Tag: Google

Slurping up the Googles

We take a break from our regularly scheduled nap to tell you that there is absolutely nothing to worry about with Edward Snowden’s newest revelation: that the NSA is tapping into Google and Yahoo data centers:

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.

By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

According to a top-secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, the NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — including “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, as well as content such as text, audio and video.

The NSA’s principal tool to exploit the data links is a project called MUSCULAR, operated jointly with the agency’s British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters . From undisclosed interception points, the NSA and the GCHQ are copying entire data flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information between the data centers of the Silicon Valley giants.

The infiltration is especially striking because the NSA, under a separate program known as PRISM, has front-door access to Google and Yahoo user accounts through a court-approved process.

Now never mind that when PRISM was revealed, the NSA defenders told us that this was nothing to worry about, that it “proved” that NSA wasn’t tapping directly into the data streams but using court-approved secure data rooms to snoop (as if that were any better). Never mind that Greenwald and Snowden have let the NSA defenders get hoist by their own petard again by letting them spin and spin and lie and lie only to revealed to completely full of crap. Never mind, as Allahpundit notes, that the court had previously rebuked the NSA for similar data-gathering methods. No, no, no, it’s all OK. I’m sure they’re not digging up information on us. I’m sure it’s stopped a terrorist attack at some point.

What? Quit giving me those looks. We can trust these people. Even when they’ve been revealed to be completely lying their asses off. Don’t you care about terrorism?

Biting the Apple

It was inevitable. You remember the scene in Godfather II when Don Fannucci jumps on Vito Corleone’s car and demands a share of his business — just enough to “wet my beak”? That’s going on in Washington with Apple in the car and 525 Congressmen on the side board.

Every successful company finds out that it can’t just work on improving its products and serving consumers. Sooner or later, it’s going to have to deal with politicians and regulators sniffing around its business.

Yes, Apple — praised to the skies for being an innovator and job creator by Washington politicians when that narrative serves their interests — has become the latest target of the political class.

According to Politico, the daily newspaper of lobbyists and political consultants, industry giant Apple spent a mere $500,000 in Washington in the first quarter of 2012, compared to more than $7 million Google and Microsoft spent on lobbying and related activities from January through March of this year.

Then Politico lowers the boom: “The company’s attitude toward D.C. — described by critics as ‘don’t bother us’ — has left it without many inside-the-Beltway friends.”

The same things happened to Microsoft, Paypal, Google, Intel and many other tech companies. They started out wanting to just to business. And then Washington said, “I hear you and your friends are selling computers. But you don’t even send a dress to my house. No respect! You should let me wet my beak a little!” Now they play the Washington game.

Companies that don’t pay the protection money will find that there is some law nebulous enough to attack them with. Anti-trust is a common avenue since the definition of a monopoly is deliberately vague. And indeed, the FTC is now seeing if Apple is stifling competition. The Justice Department is looking at their e-book pricing. And the International Trade Commission is looking at their patents. If these don’t work I’m sure they’ll find some rule or law Apple has violated. The advantage of having so many thousands of laws on the books, as Harvey Silverglate noted, is that everyone is guilty of something even they dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’.

This will stop the same it way it stopped with Microsoft and Google — when Apple buys a bunch of lobbyists and makes the customary tribute to Washington. This will stop when they let the 525 Don Fanucci’s wet their beaks in Apple’s success.

Don’t like it? Quit supporting big government. It is only the extent and power of our massive Federal government that gives them both their sense of entitlement and the ability to extort their share. There may never come a time when Washington doesn’t feel entitled to their tribute. But why must we make it so easy for them?

So, who is buying this?

What you ask? Well, when they got caught favoring a certain candidate’s campaign and coffers, Google came out and claimed innocence. After all, Google is making big money while others are struggling.

Google denied Wednesday that it gave President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign special access to a new advertising program, something a sales representative from the search and advertising giant had claimed in an email to customers. The new ad program would charge clients for every email address (or other piece of user data) they collect. The program is attractive to campaigns eager for that information, so when a staffer at the National Republican Senatorial Committee saw what appeared to be an Obama ad built on this technology on the RealClearPolitics website last month, she emailed a Google sales rep to ask about creating a similar ad campaign for Republicans.

The saleswoman, Sirene Abou-Chakra, replied by suggesting that Obama had a special deal. “This is a pre-alpha product that is being released to a select few clients,” she wrote in an email, referring to the first stage of a product’s roll-out. “I’d be happy to get you into the beta if you’re interested.” A similar email went out to at least one other Republican digital media firm, a Republican source said. “It certainly raises some red flags that the Obama campaign appears to have been given special access to a new online advertising product,” said NRSC communications director Brian Walsh in response to an inquiry from POLITICO.

But Google spokesman Jake Parrilo denied strenuously that the Obama campaign had been granted special access to the pilot program, and chalked the email up to inaccurate “puffery” by the sales representative. The ad that appeared on RealClearPolitics, he said, was not a Google ad at all.

Shya! Just like it isn’t obvious to those paying attention that whatever system Google uses to bring up & rank its search choices heavily seem to favor a certain ideologically when the subject is politically expedient. Where are the angry leftists that hate mega-corporations buying elections these days when you need them huh? Maybe they are busy protesting war number four or five. Can’t keep track of all the new ones Obama has going. He doesn’t need to worry! Google has his back!