Google Opens Up Some More: The 'Secret' Computer System It Uses To Give Info To NSA Is Secure FTP (Techdirt)
Wednesday June 12th, 2013
Google is continuing to open up about the supposed "secret" program by which it hands data over to the NSA that has been subject to so much attention over the last week. And, once again, the story seems to be less than what was originally reported. Google's now said that when it receives a valid FISA order for information, the "secret" computer system it uses to get the required info to the NSA isn't some crazy server setup or dropbox... but secure FTP.
Instead the company transmits FISA information the old fashioned way: by hand, or over secure FTP. However, the company does say that the government has asked for more, but that Google has refused.
“When required to comply with these requests, we deliver that information to the US government — generally through secure FTP transfers and in person,” Google spokesman Chris Gaither told Wired. “The US government does not have the ability to pull that data directly from our servers or network.”
“We refuse to participate in any program — for national security or other reasons — that requires us to provide governments with access to our systems or to install their equipment on our networks,” he said. “We have been asked to do things in the past and we have declined.” It's increasingly beginning to appear like the terminology used in the leaked PowerPoint presentation was not as clear as it should be, concerning the level of the NSA's integration with Google (and, perhaps, other companies).
This does not mean that there aren't significant questions about what kinds of data and how much data is requested via FISA orders, but that puts the issue right back to the government. The specifics of how tech companies are handing legally required data over to the NSA seems like much less of an issue than the breadth of the government's requests (and the non-PRISM request for all phone call records).