Skip to main content

Google May Team With Top U.S. Spy Agency

Google and NSA
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Internet giant Google may be teaming up with the U.S. top spy agency, the National Security Agency (NSA) to investigate the recent cyberattack that targeted Google’s operations in China. The move would not be without some irony: Google’s “don’t be evil” corporate motto and long-established efforts to protect user privacy would seem to be at odds with an agency that may operate the largest electronic and communications surveillance operations on the planet—including warrantless wiretapping under President George W. Bush.

According to a report in the Washington Post and elsewhere, the proposed agreement would see the NSA assisting Google in analyzing the so-called “Operation Aurora” attach that targeted its systems in China (along with computer systems of other companies operating in China) with an eye towards securing systems from future attack. The NSA would reportedly not be giving access to search data, user email accounts, or other materials that would compromise the privacy of Google users’ communications; the NSA would also not have access to Google’s proprietary data.

Although most of the NSA’s operations remain classified, the agency is widely believed to engage in mammoth amounts of transactional data mining, including analysis of Internet searches, email exchanges, funds transfers, credit card transactions, in addition to old standbys like telephone records. The ostensible purpose of the NSA is to obtain foreign intelligence related to military operations or U.S. national security.

If a deal gets worked out between Google and the NSA, the focus of the effort would apparently not be on identifying who was responsible for carrying out the recent cyberattacks against Google, but in hardening Google and others against similar attacks. VeriSign’s iDefense Labs has reported that it believes the attack on Google was carried out by “intelligence entities” operating in China, meaning either the Chinese government itself or third parties operating on its behalf.

Editors' Recommendations

Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
Google just made this vital Gmail security tool completely free
The top corner of Gmail on a laptop screen.

Hackers are constantly trying to break into large websites to steal user databases, and it’s not entirely unlikely that your own login details have been leaked at some point in the past. In cases like that, upgrading your password is vital, but how can you do that if you don’t even know your data has been hacked?

Well, Google thinks it has the answer because it has just announced that it will roll out dark web monitoring reports to every Gmail user in the U.S. This handy feature was previously limited to paid Google One subscribers, but the company revealed at its Google I/O event that it will now be available to everyone, free of charge.

Read more
Google’s ChatGPT rival is an ethical mess, say Google’s own workers
ChatGPT versus Google on smartphones.

Google launched Bard, its ChatGPT rival, despite internal concerns that it was a “pathological liar” and produced “cringeworthy” results, a new report has claimed. Worker say these worries were apparently ignored in a frantic attempt to catch up with ChatGPT and head off the threat it could pose to Google’s search business.

The revelations come from a Bloomberg report that took a deep dive into Google Bard and the issues raised by employees who have worked on the project. It’s an eye-opening account of the ways the chatbot has apparently gone off the rails and the misgivings these incidents have raised among concerned workers.

Read more
Check your inbox — Google may have invited you to use Bard, its ChatGPT rival
ChatGPT versus Google on smartphones.

AI chatbots have been the subject of much public fascination as of late, with the likes of ChatGPT continuously making headlines. But now, Google is finally getting in on the trend by soft-launching Bard for select Pixel users.

Bard is Google's AI chatbot that was previously unavailable to the public, but according to a report from 9to5Google, the company is inviting some of its most loyal and dedicated customers to give it a try.

Read more