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Google's "Immaculate Collaboration" with NSA? Part XIX of Privacy-Publicacy Series

Ellen Nakashima may have a career-making scoop with her front page Washington Post investigative reporting piece: "Google to enlist NSA to help ward off cyberattacks."  

  • As Publisher of the Google watchdog site,, I can't say I am surprised about a Google-NSA connection, especially given that over the last year my PrecursorBlog has posted: 
  1. An 18-part "Privacy vs. Publicacy" series;
  2. A 6-part "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" series; and 
  3. A 16-part "The Open Internet's Growing Security Problem" series

Ms. Nakeshima's revelation that Google sought out NSA's help shortly after it suffered massive cyber-attacks, apparently from China, opens a Pandorra's Box of privacy issues given that Google's aggressive "publicacy" (anti-privacy) business model, policies and practices have shown little respect for people's privacy in practice over the last decade.

Anyone who understands privacy, cybersecurity, investigations, and computer code, understands that only Google's legendary PR would attempt a "don't be evil" defense of "immaculate collaboration" between super-secretive Google and the super-secret NSA. 

  • Very simply it would insult people's intelligence for Google to maintain that this Google-NSA cyber-security collaboration would not have privacy implications, especially after Google CEO Eric Schmidt flabbergasted privacy advocates December 8, 2009 by asserting on CNBC that:
    • "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," ...
    • "If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."  

 My big question -- as publisher of which tries to keep watch on the top watcher of everyone else: Google -- is who and what process in the U.S. Government will keep watch over this pending unprecedented and unparalleled watcher collaboration process, in order to protect Americans privacy?   

And what will be the implications for the privacy of Google's users worldwide of Google's collaboration with the NSA given that 53% of Google's revenues come from outside the United States per Google's latest earnings report?

In sum, what level of transparency and accountability can people expect from Google on this issue? The old adage, "trust but verify" would seem especially appropriate here.



1.   Publicacy vs Privacy Series:

Part I: The Growing Privacy-Publicacy Fault-line -- The Tension Underneath World Data Privacy Day 

Part II: Implications of User Location Tracking

Part III: Extreme Publicacy -- Does Privacy Stand a Chance?

Part VI: Why FTC’s Behavioral-Ad Principles Are a Big Deal

Part V: Privacy prevailed in Facebook's privacy-publicacy earthquake

Part VI: Do People Own Their Private Information Online?  

Part VII: Where is the line between privacy and publicacy? 

Part VIII: "Privacy is Over"

Part IX: "Interventional Targeting? "Get into people's heads" 

Part X: "Latest publicacy arguments against privacy"

Part XI: "The Web 2.0 movement is opposed to the privacy movement." 

Part XII: "No consumer control over the commercialization of their privacy?"

Part XIII: "Does new Government cookie policy favor publicacy over privacy? "

Part XIV: "Google Book Settlement "absolutely silent on user privacy" 

Part XV: Yet more evidence of Google's hostility to privacy

Part XVI: Poll: Americans strongly oppose publicacy & expect online privacy

Part XVII: FaceBook CEO throws privacy under the bus

Part XVIII: Fact-Checking Google's Privacy Principles


2.   "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" series:

  • Part I: "Why security is Google's Achilles heel"
  • Part II: "Google values security much less than others do"
  • Part III: "Google: "Security is part of our DNA" (Do Not Ask)
  • Part IV: "Why Security is Google's Achilles Heel"
  • Part V: "Google Apps Security Chief is a magician/mentalist"
  • Part VI: "Google-China: Implications for CyberSecurity"

3.   The Open Internet's Growing Security Problem series: