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This is the big story in tech today: 


I'm just going to post my thoughts on this. Standard disclaimer: They are my own thoughts, and not those of my employer.

Fuck these guys. 

I've spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google's users safe and secure from the many diverse threats Google faces.

I've seen armies of machines DOS-ing Google. I've seen worms DOS'ing Google to find vulnerabilities in other people's software. I've seen criminal gangs figure out malware. I've seen spyware masquerading as toolbars so thick it breaks computers because it interferes with the other spyware.

I've even seen oppressive governments use state sponsored hacking to target dissidents.

But even though we suspected this was happening, it still makes me terribly sad. It makes me sad because I believe in America. 

Not in that flag-waving bullshit we've-got-our-big-trucks-and-bigger-tanks sort of way, but in the way that you can looked a good friend who has a lot of flaws, but every time you meet him, you think, "That guy still has some good ideas going on".

But after spending all that time helping in my tiny way to protect Google -- one of the greatest things to arise from the internet -- seeing this, well, it's just a little like coming home from War with Sauron, destroying the One Ring, only to discover the NSA is on the front porch of the Shire chopping down the Party Tree and outsourcing all the hobbit farmers with half-orcs and whips. 

The US has to be better than this; but I guess in the interim, that security job is looking a lot more like a Sisyphus thing than ever. 


Also of note, this article from September may call some recent technical decisions into relief:

#nsa   #surveillancestate  
Tobias Horvath's profile photoJulian Stecklina's profile photoEric Reed's profile photoTodd Edwards (TriangleTodd)'s profile photo
Ryan R
"Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing."
Interesting... 180mm records in 30 days.  What would make a useful record?   I would guess there are at least 10mm gmail users in the US.   Someone has an awesome spam filter.
Did you ever read The Lord of the Rings? Because that's almost exactly what happens at the end of the book, except it's Saruman instead of the NSA. But one man's palantír is another man's trojan...
Brandon is only familiar with the films.

Also why don't we just have the eagles carry the data?
I served in the Military to protect the freedoms of the citizens of this country. This country is so warped from the top down I don't know who to look up to anymore. 
+Jon Pretty I was just going to point that out... With that said, Saruman's guys got their collective asses kicked by the hobbits too, as I recall. ;-)
And strangely, if Google returned the favor we would get in all kinds of trouble.
Jason Hsu
I have a hard time believing that inter-datacenter transfers for a company of Google's scale and reach were being done unencrypted.
If I were Larry or Sergey, I would be storming through every one of my datacenters yanking out any box I didn't immediately recognize as one of mine.
Erik S.
I'm sorry, man. This must be incredibly painful, particularly since some of "these guys" are probably people you've looked forward to seeing at conferences, or around the table at lunch in the company cafeteria.
Ryan R
No one looks forward to sitting by the NSA at lunch.
C'mon! You guys are supposed to be the smartest mf in the whole Internet universe.
Do soemthing.
Ted C
Really wish GOOG would file a lawsuit. Any lawsuit. Get your feet wet. You'll be heroes. Fight the bad guys. As I understand it, the crucial issue now is standing, and only providers like Google can prove they received actual orders. As consumers, we can't prove we have standing.
+Brandon Downey "The US has to be better than this" I could not agree more. But changes need to start somewhere first. Where? At Google. Google can do better than that; better security at datacenters, better security at fiber optics links, better cryptography, and a lawsuit!
No crypto on WAN lines is just asking for it. sorry, I can't feel empathy for Google on this one. This is a disgrace.
Also Google should stop dressing so slutty, she was obviously asking for it.
Hopefully, Google will flex some cyber-muscle and show the NSA they were creepin' in the wrong pipes.
You know, Google does a lot of good things, but did anybody still believe protecting user's information was one of them?

It's like Google's fine with giving out whatever the government asks of them (and collecting revenue from responding to those requests), but when the government goes behind their back, then Google's upset?
Its like a let's be wrong party up in here.
The actual means by which this was/is done is still unclear to me. The only way that makes sense, other than Tom Cruise dropping out of an air vent, is if people employed by Google, or employed by the contractors installing the fiber cables, were also working for the NSA. Everything I've seen written, which hasn't been very technical at all, has described intercepting unencrypted data on the fibers between data centers. You can't do that without physical access to the hardware, can you? 
My question is: how could you let this happen? What we have seen on this incredible unsophisticated drawing today was pretty obvious -- when I heard about #prism  three months before and read the dementis from Google, it was pretty obvious what had happened. 
+Brandon Downey : Thanks. And it appears the answer to my question is "yes, you do have to gain direct physical access to the fibers." It seems, though, that anywhere along the fiber would be acceptable, and not all of the fiber's length is monitored or protected. So this doesn't mean spies inside the company or inside a contractor. 
I'm just surprised nobody is pointing at these guys and calling them out as the real Advanced Persistent Threat.
Good to see some Googlers finally waking up.
Thanks Ted, many people pointed this out to me while it happened. :) 

I'm happy to report the best response was from my mother, who when I explained what the NSA was doing here, said, "That sounds really wrong. Shouldn't you need a warrant for that kind of thing?"

I think that's a pretty TL;DR good summary of what a lot of people feel. 
Ted C
This recent law article basically describes the intelligence community's right to conduct warrantless surveillance as long as they call it justified by "national security". The limitation is they can only use it for pure intelligence and can't use it in court to prosecute. So in fact they don't need a warrant, under their theories.

This whole thing has been a scary education for me and many Americans. What it will take to turn this ship around is the big question.
You have Zero chance fighting them without google embracing Bitcoin.
Security 101...encrypt your data in transit. Period. End of story. Google hopefully has learned this lesson now...
+Jon Pretty  And who was Saruman? One of the formerly nominally "good guys", who got too fond of his own elevated position, too fond of his secret knowledge, and seduced by his spying technology (the Palantir).

There's even a government spying contractor called Palantir. I wonder what the hell they were thinking. LinkedIn keeps telling me they're looking for people like me. No, LinkedIn, I don't think they are. Not to employ, anyway.
+Kristian Hermansen  I think the definition of "transit" would have been arguable here. Seeing as the data is, topologically, within a closed network, I think people wouldn't necessarily consider the connection between data centers to be "transit". That's what my earlier question regarding direct physical access to the wire was about. It turns out that those wires can be compromised and therefore the data is "in transit", but if they couldn't be (which was my first assumption) then it's not so clear that you should define that as "in transit".
+Brandon Downey As a fellow security geek: what do you think could have stopped this?

AFAICT, the NSA has physically intercepted Google's intranet trunks. Were you sending in the clear within the intranet? If yes, I'm honestly surprised (most crypto geeks I know are too fucking paranoid even to trust an intranet, and clearly with good reason) and it would be (relatively) easy to fix, though at some latency cost. If no, it implies that either your crypto protocol or keys were broken.

Plus it raises the question of how they could have made such a physical intercept to begin with; I thought you have stuff to detect tampering with an optical trunk over land, and physical security at the data centers themselves.
+Ted Chang  They can, however, tip off police to investigate a given thing / person, and information gathered in that investigation can be used in criminal prosecution.
+Brandon Downey Then… yeah. I'm pretty surprised that you weren't already doing that.

"Defense in depth" and "assume that everything else is compromised" is security 101. :-/
If they can tap undersea cables, they can operate a backhoe.
+lee colleton gets it. And this was very well known more than a decade ago.

In case you want to read up on this, try this 2003 Blackhat presentation:

TEN years ago, banks deployed bump-in-the-fiber encryption devices on their dark fibers precisely because this risk was well known and very present.

When you have a dataset as valuable as Google's you KNOW this will be a big target.

And if you are sending it unencrypted over thousands and thousands of miles of unguarded fiber you are grossly negligent.
Government IT workers are not the dumb mugs many in the private sector think they are. Many are of course, just as in private industry, but there are highly skilled, dedicated, hard working ones in the public sector too.

One of the more annoying things I dislike about the tech industry is the general disdain people have for government employees - expressed on a network designed and built by several governments.

I hope this experience has taught you that you have tough adversaries in every government and that you need to challenge any assumptions you made before you realised that. As you say, it's an impossible task to defend against every vector - but false assumptions are vulnerabilities on their own and if you can remove them it's one less to be attacked from.
The natural reaction to this is understandable.  But the truth is that this is the best thing for us.  We're just too stupid to recognize it because the benefits are too long-term.   Will there be abuse?  Yea sure, there always is.  But there will also be much greater benefits from this level of global understanding, like dealing with global warming.  Privacy is dead anyway, it's death spiral cannot be stopped.
I'm so sorry that the people who seem to be running your country have flushed your work down the toilet, along with your Constitution. But, please, don't give up. Someone much brighter than me once said 'Ideas are bulletproof', and, one day, they'll be proved right and people will go to jail.
 Thank you for your work.
Fuck is fun, the NSA is not ;) But ack 
Thanks for these "free" words. I'm from Germany and I don't know why an american institution is allowed to read and see my private stuff. I hate them for this...
iri kli
Dear Downey, you are right, a warm fuck these gyse from germany! But what you don´t see is all these lunatics who couldn´t get all the infos they wanted to, cause of your work, hold on!
I have the sudden urge to reread the entire LOTR Trilogy immediately. Thanks for that.
Honestly: I was shocked and dismayed to find out Google didn't have the forethought to encrypt transmissions between datacenters. Epic fail on Google's part.

If I had known, I never would've signed up for Google services. Ever.
+Mike Ziemkendorf "Internal" traffic is rarely encrypted, and extremely difficult to intercept. It's standard practice. Is your LAN encrypted? And intercepting that data would be highly illegal. Unless, of course, your big brother writes and enforces the laws.

Thank you +Brandon Downey for sharing your candid thoughts. People need to "unbutton" a little and talk about the issues truthfully. I think you've done that here. It's obvious people have noticed. Well done.
+Ben Bailess HUGE difference between your LAN inside a building, and not encrypting data traveling cross-country.
lets keep victim-blaming it's never a bad idea.
+Jake Weisz also a huge difference in the understood risk of tapping fiber and the risk of tapping basically anything else... it wasn't thought to be practical / feasible. Obviously they (and most other major providers) were wrong, but it's much easier to say that in hindsight. They have fixed it now, that's all that really matters. Aside from the fact that the NSA has no respect for sovereign law. Almost forgot that one.
+Ben Bailess It used to not be practical/feasible to crack a ten-character password too.
Jack Weisz, you do understand that tapping fiber is a very difficult hardware exploit, right? All your pithy retorts act like it's somehow the same as a software exploit. 
+Jake Weisz the concept of a terabyte also used to be completely foreign to computing except in an academic setting... computing changes, duh. The entire world (including Google and obviously excluding the NSA) thought that tapping fiber was impossible without screwing up the signal. "They should have known" isn't really a reasonable reaction since basically no one "knew".

But considering the speed hit and computing power they will have had invested to encrypt all of their fiber channels, I'd say Google anted up better than expected.
I knew there learning to sing die Lorelei in German class would pay off one day? :) 
If you're reading this, it's a good time to point out that if you think that the leaks made by Edward Snowden were a valuable service to the world (and especially to the US and the UK), here is his legal defense fund:
Before you go off on a Googlers vs the NSA rant, have you considered how many people are both?  I don't know, and i can't check anymore, but you can search for NSA on internal resume's....

If we don't hear back from you i'm gonna assume the answer was shocking.
+Brandon Downey Seems like your is for his legal defence, but from his recent meetup with the German member of parliament, I've learned that he is short on cash personally.

Does anybody know where to contribute to this?
+Ben Bailess Google invested millions or billions, I assume, in security for their datacenters, but apparently, not a single *&@! was given about protecting the cable between. From any point where man in the middle attacks existed, at least someone at Google should've been saying "Hmm... what if someone tapped this. It's not like we have security guards patrolling the line for it's entire run." As far as we're aware, Google currently has no idea where the NSA has tapped their lines. Common sense should have told Google as soon as SSL existed as a thing, that really, any private data leaving the building should be encrypted.

Maybe tapping fiber isn't the easiest or common thing in the world, but Google isn't storing any random data either. They hold the private lives of millions upon millions of customers, which were entrusted to them. And they aren't any random IT company, they're the largest and most powerful website corporation on the face of this Earth. They have a higher standard to be held to. I think most people would've just assumed Google encrypted things between datacenters. I imagine, had they been presented with this information, few to no corporate entities would've ever signed up for Google Apps.

Then again, things like the new caller ID feature shows Google has no respect for privacy anyways, so Google might as well have just let the NSA in the door for all they care.
I'm an Indian, but from where I'm looking, NSA actions look illegal, and if they are official, then the organization is into illegal things. Surely this merits more than outrage in social media? Why are these people not being halted? Why the sweet talk about controls, when it is evident that not only are the NSA out of control, but actively go around controls. This is very alarming and frustrating, particularly since we have a spineless government that will not put any pressure over our rights. (The same government that assured US that Wikileaks would not have any impact on bilateral ties before knowing the content of the leaks.) So Indian's on the Internet are basically on their own in the wild.
+Vidyut G K "official" and "illegal" are both irrelevant and relative. They're official insofar they are carried out by aj official body - the NSA. They are legal insofar as they do not break the laws purpose-interpreted for these types of proframs. The problem lies with the fact that these operations have autonomy without accountability.
+Mike Ziemkendorf Actually, the text of the announcements about Google encrypting this traffic indicates they're starting to do it, which means a lot of our data is still probably not encrypted.
+Ben Bailess I know the spying traffic on the internet and such and laws accommodating it, but how can hacking a private network over private transport between private servers without any notice, oversight or accountability be ... well... legal?
+Jake Weisz It may be a little harsh to say that no-one at Google gave a *&@!. Individual Googler's have thus far shown a lot of zeal for protecting customer data and a lot of them are truly hurt that someone left the backdoor open while they were busy installing impenetrable walls and a vault-like front-door.

From +Mike Hearn 's comments I am lead to believe that Google thought about it, but perhaps got distracted in trying to find a more perfect solution (end-to-end encryption) than simply deploying link-level encryption and as a result ended up not encrypting at all.

There is no doubt that the risk analysis got completely screwed up and that the company was negligent by failing to protect the data in light of a decade+ of public warnings. But saying that no-one gave a hoot doesn't square with the facts.
+Ben Bailess Also, can any evidence collected on the internet be valid then, if no matter how protected it is, NSA will access it? I mean I could say I have no knowledge of the email found in my inbox! NSA planted it!!! Why would they draw the line at planting incriminating stuff for convenience, if they have already crossed so many lines?
+Jeroen van Gelderen Alright, I'll give you that. (I actually have a lot of respect for Google employees, but I'm losing more and more for the company every day. Ever since Larry Page took over as CEO.)
+Mike Ziemkendorf LOL who said anything about trusting Ubuntu? Heck no I don't trust Ubuntu. Not as long as sends unity searches to 92727292627 different servers (yes I know to only sends data to canonical servers as an "anonymizing" method)... personally I prefer Debian ;)
The biz model of Ooogle, 2-faced book and the rest is based upon spying. Is private sector spying OK then
Google's bosses supported and still support the head of this snake, Pres Obama. You made your bed....
Brandon, I admire your courage and tenacity. There's a hell of a lot of complexity surrounding this issue.

What are your thoughts on Given the NSA's work to insert backdoors into encryption standards (e.g.,, it seems quite probable that the NSA's assistance back in '10 was as much about getting more access to Google data as it was about defending Google from foreign (?) attackers.
Also, it seems quite a pity that this will last exactly as long as it takes for the NSA to draft a letter demanding that you backdoor the encryption you just put into place...
Hey, I just wanted to thank you guys for attempting to keep our data safe.

Oh - and I agree - Fuck these guys, if we have to, we'll build a new Internet, one with decentralization and security models built into the core protocols.
I understand the business model survives on mining user data, but on the business side, it would be really comforting to see some more encryption on GMail, Drive, and Talk. Looking really carefully at companies like Mega and Silent Circle.
How about coming from war with Sauron and finding out Nestle had taken all your drinking water so they could sell it in plastic bottles? 
I like that things are being fixed. And a lot of commentary "you were naive" may be right, but such comments are somewhat naive themselves.

I'm more worried about proprietary P2P VOIP systems being bought out by a major US company and then, through important updates, turned into less-than-P2P. One possible (and healthily paranoid) explanation is they're doing the reverse of what Google is doing to secure its networks. How about: "The VOIP system operator is intentionally making it easier to spy on users' calls."
As someone who is currently working towards an associate degree in security (and bachelors in Computer Science later on hopefully), I salute you sir.

Seriously, fuck these guys. I can't even begin to imagine at how appalled you must be after discovering this. Lock everything down, make all that work they did useless! It's just despicable, yet not surprising, considering it's the NSA.

Also, Ars Technical also linked to you here, if you were curious: 
Sean T
+Matt Storms Only the Constitution. No one in the top tier of government worthy of your service.
In a world full of subterfuge, propaganda, and disinformation, it's hard to know what to believe. That the data wasn't encrypted in the 1st place makes little sense. That someone was able to physically tap the actual fiber without anyone knowing makes even less sense.

Welcome to the new world... cough order.
Great statement! Time to switch off the smartphone, computer etc. and go back to the roots. Learn to use a pencil and a piece of paper and write a traditional letter and send with a trusted carriage... 
Thank you very much for posting your frustration – we need more people to speak up!
None of you guys ever answer the question: if you get to this "no surveillance" paradise, and I'm a crook or an intelligence threat, thank you. I now know where to operate. Crooks getting my bank account, that I don't want. If we couldn't tap phones, we'd have a much more powerful mafia. 
Presumably no one answers that question since it's a straw man. :) 

I just think that surveillance, just like every tool in the government's arsenal, ought to be subject to checks & balances and strict oversight. 

What I see from the NSA right now is behavior going in the opposite behavior, and I find this worrisome as someone who believes in a government which is run under careful scrutiny.
Jason M
dog and pony show.
 They're so far up the governments ass they can smell obama's ballsack.
fuck these guys indeed. Stay inside, we need people like you there. 
It's interesting how our privacy is legally (?) subject to their oversight, but criminal law is used to protect their private activities. The asymmetry they feel entitled to is astounding.
I'm not seeing proof or confirmation, just the usual hypothetical we always see with Snowden.
It's one thing for the NSA to get the data it's a whole other ball game for them to make use of it. To do that they either needed to reverse engineer the the way the network is put together and some of the software used internally - otherwise the data was not useful, or they have a mole inside who helped them. The latter is more likely I'd say. The NSA hires some of the best talent out there and as a dark agency setting up excellent fake credentials would not be difficult - plant an engineer inside and reap the benefits. Let's hope if that's the case that individual does not get their hands on the new encryption keys.
Thank you Mr. Downey,  I also want to believe in that same America,  where anyone who works hard gets a chance, and guys with slide rules can put a man on the moon.     Not the hidden government bought and paid for by corporations,  spying on us and our allies.   It scares me,  for the world it will create for my kid.    Thank you for being open, and honest with your opinion,  and still believing!    c
Freedom's not free Brandon, time you grew up and accepted that fact.
Thank you Brandon Downey. This in not the America I accept. This is not what we stand for, there is a process of due rights and warrants for this. Not secret courts with closed sessions to which the public do not have access. We have to hold the governments feet to the fire. My Senator lost my vote for supporting crap like this, the way to stop them is to vote them out. Vote for people who have  a clear stance and hold them accountable. TIme to take our country back.
If I could give you a million +1's, I most def would
I am a long time Google user and lover, but now I find myself looking for alternatives. I do not want 1984. NSA must be cut down. 
you can't stop the NSA, you are the NSA
Do you flat-out say that our government should not engage in signals intelligence? Or, the should, but there should be some controls on it? Administered by a court? Law and spying are a crazy balancing act. Spying is always illegal where you're doing the spying. That's why you want to do it.

Just this week, it turns out that Brazil had its own bugs of US and other countries. Friendly countries want to know what you're not telling them. What your delegation will be saying at the next meeting, and what they will say the insist on and where they might give.

What I want to concentrate on is the behavior of the field agents, what they DO based on what they KNOW. No more putsches. No more assassinations. No more special favors for murderous generals, and no more declarations of non-existent WMD. And absolutely no persecutions of "dissidents"-- though if some faction of a legitimate group starts contemplating violence, I want to know that, too.

Frankly, I want us to have the most complete knowledge in the world of who's got a nuclear program and what their leaders are saying. US intelligence's greatest moment, for me, was Stevenson at the UN, showing the U2 photos of the missiles the Russian ambassador said didn't exist.

I want us to KNOW, like that. What we DO should be a matter for open debate.

the absolute truth. Nobody is beyond being corrupted, except God.and since history began it's always been about who has the biggest Gun.It's the golden rule,Those who have the gold Rule.
All cudos to you and your colleague to say it as it is! Now, I've never really trusted google about our (i.e. the customers') info, even as i couldn't stop using their products for being so damn good... But guys like you have the backbone to tell the,  cloak'n'dagger types to go Eff themselves, maybe you're not all bad! Now, if only you could infect your god-wannabes in the upper management suits with this attitude...
I haven't had a chance to see the famous posting from Edward Snowden, except on G+. (My only gateway onto the Net is very expensive.) Is it true that NSA has six eyes? I wasn't sure from the snippets. If these agencies have three pairs of eyes, then I think there is an easy explanation for
Ted C
+Ben Bailess These programs are "legal" only insofar as a court has never ruled them unconstitutional.

The courts can't rule on these programs because only the providers have real tangible "standing" as the recipients of these secret orders. Under current case law, phone and email users can't sue b/c we don't have any smoking guns to prove it happened to us directly. So right now, we can only hope telco and email providers like Verizon, Lavabit and Google will sue on our behalf and take it all the way to the Supreme Ct.

Even if certain aspects of FISA, the Patriot Act are finally shot down, it's still an open question what the executive branch can do under various myriad other statutes, EO 12333 and under inherent constitutional executive powers using the pretext of national security or "foreign" intelligence (broadly defined to include practically everything in the US). No doubt there's a lawyer somewhere willing to give them a go ahead on just about any surveillance program they can dream up. EFF suspects the fiber tapping is done under EO 12333. But who knows how and when programs under these other authorities will ever see a courtroom. We don't even know what legal theories the government relies on for its programs.
+1 Brandon, keep these turds in check. We appreciate your feedback.
I like the Mark Twain quote:

Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.

It is hard when the reality of the situation is becomes apparent. Yet being left not knowing is worse and so Snowden has given us a gift by sacrificing his life to reveal the truth. Part of that gift is having faith in humanity to work together against the few who would destroy every for a taste of sugar.
The NSA has been allowed to run amok, and every US citizen should now feel personally responsible for making sure that they're not only held accountable for what has been done, but that protections are put into place so they can't browse aimlessly through our data (meta- or otherwise) without a warrant.
+Pierce Johnson One is required by law and can't be avoided by a functioning business. The other is blatantly against the law. Pretty big difference. 
To all of you complaining about google not encrytpting this traffic: I wonder how many of you work with these lines, or design networks? Very Few companies do this.  I worked on a project 2 years ago where a CTO insisted that this was done ( and many engineers thought it was a paranoid waste of resources), now it seems that we were just naive in our presumption of privacy .  
Costumers are paying not to encrypt, not to add latency, not to add encryption and processing overhead ... A point to point line is meant to be a point to point line. There is no presumed stop at the nsa.
Now it seems that the nsa has forced companies to add in IPSEC accelerators over large links, eat 20% more traffic encryption over head, add latency. Having bought circuits from level 3, I'm shocked that they allowed this, and suspect many costumers will be leaving them.  

It's now obvious that these circuits have to be behind firewalls,  use process switching , not rely on asics, have ips mechanisms, have ids sensors, and be considered dirty. We no need to be worried about mac spoofing, man in the middle attacks, dos attacks, and intercepts. This adds considerable cost, latency man hours and pointless work...  A point to point should not be in the threat matrix. 

I'm even more concerned about the supposed security of mpls networks ... How many companies are being monitored inside MPLS clouds where the cost to monitor for NSA is considerably less.  Considering how much mpls sales literature revolves around not having encryption overhead, If this is happening there should be a class action.

The advantages of 'private circuits' are now very much in question. 
+Jacob Mischka Give me a break... It is the scoundrel who uses the law to justify their actions. Everything the Obama administration does is legal. Just listen to their press conferences.

Torturing in GITMO, legal. Blowing up kids, legal. Spying on everyone, legal. If the administration can interpret the law however they like in secret and the legislators don't even have time to read the laws they're voting for and can't control or see how the administration is interpreting that law, then whatever the administration wants is legal. Waterboarding was legal when they wanted it too.

You think if Eric Schmidt told the public "Hey, the government is compelling us to spy on everyone," and if other CEOs of telecom companies did the same, they'd all be thrown in jail? You think they'd jail every Goolgler who did the same? No, it's a cop out. It's also the justification of the scoundrel to say "Well, that's business." US Steel employed slave laborers in the early 20th century post-civil war and they essentially said the same thing. "That's business."

Who wants to bet the information the government was obtaining through tapping the fiber won't be handed over by Google if the government asks for it? If you ask me, this is nothing but a government pay wall. If Googlers want to pat themselves on the back, fine, but (as far as I know) the company is still selling whatever the government wants.
I agree with you, and I hate it, don't get me wrong. But from Google's point of view, I understand it, and I don't really blame them, personally.
Well said.

But have you written your Congressional representatives yet - threatening to deprive them of their employment unless they get these guys?

It's not over until most in the NSA are unemployed. And one can't assume "the other guy" will kick them to the street. That's not a responsibility that can be shared.

Hmmmm, she yours?  Kinda babbles like Ted Cruz doesn't she? Would you let her take care of your dog?
Well, well, well... if the problem is physical access to the fiberoptic lines, why not have someone regularily check out these lines? Physically?
A decree of the gods was necessary. Mercury came and seized Sisyphus by the collar and, snatching him from his joys, led him forcibly back to the underworld, where [the NSA] was ready for him. Respect. #certacito
Great to see people speak up for their beliefs!
I served in the US Army, was trained in electronic warfare and signals analysis, and held a Top Secret SCI clearance.  What I know for a fact is that the NSA is operating 180 degrees contrary to their charter and the Constitution. The NSA is not supposed to be surveilling US citizens - period.  Our country is rapidly devolving into a police state the likes of which even the East German Stasi never dreamed possible.
Ed Dich
Let Google just "accidentally" leak all the private data of all NSA guys AND their families. Maybe they'll know how does it feel to be exposed by someone you trust.
Brandon. You have just made my day. Keep up the good fight and to hell with spooks. Keep 'em out. Google' s stock just went back up, in my book. 
I hear you but is it reasonable to expect security with modern computer hardware?  It just all seems too hackable to me.  It's like playing a game online and hoping people won't exploit well known bugs.  It doesn't take much to ruin privacy, but it seems to take a monumental effort to protect it.  I'm not supporting the NSA's actions, but I also think privacy as we know it is in such a vulnerable position that to maintain the delusion that we have it further compromises our security.
To say something without fear is something I missed.

I loved your statement Mr. Downey.

Keep up your piece of work.
Heh, your final words made me remember ANNA-news documentary footage from Syria ( and grin since ALT Linux Sisyphus started out with security in mind. :-)

Glad to see US folk waking up and staring at what's up there.  Hope you'll be able to beat down a century-old FRS that robs you and the rest of us for no good reason.
+Chris Rosenau last time I checked Snowden was reportedly alive and in Russia just like I am, now if you choose to "sacrifice" your life the same way some day come for tea :-)  You're being lied to about Russia (or Syria, or probably on many more things), there's actually some real freedom left here.

+Emily Elizabeth I used to like that trilogy but now I see that it's there to sell us sorcery instead of the real thing.

+Matt Storms don't despair, and here's a brother to you, his name is Blaine Cooper: Marine calls for John McCain to be arrested and tried for treason at town hall meeting

+Mike Waychison these guys are just doing what they're told to -- you might be interested to look up Aaron Russo's last interview regarding that.
I've lost all trust in Google, and you guys have a LONG way to go to PROVE to me that you are protecting the privacy of my data and communications.  Until then, I will be looking to move everything I do away from Google.  Just the fact that Google complies with National Security Letters should make everyone move their data.  Stop listening to the lawyers and starting fighting back.  Deny access.  Deny access.  Deny access.  Get some fucking balls.
+John Manko well USA will be actually vulnerable to organized terrorism it actively breeds "for the rest of the world" if it lets those use electronic communications and go unmolested.  I'd say that the response is as low as the problem and both should be killed with a stick, especially as both have their root in a single human hating (anti-)society.

Look at what goes on in Syria: those wahhabi bandits use active command, logistics, media support from Saudis, Turkey, Qatar, and effective electronic comms "flying in whatever direction suits America" is fine with NSA there.

So rather don't kill the messenger.  Better kill off FRS and those who came to you to instill that form of loan slavery.  There will never be "enough" for them.
+Michael Shigorin
Terrorism is a result of US foreign intervention, and nothing more.  It's called blowback.  In fact, that term was coined by the CIA because they know exactly why terrorism tactics are used against the US and US interests.  Terrorists do not hate us for freedom.  That's a myth used by politicians and globalists to convince the American public that we need a "War on Terrorism."  A "War on Terrorism" will never end, just like a "war on Drugs" will never end.  What would we do if China or Russia sent troops the US and attempted to overtake our oil?  Sure as hell we'd fight back.  I don't agree with terrorism tactics, but they can't fight a mighty military, so then they fight the people.  Read the 9/11 Commission Report.  Better yet, read or watch anything by Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit.  So, if you really want to stop terrorism, elect a libertarian, because mainstream parties will never change anything.
+Andrew Harrell This is about the law, not about what is technically possible. I'd say breaking into a house is still a lot easier than breaking into modern PC hardware. That does not mean that we should not expect privacy and safety in our own homes.

But just as when you are living in a crime ridden neighborhood, you might wont to get extra locks, it makes sense for google to encrypt traffic when we live in a world where government can not be trusted.
Ed Dich
Well then the government will plant an employee inside google, won't it? 
Ed, have you ever seen them play "spot the fed" at DEF CON? They nearly always find them.
Everyone seems so shocked and horrified to learn that the NSA is accessing and scanning digital communications.  That is exactly what you would expect from an intelligence organisation.  They would be negligent, in an era where all information is digitized and transmitted over the Internet, and stored in massive Google and Facebook databases, if they were NOT eavesdropping/scanning these sources.

People are happy to give their personal information to Google, Facebook, etc., and other corporations who actively, and proudly, exploit it for profit.  If these corporations are welcome to scan it why can't the NSA?  Who do you think is hunting terrorists while you are at home playing computer games and "twittering" yourself.   Neither I, nor anyone I have ever met, been harassed, or even contacted, by the NSA.  Have you?  If this happens, with no justification, then sure - go to the media and they will publish a damning story.   If not, be happy that the NSA is doing their job and, yes, they are on your side.
Ed Dich
It's not so much about "hunting terrorists" but more putting the "terrorist" label here and there, so that you, common citizen, get terrified and stop noticing their little and big games of screwing around for oil and money for their very private and very thick pockets. If you truly believe they're on your side then they've achieved their goals!
Remember that time America didn't have a KGB AND an SS?
Hi, I would appreciate an other opinion in a case on something we all working on IT should be ware of (politics, police and intelligence committing crimes). Please do have a look at Facebook under 'Finland Unrevealed'. Should be seen outside Finland (blocked), if not then use proxy. Sincerely, Åke Tyvi Ps. These people 'fuck up' differently!
O K I will try to sum it up for you.

There is a point here everyone seem to be missing. Google's private fiber network is a trunk. Think of the CPU power required to sift that huge data WAVE. Only a big group like Google or a government could pull it off. I might be wrong but if You tap a major Google or yahoo trunk fiber don't you have to replicate to some degree the data handling ability of that network even to read the recording of the taped data what like 500 TB a min. or more?

So either Google already knew all its data was getting sucked up and did not bother with the traffic overhead encryption would cause on the "private network".

Or Google expected the Governments to follow laws and not search All data with out a warrant from the secret fisa court LOL.

I bet Google all ready knew the data was taped and this is all just PR 

To Bad dude this is just PR Google is in bed with NSA and NSA = Full access to 90% of all fiber traffic world wide.

So what hobbit novel does my view reflect I wonder.
I like Americans I know many of them but in the end America is a complicated country with positives and negatives. I love my American friends but they don't realize the reason America has a target on its back is a large number of Americans are arrogant and self-centered and think they're better than others. being raised in a society with freedom and empowerment it's easy to overlook the advantages you have despite what ever condition you may be living in.
no government is perfect, no country is perfect and no person is perfect.
The American Declaration of Independence represents a country founded on the ideas that if something is not working you can make it work.
You can complain about them monitoring you but they're just trying to do what they think is best as your elected officials to maintain a standard of living the American civilians have been accustomed too.
Google is an idea that was founded in created and developed and exists in cyberspace and in peoples minds. just an international organize station and there may be tons of hard-working people who have dedicated their lives to it, but if it disappeared from the face of this planet no one would truly miss it. in the end it would be replaced.
America is a country that exists in a physical reality and has people living in it. safety of America is more important than the safety of Google.
if the American government was paying your paycheck and you were dedicated to them you would be on the other side.
i'm not trying to knock the hard work you say you've done in the last 10 years. maybe you should look back at the history of mankind and the different levels of freedom we have had at different periods, or look at some of the other countries that exist in present-day society.
because if you feel your freedoms are being infrindged upon and that you are being treated fairly?!
we live in very modern times, The power of the people can move mountains if they come together in an organized and intelligent manner, rather than an unruly mob or mass of individuals.
Where are our Martin Luther's and Pope John Paul's?
where is the next generation of leaders who will provide society with the morales and guidance that is required to overcome and endure the challenges of tomorrow?
I believe that there is good inside of every person but sometimes people forget themselves due to their experiences and outlook.
we can always re-educate ourselves and learn more about the world around us and other people and try to have a better understanding of the reality we live in.
I hope that anyone who reads the initial posting of the gentleman at Google and my posting considers the following.
there are many hard-working individuals at Google who have done their best to provide excellence to all of its users.
but in the end all of us no matter what color of skin religion or country that you come from, just want to be safe.
and if anyone thinks the NSA is somehow trying to profit or endanger anyone by listening into conversations.. honestly why would you feel that way unless you actually had something to hide?
in the end I appreciate Google despite the fact that I curse your name every day for some of the search results i get.. The mapping you have done of our planet and other things have been amazing.
in the end you have satellites the NSA has satellites.
you have websites the NSA has websites.
you have money and power the NSA has money and power.
Google and its affiliates have videos which feature adult situations such as anything and everything from weapons training to make your own Hammocks or other devices.
again no matter where you live if you can't realize why the NSA would want to want to monitor that kind of activity you're naïve.
truth is the American government is pretty upfront about certain things and they probably wouldn't try to get away with that without being honest about it.
I understand where you're coming from and the points you're trying to make but in the end I think that you should just try to do your job and maybe cooperate with them or ignore them.
If you've been working for Google for 10 years and have the freedom to rant on the Internet about how you feel your freedoms are being "infringed" upon.. you're obviously doing okay.
maybe you should try to look at the world in a more positive way because everything has a negative and positive side. if you can't see a positive to something it's because you're not looking at something creatively enough.
happy new year good luck in your job and I hope everyone stays safe.
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