Google appears to have a relationship with the NSA, the National Security Agency.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 2010 to get the government to supply documents on this connection. The government is refusing to cooperate. So, the group is suing in federal court.
A U.S. District Judge sided with the government last July. Now the case will be considered by the D.C. Circuit Court (March 20).
EPIC asked for, among other things, communication between the NSA and Google about Gmail and Google’s “decision to fail to routinely encrypt” messages before Jan. 13, 2010.
The NSA’s response to the request for records noted that the agency “works with a broad range of commercial partners and research associations” to ensure the availability of secure information systems. The agency, however, refused to confirm or deny any partnership with Google.
Why would NSA have anything to do with Google? To spy on people? Oh, no. Not that. It merely monitors Google to make sure that the government’s use of Google is not at risk from malicious intrusion by the public. It’s a national security issue. The NSA is defending national security.
EPIC’s attorneys, including Marc Rotenberg, the group’s president, said in court papers that the document request includes records that are not relevant to the NSA’s information assurance mission.
“The NSA mischaracterizes EPIC’s FOIA Request by stating that responsive documents would reveal ‘information about a potential Google-NSA relationship,’” Rotenberg said. . . .
EPIC said its records request does not seek documents about NSA’s role to secure government computer networks. “Google provides cloud-based services to consumers, not critical infrastructure services to the government,” Rotenberg said.
The NSA can find anything it wants to find. But, as with all digital searches, it costs NSA to do this. The cheaper it can do this, the more money it can spend extending its mission in other areas not yet covered. It therefore resists intrusion into its shortcuts.