Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook provide data to the government



Washington,  November 29, 2013

Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden succeeded where President Barack Obama couldn’t—getting Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. to upgrade computer security against hackers.

The companies are adopting harder-to-crack code to protect their networks and data, after years of largely rebuffing calls from the White House and privacy advocates to improve security. The new measures come after documents from Snowden revealed how US spy programmes gain access to the companies’ customer data—sometimes with their knowledge, sometimes without—and that’s threatening profits at home and abroad.

“These companies actively fought against numerous mechanisms that would have mandated far more secure data,” Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation in Washington, said in a phone interview. “Now they are paying the literal price.”

While Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook Inc. provide data to the government under court orders, they are trying to prevent NSA from gaining unauthorized access to information flowing between computer servers by using encryption. That scrambles data using a mathematical formula that can be decoded only with a special digital key.

The NSA has tapped fibre-optic cables abroad to siphon data from Google and Yahoo, circumvented or cracked encryption, and covertly introduced weaknesses and back doors into coding, according to reports in The Washington Post, The New York Times and the UK’s Guardian newspaper based on Snowden documents. He is now in Russia under temporary asylum.

Microsoft is the latest company considering measures to ensure the protection of customer data and strengthen security against snooping by governments, according to Brad Smith, general counsel for the Redmond, Washington-based company.
Microsoft’s networks and services were allegedly hacked by NSA, The Washington Post reported on 26 November. Documents disclosed by Snowden suggest, without proving, that NSA targeted Microsoft’s Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger services under a programme called MUSCULAR, the newspaper said.
“These allegations are very disturbing,” Smith said in an e-mailed statement. “If they are true these actions amount to hacking and seizure of private data and in our view are a breach of the protection guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Consumer/ZD6Bc7SRBoOib9bLbsRSPN/Microsoft-Google-security-Edward-Snowden-won-where-Barack.html


Who thinks his image is damaged on the Internet, can now be insured. Korneel Warlop from the Belgian Assurance Company Axa. "We work with companies to ensure that the data automatically arrive at the end of the search lists searches so no one reads them."

Interesting link: http://diversdiverse.skynetblogs.be/apps/search/?s=Google+Obama

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