back to article Google opens up data on secret data collection orders

Google has followed Apple's lead and published data on the secret orders it receives to hand over customer's information under the provisions of the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). According to the data, Google got between zero and 999 FISA requests every six months since 2009 for both content and non-content …


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  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    But this doesn't include

    Any direct hacks at the ISP, any NSA taps into Google's feed or any top secret NSL intercepts.

    So it's pretty much like the USAF's definition of surgical strike or collateral damage.

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      But you forgot to add

      "So it's pretty much like the USAF's definition of surgical strike or collateral damage" with a liberal penchant for friendly fire.

  2. Chris Miller

    Google handed over user data for 9,000-9,999 customers between January and June last year

    And Google read the emails of 500 million customers in order to target them with adverts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      500 million users who agreed to it in exchange for a service. Don't like it? Don't use gmail. Simple.

      1. Chris Miller

        Are you sure all 500 million read the 10-page privacy document? And while not using a 'free' email service may be simple for you or me (and probably many bad guys, too); it's not always simple for an average user.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Are you sure all 500 million read the 10-page privacy document? And while not using a 'free' email service may be simple for you or me (and probably many bad guys, too); it's not always simple for an average user."

          Well that is irrelevant really, if they didn't read it, they only have themselves to blame. If they didn't understand it, they shouldn't have made the assumption that "everything will be fine" and continue to sign up anyway.

      2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

        @ coward - "Don't use gmail. Simple"

        "500 million users who agreed to it in exchange for a service. Don't like it? Don't use gmail. Simple."

        Not so simple. I don't want to use gmail at all. I am perfectly happy with the email service provided by my ISP. However, in order to use the app store for my Android device, I am force to login with a Google ID which automatically comes with a gmail acct - and that is their default method of contact.

        To be sure, I began using my Android tablet without access to the GooglePlay app/store for as long as I could. Certain apps were unavailable any other way and I simply did without them for a while. When I decided I could no longer do without, I created the required Google ID/gmail acct so that I could get full use from my device.

        My tablet choices are few: Android - and all the Googly crap that is entailed therewith, Apple - perish the thought, and Windows - outrageously expensive by comparison to Android and unable to run much of what "regular" Windows does.

        The only reason I got a tablet at all was because my wife wanted one. As the inevitable de facto support person, it was my duty to select the device. I have no desire to own or operate an Apple product, much less support one. And while I have no problem for paying extra for a superior product (if it indeed IS superior), I cannot justify nearly double the price for a Windows tablet over Android, especially given the known limitations of Windows phone/tablet edition. So, as mentioned, not so simple.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ coward - "Don't use gmail. Simple"

          Just because you are "required", aka forced, to have a gmail account doesn't mean you have to use it. I have several and never used any for communication. Don't think I've ever opened any them either.

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    On the bright side....

    At least the NSA doesn't target us with ads.

    1. dssf

      Re: On the bright side.... On the Dark(net) side...

      We don't even know whether what we type is really on the Interenet unless we verify that we're not in a honeynet -- requiring us to take elaborate, elusive steps to reach the REAL tubes to be satisfied. Of course, we're all on the real intertubes, since probably none of us posting are on watch lists, not recidevists, and not likely to say anything subversive....

      Hold on... E(**R(*#U 꾸;ㅣㅜㅏ FS:FLKJSRF. (U$RPUGOJI (intermittent carrier....)

      1. Caesarius

        Re: On the bright side.... On the Dark(net) side...

        Keep your perl scripts to yourself. You've just pwned my eyeballs.

  4. nuked

    Why would the NSA request data that they are supposed to have sight of anyway? Surely, it's just to make it legally actionable.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More than 1.5x the requests for yahoo users? Than Google? That doesn't smell right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Head over to Yahoo, go to the comments section on any article (best if it involves one of those foreigner type folks) and you'll quickly realise why.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I see your Yahoo and raise you YouTube comments. The Google data is from before June last year, before they unleashed the tumbleweeds.

  6. dssf

    Damnit, Google! What does "Transparency" mean to you?

    It's not so much the Gov we need privacy and rights protection from -- It's the frackin' CRIMS and advertiser dealing our info in the black market and in the google-enabled grey market.

    Yes -- that grey market is your LOUSY "security" model/modules in Android. You need to:

    -- Demand that developers using the Android code adhere to a policy of ethics -- **NO** data-slurping of ANY user without the users' granular data-type-by-data-type accession

    -- Heuristically scan code not just on the Play platform but across the Net

    -- Distribute tools that help users to know when their devices are being digitally plundered, and make it possible to auto-kill the wireless, collect a forensic log, and blurp that log to non-easily-blocked wifi to get the intrusion into the open net and darknet for investigators and rights bodies to force more transparency and protection

    -- Demand your biz partners ALL trip-wire Android to "unlock" upon expiry of their users' contracts with their initial carrier if that carrier locks the phone when it is subsidized or aquired in a contract

    -- INFORM users of how to stop the data slurp, be it conducted by marketers, criminals, or governments. It's NOT your JOB to make it easier for the entire domain of Android users to be digitally raped en masse.

    Harping on the number of NSLs and data taps is just smoke an mirrors, hardly resembling "transparency". Knocking the gov's nuts while slashing open the public's pants on the backside is like you having your cake and eating it as much as you reaming us ever-wideningly, only slightly-lubed, and telling us we're simply, slightly, but rectifiably confusing the sensory inputs of pain and pleasure.

    "Transparency"? Sheesh....

    WAKE UP!

    1. dssf

      Re: Damnit, Google! What does "Transparency" mean to you?

      Hahah, i bet all seven of the down votes came from pro google agents/operatives/employees.

      I will restate: google, knock off the distracting sideshow and fix your shittyby-design so-called security model. You took out the security that makes Linux sought after and famous. That is like unnecessarily performing sterilization of beings suitable for and worthy of the rigt of reproduction.

      Change your weak business model!

      And, tell your sympathisers to desist digitally assaulting undaerstandably and rightfully pissed-off Android-using people for their on-target comments and assertions!

      Oh, snap! It is not just google employees I managed to in one posting puss off. I probably pissed off

      - government

      - advertisers

      - security employees who NEED Android to be security-weak

      - criminals

      - others

      The price of being forthright and demanding what is right, not profitable...

      1. dssf

        Re: Damnit, Google! What does "Transparency" mean to you?

        Wait, sterilization was a flawed analogy.

        A better analogy would be:

        -- intentionally engineering a newborn to have a flawed immune system

        -- building a car with sup-spec brakes

        -- manufacturing drinks to force users to go to the toilet too so often they must buy anti-diarrhea meds, which cause side effects requiring yet another med, both of which you have investment benefits in.

      2. wbaw

        Re: Damnit, Google! What does "Transparency" mean to you?

        They actually added another layer of security on top of Linux to separate apps from each other & give finer grained permissions control for each app to the user, without making it too complicated.

        The latest version even comes with SELinux enabled by default. So it's at least as good as an average 4 month old Linux system with no firewall, that you use on public networks & that hasn't had any updates. If you have a Nexus with 4.4.

        It's mainly the OS update system that is lacking. Takes months for most manufacturers to update their latest devices & the older ones are stuck on old versions with known root exploits forever.

        At least a simple packet filter firewall enabled by default would seem sensible too.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Seems like a very high number of requests/people impacted...

    Especially since these are FISC requests, which are not needed for non-residents of the USA.

    1. John Tserkezis

      Re: Seems like a very high number of requests/people impacted...

      These are just requests, not court orders. Legals dicatate that if they have a court order, then they must hand the requested data over (and do). Without a court order, and without an ongoing criminal investagation that inherently gives them those rights, you don't have to hand over jack.

      Kinda like your next door neighbour's ex-boyfriend asking you for your phone records, and movement activity in their feeble attempt to incriminate you for seeing their GF behind their back.

      But some (many?) do hand over any data at first request.

      Of the many of the mere "requests", it's not stated exactly how many of those "requests" have resulted in ISPs and oter portals ponying up data WITHOUT court orders.

      We're looking at you Yahoo!.

  8. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Content data numbers?

    Can anyone clarify whether the quoted content data requests are FISA-related or not? FISA covers just foreign intelligence / terrorism, right? Thousands (tens of thousands in the Yahoo! case) of users whose content data was requested under FISA every 6 months would mean that an awful lot of suspected terrorists and accomplices hang out on GMail and Yahoo! and FB (just Americans? or do the Feds request data on foreigners as well?). If these requests are not just FISA-related but include every kind of criminal investigation, missing persons, whatever, then the numbers do not look quite so frightening.

  9. Stittastutta

    Why is Yahoo so much higher?

    I understand they and Google receive similar amounts of traffic these days, but 30 times as many requests? Are the government able to get Google's data by other means?

    Also funny to see how much it's dropped off since Snowden. If you're not doing anything wrong, why stop at all?

  10. Moosh
    Thumb Down

    Yahoo! information is more sought after because the company has no spine and just bends over and presents itself whenever a government body comes knocking.

    1. ragnar

      That's pretty unjust. They did try and challenge PRISM, unlike the rest.

      1. Moosh

        Google told China to fuck off. Yahoo just gave them everything.

  11. Tromos

    Of course these numbers are correct. No way they could have been ordered to only state one tenth of the actual amount. Is there???

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