NSA Infiltration of Google, Yahoo Even Deeper Than Feared

Taps Data Centers Worldwide

The NSA’s PRISM scheme was the first big scandal broken in months of ever more egregious violations of privacy at home and abroad. Google and Yahoo were among a number of major companies implicated in handing over broad swathes of customer’s private data, but apparently that was just the tip of the iceberg, even for data on Google and Yahoo’s servers.

The NSA apparently decided that even PRISM’s appalling levels of data collection weren’t enough, and the NSA still tapped both companies’ data centers on top of that, collecting data and meta-data of Americans and other innocent civilians en masse.

A hand-drawn sketch serves as part of the NSA’s presentation on “Google Cloud Exploitation” as part of the MUSCULAR project. The project culled 181 million pieces of data in meta-data in just a single 30 day period.

Google issued a statement saying they were “outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks,” while Yahoo simply denied giving the NSA access to their data centers. Which of course was the whole idea of MUSCULAR – unlike the PRISM cooperation, Yahoo and Google weren’t supposed to know.

The 24-hour surveillance of Google and Yahoo’s servers, above and beyond the cooperation they were already forced to give them, even shocked former intelligence officials, who worried it was not only ruining the government’s working relationship with such companies, but undermining those companies’ credibility internationally.

At this point it is apparent that not just personal data explicitly stored on Google’s servers, like gmail boxes and Google documents, but also any conceivable meta-data that even touches Google’s cloud, like the timing of an individual IP address viewing an individual Youtube video, has potentially been intercepted by the NSA, and is in some database somewhere waiting for some official to decide it might be used against somebody.

The NSA, predictably, issued a blanket denial, insisting it “never happened” despite clear documentation. Such denials and their subsequent refutations have become a defining feature of the past few months, and at this point reek of desperation.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.