Most people interested in Information Security have heard about the attacks last month originating from China. A posting in the original Google Blog says “at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors–have been similarly targeted.” There is also a long history between Google and China that has lead up to this attack. As reaction to this attack, Google lifted the censorship on select content it was filtering for their version of the search engine in China. I am glad that Google did this, and I don’t think they should have been filtering any content for them in the first place like they have been doing since January 2006, but that one is a separate issue. What this is really all about, is how it is leading to a partnership between Google and the NSA. Google is teaming up with the NSA to investigate into this attack, and I am having a hard time accepting their decision.
Until this deal has been wide out in the open about what is really going on, I am going to just assume that there is a lot of garbage going on under the table. Neither the NSA or Google really have much to say about the deal, and Google only says it needs aid from the expertise of the NSA to help them strengthen their network security. I don’t claim to be an economist, but the unemployment rate has skyrocketed over 10%, why doesn’t Google just buy out some established network security companies? I am sure these companies would love to be bought by Google, and it will help then strengthen their network security like they want. Surely they can find the expertise they are looking for in many many security companies out there. Their decision to seek the aid of a government agency means there could be other motives to this partnership.
The problem is that right now Google is just asking for the aid of the NSA, so what is in it for the NSA? The relationship wouldn’t be mutually beneficial the way it stands. All I want is to see an invoice from the NSA to Google for the work they will be doing together and I will be happy. If Google doesn’t have to pay for their services, there might be an exchange of personal information for the services, or the U.S citizens are paying for the time and resources used by the NSA to aid Google.
I am not denying that there are benefits to this partnership, because there definitely are. I do understand that the partnership will increase the overall national security we have as a country, but I also understand that I will only cautiously be using many Google services in the future because I can’t trust that Google’s databases haven’t become NSA data mines. The only way I can convince myself that this union will be beneficial is that there is much more to the attack then what Google is telling, and that this could be just a start to a high level national security problem.