I'm not sure what the details of this PRISM program are, but I can tell you that the only way in which Google reveals information about users are when we receive lawful, specific orders about individuals -- things like search warrants. And we continue to stand firm against any attempts to do so broadly or without genuine, individualized suspicion, and publicize the results as much as possible in our Transparency Report. Having seen much of the internals of how we do this, I can tell you that it is a point of pride, both for the company and for many of us, personally, that we stand up to governments that demand people's information.
I can also tell you that the suggestion that PRISM involved anything happening directly inside our datacenters surprised me a great deal; owing to the nature of my work at Google over the past decade, it would have been challenging -- not impossible, but definitely a major surprise -- if something like this could have been done without my ever hearing of it. And I can categorically state that nothing resembling the mass surveillance of individuals by governments within our systems has ever crossed my plate.
If it had, even if I couldn't talk about it, in all likelihood I would no longer be working at Google: the fact that we do stand up for individual users' privacy and protection, for their right to have a personal life which is not ever shared with other people without their consent, even when governments come knocking at our door with guns, is one of the two most important reasons that I am at this company: the other being a chance to build systems which fundamentally change and improve the lives of billions of people by turning the abstract power of computing into something which amplifies and expands their individual, mental life.
Whatever the NSA was doing involving the mass harvesting of information, it did not involve being on the inside of Google. And I, personally, am by now disgusted with their conduct: the national security apparatus has convinced itself and the rest of the government that the only way it can do its job is to know everything about everyone. That's not how you protect a country. We didn't fight the Cold War just so we could rebuild the Stasi ourselves.
I think that I'm going to start stressing our work in this space more. We do a lot in DC and in the courts to try to change how patents are handled in America. I think that if we spread the word a bit more, we can find people, open source people, hackers, non-googlers, who align with us and more importantly, where we align with them and work together to change things in non-geologic time.
Companies like Red Hat have been great, but it's time for citizens of the united states to realize that high costs on civilization that patent trolls, and other bad actors, have levied on american and international progress. I mean, if people really realized how much they pay on a daily basis to service BS patents, I would think they would be able to muster a formidable amount of outrage and would act.
I'd go so far as to say the average american family pays more on patent service costs on a given day than they do on electricity, but that might be slightly off, I'd need to do the math on that a bit more carefully. Not as much as they do on gas, for sure, but it's non-trivial.
For instance, Depending on which smartphone you carry, there's up to 50$ at acquisition and some monthly carry that you pay through higher costs for your carrier, app purchases and less tangibles effects like less efficient battery charging costs, time spent when your phone 'works around' patented techniques, etc..
Anyhow, like I said, I need to do the math, but I think that patents have become a kind of shadow tax on Americans that needs to be addressed and soon for the drag on the economy that it is.
- Software Engineer in Test, present
- University of HoustonIT Manager
- NASA/MEI TechnologiesIT Security Analyst
- University of Texas at AustinMBA, 2005 - 2007
- Baylor UniversityBS, Computer Science, 1998 - 2001
- Westlake High School1994 - 1998
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