The Washington Post recently reported that Google, the world’s largest search engine company, is negotiating an information-sharing agreement with the National Security Agency, the world’s largest network for routine, mass communications surveillance.
The ACLU asked me to speak out on this issue via mass email and this is what I had to say off the top of my ranty old head. You can send a letter of your own quite easily from the ACLU website’s page on Technology and Liberty, which is a great resource to be aware of anyway.
The Washington Post reported that you are negotiating a deal with the National Security Agency to help protect your networks. As a chronic Google user, I am appalled.
Information is a powerful tool. It’s one thing to monitor trends to influence marketing or whatever capitalists are getting out of watching what we buy and where/how we prefer to buy it. I don’t like it, but I can opt out of participating in that paradigm. My right to privacy is not completely trampled in the rush to empty my pockets. It is another thing altogether to put so much individual information in the hands of the government. The same government that has yet to repeal the blatantly unconstitutional abuse of privacy that is The Patriot Act. Beyond that, the NSA is an arm of the military and its primary mission is spying, which leaves me with no reasonable expectation that my privacy will be respected.
In essence, your proposed action would effectively dissolve my right to privacy and trash the individual liberties all Americans have enjoyed for well over 200 years. In forming our more perfect union, please note that no nexus of information collected on its citizens was part of the plan. In fact the opposite is true, agency information largely stays within that agency. If you’re going to flout the very model of democracy you might as well go back to China and call it a day.
Any agreement you make on this matter should obviously be with civilian agencies that are separate from the military, the government, and subject to strict public oversight with legislation addressing the individual’s right to privacy. Anything less than that and you should be ashamed and you likely will face serious class action lawsuits. It’s not a smart move for you or for us.