back to article Furious Google techie on NSA snooping: 'F*CK THESE GUYS'

Eric Schmidt's indignation over the NSA's reported spying on links between Google's data centres pales in comparison to the righteous indignation of his engineers. The latest leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden provide evidence that Google and Yahoo! data centre interconnects were being tapped by the NSA's spies, as part of …

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Edward Snowden should get a goddamn Nobel prize.

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He can get the peace prize if he just drone strikes a few kids or something.

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Meh

"...laws are for the little people..."

They always have been.

The laws are the systems sheepdog.

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Re: "...laws are for the little people..."

Oddly enough, the US was designed with the majority of the Constitution being written as a way of legally restraining the 'big people'. Government overreach by the English is what started the whole mess and the idea was to prevent such a thing from occurring again. It's the little people in big people shoes that have fucked it all up.

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Black Helicopters

Re: "...laws are for the little people..."

Quite right. From what I see of it, the little people in government in the US have sold themselves out big time and the US is suffering the result as the big cats rake it all in and determine the way the law will go. The only difference I see here between the US and the UK is that the US end of it has had a lot more press so far and more has been found out.

It's only a matter of time...

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Re: "...laws are for the little people..."

I think the real problem is that in the 21st century, hardly anyone in the Western world has really experienced real hard, violent, obvious oppression.

The oppressors these days are much more subtle. Their oppression comes bit by bit, inch by inch so that you don't realise that it's there until its too late.

More and more it seems to me that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" is rather relevant here. The most telling thing is when you hear a politician say "Freedom is important, but....". Freedom is an absolute. You're either free or you're not.

If you've never experienced lack of freedom, then freedom seems to hold little value. I just hope that people wake up to realise what is going on before we need a revolution to set things right.

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Re: "...laws are for the little people..."

germany not a western country? google stasi.

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Terminator

Re: "...laws are for the little people..."

The author makes it sound like we in the US are happy with this NSA and "Homeland Security"! We have been bitching about it every since the Homeland Security Act of 2002. We didn't need it, we didn't want it, it wasn't necessary to stop terrorism. Just a simple legal tweak of interdepartmental communication was all that was needed - but even that idea would need an oversight committee.

It is the myopic media over here that makes it look like we are happy with our gubbamint dupes! You could scream all day, but no one would listen until this Snowden thing - I am beginning to think he does deserve not only the Nobel prize but the President's Medal of Freedom, just for shining a search light on the subject! Ironic that Obama would give out that one, as he sees him as a pure traitor! I feel his revaluations are more important than whether it is traitorous or not - Is throwing away our rights worth marching in lock step with government over-reach? NOT IN MY BOOK!

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Big Brother

Re: "...laws are for the little people..."

Don Jefe, I suggest that if you look more closely, you will find that the US Constitution was designed mainly to keep the «little people» from getting out of hand. (Some of) the big people in the colonies did, of course, want the British off their backs, but they certainly didn't want the little people to have too much to say in running the government, which is why the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (sounds grand, doesn't it ?), which didn't reserve sufficient power to the central government to make its writ felt throughout the country, in particular in circumstances like Shay's Rebellion, were abandoned and a new constitution adopted....

Henri

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Big Brother

Pot, kettle, black?

It must be really frustrating for Google to find out that their monopoly on our personal information has been broken.

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Re: Pot, kettle, black?

Indeed! If it hadn't been collected, their links wouldn't be tapped. There is (at least in theory) a possibility of oversight of the governmental bodies. Unlike Google.

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Re: Pot, kettle, black?

Quote

I've spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google's users safe and secure from the many diverse threats Google faces.

Shouldn't that be...

I've spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google's users safe and secure so that they can receive the deluge of adverts we want to give them therefore maximizing my income.

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Re: Pot, kettle, black?

I've spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google's users safe and secure so that they can receive the deluge of adverts we want to give them therefore maximizing my income meanwhile keeping nosy busybody jobsworths like bored NSA agents out of OUR systems and data as well as protecting our users from this evil that the government keeps trying to brainwash you that THEY are the good guys, um NO.

We're the good guys, the NSA do NOT have the motto "Do no evil" WE DO!

FTFY.

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Re: Pot, kettle, black?

"It must be really frustrating for Google to find out that their monopoly on our personal information has been broken."

You have the option to not use google, so if you don't like anything they do, then don't bloody use it. The NSA on the other hand isn't giving anyone a choice in matters, I know which one I'd be more apt to bitch about. Hint: It's not google.

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Re: Pot, kettle, black?

Actually you have to be obsessively careful NOT to use google knowingly or unknowingly,especially if you're not technically skilled, with their ad brokerage it's rather difficult not to hit any of their hosts and get cookie tracked around.

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Re: Pot, kettle, black?

"You have the option to not use google,"

Don't most websites use GoogleAnalytics ? I'm no expert here but im pretty sure that between Google and Akamai most of the web is covered.

And the NSA are just doing the same as every other Govt on the planet is doing. AND they're only doing it because we asked them to.

Public: Dear Govt, we want you to stop the bad guys.

Govt: Umm, ok but you know I'll have to find out what they're doing to stop them right ?

Public: sure whatever...

Govt: And you know some of you are actually bad guys right? and its hard for us to tell the diffrence unless we check ?

Public: yeah whatever...shhh... simpsons is on.

Govt: ok... checking now...

Public: WTF OMG the govt is Spying on ME ?!? What happened ? How dare they !

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Re: Pot, kettle, black?

@ShadowedOne,

"You have the option to not use google, so if you don't like anything they do, then don't bloody use it. ”

Right, but that means you can't send email to anyone with a Gmail account, you can't browse most websites, and now you can't even phone someone with an Android 4.4 mobile.

Because if you do any of these things Google are tracking you, they know your name, address, phone number, they know what you look at and who you know and what you're sending to them. They'll even know get SSID of your home wifi. And they do all this even though you have never ever ticked a box accepting terms and conditions on Google's websites. They do all this because someone else you know has ticked that box.

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Boffin

Re: Pot, kettle, black?

MostlyCommonSense, have you ever heard of NoScript ? DoNotTrackMe ? I presume you do not run a Windows OS on your computer....

Henri

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Mindboggling

How do the NSA manage to hide the resources ( hardware + flesh) that are required to stock all of this information? This must take huge amounts of processing power, they must have their own seperate power grid.

I can't even begin to imagine the storage + indexing facilites that would be necessary in order capture Googles data, Providers data, Telco data, World VIPs data (ok the last one is small). There must be literally thousands of people working in these facilities. The NSA make the stazi look like absolute amateurs.

How the fuck do these people sleep at night....

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Re: Mindboggling

"How do the NSA manage to hide the resources ( hardware + flesh) that are required to stock all of this information? This must take huge amounts of processing power, they must have their own seperate power grid."

Yes: It does. Why else do you think they've been buying massive supercomputers for thirty years? What else did you think they were doing with it? They are currently doing this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

This is nothing new and the information has been in the public domain for quite a while. It's just that seemingly nobody gave a sh!t beforehand.

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Holmes

Re: Mindboggling

It's easy - Area 41. All that alien BS was just a cover-up. Hey, someone stole my tin hat!

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Re: Mindboggling

You're joking right? They get $10 billion a year in funding, they have 4 major data centers, soon to be 5. The 5th alone likely has Gigabytes of data on everyone. Nothing to do with terrorism (only a $20 million program) nothing to do with catching pedos ($0 budget for that), just the usual spying on foreign powers an attempting to bend their political machines to US interests.

Which apparently is where we are at in the UK.

What upsets Google is that the FISA court wouldn't grant the spooks permission to tap their network, so they tapped it off-shore, and with the help of GCHQ. Claiming that FISA court didn't have jurisdiction so it doesn't need to ask. So spooks claim that no court has jurisdiction over them for that surveillance.

So where the (blank) is the judicial checks on any of that? Because that's mostly US data in those wires. Also what the (blank) did GCHQ think they were doing? UK data is in those wires too, since when has it been OK to spy on Britain for a foreign power?

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Re: Mindboggling

Area 41? Now you've let the cat aout of the bag; we never even knew about this one!

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Big Brother

@Khaptain - Re: Mindboggling

"How the fuck do these people sleep at night...."

They just tell themselves they're keeping America safe for Truth, Justice and Mom's Apple Pie! (And if they have to piss all over the Constitution and every Right their people have in order to do it, well, that's just the Price of Freedom...

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Re: Mindboggling

@ Khaptain,

It's easy. It's called "taking a percentage off the top of the world's largest economy". And it's not like Fort Meade and other major U.S. NSA sites are invisible. You'll just get arrested or maybe shot if you try to enter one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mindboggling

The UK has been a prostitute country to foreign interests for far too long.

When does the coup start? Oh yeah it's not English to have one of those

No revolutions please, we're British.

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Anonymous Coward

"How the fuck do these people sleep at night...."

Shockingly, they focus on keeping their bosses happy. They stay in the here and now. They don't ask difficult questions, they don't rock the boat. Just 'keep em happy upstairs', 'look out for your own skin'!

It reminds me of the atrocities committed during the reign of the Nazis. Otherwise caring and nurturing Nurses / Doctors were known to smother / overdose patients that were deemed unworthy.....

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Re: "How the fuck do these people sleep at night...."

>Otherwise caring and nurturing Nurses / Doctors were known to smother / overdose patients that were deemed unworthy.....

The question forebades: What was a worthy patient ?

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Re: Mindboggling

The NSA isn't even trying to hide its data centers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

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Anonymous Coward

Room 641

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Anonymous Coward

I've worked for interesting companies before now and when I (as their security lead) pointed out that there was highly sensitive data passing over an unencrypted leased link there wasn't an appetite to fix it. I doubt that this is an "oversight" its much more likely to be an error in risk judgement.

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People tend to think of fibre as untappable, or at least practically speaking untappable.

The analysis would be different if state actors were included, but I'm assuming most people figured outside states couldn't get the resources in and the local state isn't that much of a dick. Oops.

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Anonymous Coward

Back in the 90's I worked on a network upgrade for an ISP in Sweden and part of it was in a military base in Malmo. We were told we couldn't use fibre and must use copper because they couldn't tap fibre at that point in time.

They made no secret of tapping the connections wholesale.

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The real problem is the people of the US

Not all of them, but enough.

The NSA, CIA, and other agencies in the US get away with this king of stuff because there is still a large number of people in the US who think it is right. They still believe that all this stuff the US government are doing is fine because of the War On Stuff! When questioned about it normally reasonable people will argue that the US must do these things to protect itself, and will point that it is only terrorists that are affected (because everyone picked up and flown to some hellhole outside US jurisdiction, to avoid the US court system must be a terrorist).

When questioned about the fact that stuff is illegal under US law they say US law dose not apply to non US citizens. When questioned about the fact that some of it is illegal under international law, or law of other countries they switch to saying that those laws are not part of US law so do not apply to the Us agents. When it is pointed out that other countries do not do these things they witter on about being the only superpower and having an obligation to protect the world and when pointed to the fact that the world would like them to leave it alone, and that they cause the problems, they go on about how the US must protect itself.

The US government and peoples (As a group, not necessarily as individuals) moral compass is broken, yet no one dare stand up to them.

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Flame

Re: The real problem is the people of the US

"When questioned about the fact that stuff is illegal under US law they say US law dose not apply to non US citizens"

Putting to a side for a moment the wrinkles about NSA's jurisdiction or lack thereof over data of non-US citizens, it seems that the NSA are hoovering up all Google's data. They aren't filtering out data from US citizens and on US soil, therefore they are automatically and unequivocally breaking not only the law but the US constitutional amendment against unwarranted search and seizure.

As Google's techies point out, there already is a clear and fair legal procedure to get warrants to collect data on known and identified suspects. There is also an opaque and unfair (but at least established in law, however dodgy and potentially unconstitutional) procedure to ask Google for any part of their data while preventing Google from even mentioning that this programme exists. To go even beyond that and tap Google's interconnects is clearly illegal even under the provisions of the Patriot act and all related dictator-state legislation.

As Google's techies also point out, the chances of anyone involved in the decision-making on this (ie someone high up in the command chain who actually gave the order, not the poor sods on the front line) ever being even indicted for this, let alone arrested / prosecuted / jailed are effectively zero. Same as the CIA torture programme, government makes it's own laws, and when even that is not enough it breaks them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The real problem is the people of the US

I live in Kentucky, of all places, the state responsible for electing Mitch McConnell to the Senate 80 years or so in a row (he flip flops on everything and seems to agree with anything that's currently popular, no matter his previous sentiments), and no one I know is okay with all this spying. It's become a running joke among friends and family that we could just ask the government whenever we forget something.

The problem is that there's nothing we can really do. We've adopted a defeatist attitude overall because the government has stopped serving its people, and no one who could actually fix the problem ever gets his or her voice heard. Existing politicians have made sure to maintain the status quo and will do so until the economy crashes entirely, it seems.

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Re: The real problem is the people of the US

AC, good luck, and hope it goes well.

Admittedly the people I have spoken too are current or ex military (Mostly USMC) or older more right wing GoP supporters, but not full on teabagers. There are defiantly many people desenting voices, but unfortunately too much mid ground apathy or acceptance along with a large minority who think it is right. Just not enough people who are angry enough to tell them it is wrong.

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Holmes

Re: The real problem is the people of the US

LazyLazyman:

You're being lazy in pointing at Americans, especially considering that the GCHQ seems to be initiating plenty of these programs (Including MUSCULAR) in defense of Queen and country.

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Re: The real problem is the people of the US

GCHQ's involvement, however, has defiantly been much more gray area, and where there has been questions about what GCHQ & SIS have done there has at least been a show of indignation by the government. Even in those gray areas they have had not been involved in the kidnap, rendition and torture of hundreds, possibly thousands, of people or the repeated state sponsored murder and completely ignoring sovereign rights of countries.

We may not be perfect, but we do respect international law and at least try and address questionable or illegal activity, where as the US argue they are right.

Some may argue some of the noise around taking action where GCHQ and SIS have strayed on to iffy ground is just show, but unfortunately we won't know for sure for 75 years. At least we are doing something and saying it is wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The real problem is the people of the US

"When it is pointed out that other countries do not do these things they witter on about being the only superpower and having an obligation to protect the world and when pointed to the fact that the world would like them to leave it alone, and that they cause the problems, they go on about how the US must protect itself."

I'll say that I do not want to fight wars for other nations, especially for nations that hate me and would cheer my death.

Whenever the USA tries to stay out of a conflict, nothing happens to stop the conflict. Look at the most recent example - Syria. It is in Europe's backyard and the only country willing to stand up and use force to stop chemical weapons from being used was France. Not the powerful Germans or British, but the French! I'll say it again. THE. FRENCH. That would be like Canada stepping up to stop a conflict while the US can't be bothered with it. Do you think Assad would have stopped using chemical weapons if the USA and France didn't threaten to rain hell down on him?

What happens when feces hits the fan and people start dying? They come to the USA with their hands out begging for help. Should we just turn our backs and say it's not our problem?

If Europe would take care of it's area, while China and Russia take care of their areas then the US wouldn't need to step in everywhere and defend the world.

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Anonymous Coward

"The problem is that there's nothing we can really do."

Yes there is, you did it in the 18th century.

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You can't blame us this time!

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So Google is rich enough to actually take on the US and UK government..... When does the blah blah blah stop from the CEO and some legal action begin?

Otherwise it's all just some bullshit pronouncements

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"If only Google's legal team were[sic] as angry as Google's security engineers,"

Google's legal team probably knows where far too many bodies are buried, and is keeping its heads well down. Stones, glass houses, and all that.

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Executives and Lawyers

'Too bad Googles legal team isn't mad'.

That's a stupid statement. Legal teams can't go off throwing sueballs at whoever pisses them off. They're employees (or contractors) just like anyone else. The filing of lawsuits against your home country's government without orders is most certainly exceeding your mandate and arguably your ethical boundaries as a lawyer (they have professional ethics standards, moral ethics are debatable). Filing lawsuits because you feel like it is the domain of tort lawyers.

The lack of legal response paints the true picture, that the execs aren't that upset by all this. If they were then we'd see an overwhelming legal response, but it would be ordered, not an emotional response from a lawyer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Executives and Lawyers

Not only that, but the stark reality is that the only thing that pissed them off was what happened through the backdoor. They're keeping very quiet (as they are legally required to do) about just how much legal leverage any official has walking through the front door and asking for data, and THAT is where the real problem lies.

The US government has spent the last few years quietly giving itself powers to grab anything it jolly well pleases without any checks, supervision or responsibility for those who avail themselves of those laws. Thanks to the NSA affair, people are waking up to the illegal stuff, but it gets much much more scary when you look at what they can do legally. That's not something than can be fixed overnight, and the whole of Silicon Valley is praying we forget about that.

As far as I can tell from the EU, that ain't gonna happen.

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Some of the "Security Community's" arguments remind of a wondeful peace of graffiti.

"Fighting for Peace is like fucking for virginity" I think substituting "war on terror" works just as well.

As always the strong religious beliefs of some US Citizens, backed up by their national sense of divine right and their poor understanding of others, leads to an insular state of mind and paranoia. So the perceived threat is exagerrated and used to justify any response.

Then we have the Tea Party Nuts espousing freedom for all, unless of course you're a woman, a foreigner or a socialist (i.e a democrat in the rest of the west.) But at least you'll be free to carry a gun...

Can you imagine the response if Pakistan flew a UAV over the US\CANADA border ready to take out migrating Geese before they radicalise Floridas flamingoes..

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The real question now is how secure TLS is....

I'm betting our short-cut making friends at Fort Meade/Cheltenham/etc. have well-established programs to compromise one or more certificate authorities. Having co-opted the major social media/internet services companies through secret warrants, and then watered down or infiltrated security standards-setting, and then tapping data in flight, a move on the CAs makes sense. It's the missing piece and our SigInt overlords seem to be very thorough in their multi-pronged effort to obviate security for the rest of us

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The real question now is how secure TLS is....

re: "have well-established programs to compromise one or more certificate authorities"

Verisign (former SSL - now symantec) joined the 'non-organisation' ILETS quite early-on, but lets look at Versisign (who run some of the internets' root name servers etc)

quote http://cryptome.org/2012/09/frost-spy-market.pdf "Carriers are currently facing CALEA costs between $50,000 up to $500,000 per switch to become CALEA compliant and to adhere to the six mandated "Punch List" items. VeriSign works closely with the FBI CIS, the FCC, numerous LEAs, and a number of CALEA standard bodies and organizations to remain proactive and educated on the latest legal, operational, and technical CALEA requirements."

quote ILETS documents at

http://ftp.rz.tu-bs.de/pub/mirror/ccc_Chaos_Computer_Club/ftp.ccc.de/docs.61/sigint/enfopol-2002/Enfopol_ILETS/

Session A: International Development in Lawful Interception

Lawful interception is a global requirement. However, surveillance laws and requirements differ from country to country and region to region. A further complication is surveillance activities cross international boundaries. The panelists will address the differences between North America and Western Europe, and the United States and Canada regarding lawful interception as well as global cooperative efforts underway.

• Tony xxxxxxxxx, President, GLIIF and VP NetDiscovery, Verisign

• Frank xxxxxxxx, TNO Telecom, The Netherlands

• Ian xxxxxxxxx, HomeOffice, National Technical Assistance Centre, (UK)

• Jay xxxxxxxx, President, Canadian Association of Internet Providers

• Gene xxxxxx, VP and Chief Security Officer, Telus Communications

some more

quote US Public record "Ex Parte Presentation In the Matter of : Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and Broadband Access and Services, ET Docket No. 04-295, RM-10865"....

This is to inform you that xxxxxxxxx, VP of Regulatory Affairs, and xxxxxx, Director of Government Relations of VeriSign Inc, met on 2 November 2004 at Federal Communications Commission headquarters with Office of Engineering and Technology staff members xxxxxxxx, and xxxxxxxx , and Wireline Competition Bureau staff member xxxxxxx.

The purpose of this meeting was to provide an overview of new international and technology developments relevant ......., especially the recent Lawful Intercept Technical Committee meeting, ......

VeriSign is a globally recognized leader in providing an array of large-scale, ultra-high availability infrastructure support capabilities for traditional voice telecommunications, Internet, security, and financial transaction services to providers and consumers through its various divisions in the U.S. and worldwide. As part of these commercial infrastructure support services, it provides NetDiscovery ServicesTM to wireless, wireline, cable, satellite, and IP-enabled service providers as a cost-effective means of meeting CALEA obligations (and the equivalent in other countries) through a service bureau

would that service bureau just be the NSA?, (lawful intercept - as we now know - just means massive intercept)

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Alert

"Google wasn't encrypting traffic on dedicated leased lines running between its data centres. It's easy to be wise in hindsight, but this looks like a serious shortcoming."

It's easy to be wise with foresight too - there's no such as a private leased line. One assumes it all came down to a risk assessment.

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