Group Calls for Hearings Into Google’s Ties to CIA and NSA
More information has emerged about Google’s relationship with the government and spook agencies (see PR Newswire below). The revelations should come as no surprise.
In 2006, Robert David Steele, a 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer and a former clandestine services case officer with the CIA, told the Alex Jones Show that the CIA helped bankroll Google at its inception. “I think Google took money from the CIA when it was poor and it was starting up and unfortunately our system right now floods money into spying and other illegal and largely unethical activities, and it doesn’t fund what I call the open source world,” said Steele, citing “trusted individuals” as his sources.
Google is a key intelligence asset. It has supplied the core search technology for Intellipedia, a highly-secured online CIA system and has shared a close relationship with both the CIA, NSA, and government national security officials.
In February, it was reported that Google and the NSA have forged a partnership after Google purportedly suffered a cyberattack in December. “This is not the first time the NSA has been tapped to help a U.S. corporation with cyber security, but the purported partnership would certainly be unique since Google’s servers house such a vast collection of user data including search histories, email, and personal documents,” reports.
“Google’s connection with the CIA and its venture capital firm extends to sharing at least one key member of personnel. In 2004, the Director of Technology Assessment at In-Q-Tel, Rob Painter, moved from his old job directly serving the CIA to become ‘Senior Federal Manager’ at Google.,” writes Eric Sommer.
In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm established by the CIA, also had a hand in creating the wildly popular social network Facebook. “The second round of funding into Facebook ($US12.7 million) came from venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its manager James Breyer was formerly chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, and served on the board with Gilman Louie, CEO of In-Q-Tel,” writes Matt Greenop.
Thus it should not be shocking that Google executives are holding meetings with U.S. national security officials for undisclosed reasons, according to the Washington Post, itself a prized CIA asset under the venerable Operation Mockingbird media asset program.
Google insists its vacuuming up of WiFi network data as it gathered images for its Streetview program was a mistake, even though information “published Jan. 28 shows that the data collection program was a very deliberate effort to assemble as much information as possible about U.S. residential and business WiFi networks,” according to the press release below.
SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Citing new information about Google’s classified government contracts and the Internet giant’s admitted Wi-Spying activity, Consumer Watchdog today said it is more imperative than ever for the Energy and Commerce Committee to conduct hearings into possible privacy violations by Google.
In a letter to Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Member Joe Barton, the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group’s John M. Simpson wrote:
“Based on today’s Washington Post, it appears that Google holds classified U.S. government contracts to supply search and geospatial information to the U.S. government. In addition, White House records show that Google executives have been holding meetings with U.S. national security officials for undisclosed reasons. Finally, it also appears that Google’s widely criticized efforts to collect wireless network data on American citizens were not inadvertent, contrary to the company’s claims.”
“As history has repeatedly shown, alliances between the U.S. intelligence community and giant corporations that collect data on American citizens can be a toxic combination where the U.S. Constitution is concerned,” the letter said.
In a June 9 letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee, Google director for public policy Pablo Chavez asserted that Google “mistakenly included code in our software that collected samples of ‘payload data’” from private WiFi networks. But review of a patent application from Google covering the gathering of WiFi data published Jan. 28 shows that the data collection program was a very deliberate effort to assemble as much information as possible about U.S. residential and business WiFi networks.
The letter continued:
“…what the patent does show is that Google’s recent claims about how the Street View program was designed are not accurate, and that the company always intended to collect and store the ‘packets’ of wireless data that contain so-called payload information.
“The patent makes repeated reference to ‘capturing’ packets, including paragraph , which states that the system will enable geolocations so long as the equipment being used ‘is able to capture and properly decode a packet…’
“This raises serious questions about whether Google has engaged in a reckless effort to amass private data without giving any thought to the possible misuse of that information, and whether it can be trusted to safeguard the information it collects from the prying eyes of the U.S. government.”
Read the patent here: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/US20100020776.pdf
Read the letter here: http://insidegoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/LtrWaxman071910.pdf
In addition, White House visitor logs show that Alan Davidson, Google’s Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, has had at least three meetings with officials of the National Security Council since the beginning of last year. One of the meetings was with White House senior director for Russian affairs Mike McFaul, while another was with Middle East advisor Daniel Shapiro.
It has also been widely reported that Google has been working in “partnership” with the National Security Agency, the very same government body that illegally intercepted the private communications of millions of Americans during the Bush administration.
Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca. Consumer Watchdog’s website is www.consumerwatchdog.org. Visit our new Google Privacy and Accountability Project website: http://insidegoogle.com.