Even while Google presents a public image of vigorously protecting its users’ privacy, it has quietly provided assistance to several U.S. intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, as the U.S. prosecutes its war on terrorism. In addition, Google may be providing assistance to the National Security Agency.
IT contractors and intelligence officials familiar with the arrangement confirmed to HSToday.us that Google had been providing assistance to the intelligence community, but would not say under what authority that assistance had been requested or provided.
The intelligence community appears to be interested in data mining Google’s vast store of information on each user who uses Google’s services. Google collects data on each user’s search queries, which web sites users visited after making a query, and through its Google Analytics service, can also track users on cooperating web sites. It’s not clear what level of access to or how much of this information has been made available to intelligence agencies.
The contractor, who spoke on a not-for-attribution basis, said that at least one US intelligence agency he declined to identify is working to “leverage Google’s [user] data monitoring” capability as part of an effort by the IC to glean from this data information of “national security intelligence interest” in the war on terror. . . .
One of the sources did say, however, that the CIA’s Office of Research and Development “has been giving them additional money and guidance and requirements.”
Last November, the CIA – through In-Q-Tel [CIA venture capital company] – issued notices to sell $2.2 million worth of Google stock.
Robert David Steele, intelligence veteran and CEO of OSS.Net, Inc. which sponsored last weekâ€™s event, told HSToday.us Tuesday evening that “Google is being actively hypocritical and deceptive in playing up its refusal to help the Department of Justice when all along it has been taking money and direction for elements of the US Intelligence Community, including the Office of Research and Development at the Central Intelligence Agency, In-Q-Tel, and in all probability, both the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command.”
Steele added, “I have no doubt that Google, in its arrogance, decided it could make a deal with the devil and not get caught.” — HSToday.us
If you are extremely concerned about the possibility that your private browsing information is going to wind up in the hands of U.S. intelligence agencies, you can throw a spanner in the works by blocking cookies from the following domains: google.com, googlesyndication.com, google-analytics.com, and your country-specific Google domain (e.g. google.co.uk). If you actually use Google services, such as Google Mail, then this obviously will prevent you from using those services.
Even with cookies blocked, a limited amount of user tracking is possible, so unless you really are a terrorist, it probably isn’t worth the trouble. I still have all of my Google Cookies. Then again, I already know they’re watching me…