This is the big story in tech today: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-infiltrates-links-to-yahoo-google-data-centers-worldwide-snowden-documents-say/2013/10/30/e51d661e-4166-11e3-8b74-d89d714ca4dd_story.html
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
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: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-09-06/business/41831756_1_encryption-data-centers-intelligence-agencies #nsa #surveillancestate