and the sooner we get a case to the Supreme Court, the sooner we can get our Fourth Amendment back or know that it is time to use our Second Amendments to take it back from an illegitimate government.

    “.. no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    Does that count sound like a single warrant might cover 100,000,000 people? Not hardly. What would Jefferson or Franklin say of this?

    Reply
  3. Anime Master   March 8, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Nobody believes you Dwite.

    Reply
  4. Lee Church   March 8, 2014 at 10:04 am

    First, “pretty sure” is not “impossible”.

    Second, Google (and others) will gamble with user’s data for an infinite time horizon (they are not stopping next year, even if they ‘win’ the bet).

    The last time I did the math, a small chance, multiplied by infinity, equals certainty.

    So he basically said he was certain they would eventually lose all the data.

    He must be hoping that certain catastrophic end is AFTER he cashes in and is long gone, leaving your grandmother to pay the price (as she did for the bank’s gambling that had similar odds of ending badly).

    Great. These guys think they are smarter than the finance folks that led to the Great Recession. They sure will scale up and ‘leverage’ that data more, and it’s certain that they will leave others to sort out the mess left in their wake. They even get to write off the public relations spin for ‘big data’. yeah!

    Reply

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