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NSA, Google have been in bed for a long time Featured

Google has been in bed with the NSA for far longer than it has made public after the revelations of spying by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Al Jazeera made the disclosure a couple of days ago that the NSA and Google had been in close contact in 2012, with the former director-general of the NSA, Keith Alexander and Google chairman Eric Schmidt being in touch several times and meeting.

That's the same Alexander who's been quoted this morning telling the Australian Financial Review that banning Huawei from NBN contracts was a good idea! He is the right man to make that judgement - or maybe second best after James Clapper.

When Snowden revealed in June 2013 that a large number of technology companies - Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Facebook among others - were feeding data to the NSA as and when they were told do, all the companies tried to make it seem as though they were only doing it to avoid breaking the law.

Such good corporate citizens are indeed difficult to find.

But now, according to the Qatar-based television network, Google - a company that is quick to criticise others for privacy violations - had been in touch with Alexander a year earlier. Eric Schmidt, yes the same man who says that one need not fear if one has nothing to hide, was invited for a detailed briefing by Alexander. Probably over cake and wine, though that detail is not specified.

Prior to that invitation - for a June 28 meeting - Schmidt and a few other tech executives had met Alexander. But the NSA man wanted another meeting later in the year to solicit help from the big names in Silicon Valley.

Let me not spoil the Al Jazeera story - it deserves a careful read by you, gentle reader, to know exactly the kind of disgusting deceit that these great bastions of the American corporate world are indulging in, while at the same time telling anyone who will care to listen the exact opposite.

But there's one delicious detail that I must touch on - the fact that in December last year the NSA's cyber-defence chief Debora Plunkett spun a cock-and-bull yarn on 60 Minutes (the American TV show) about China trying to destroy PCs in the US through a change to the BIOS. This tale was swallowed hook, line and sinker.

But now it turns out it was the NSA that was trying to insert backdoors in the BIOS so it would spy on people as and when it wanted!

How many more lies will we hear from these US agencies and companies which appear to have not even the slightest vestige of shame?

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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