The big tech companies are fighting back against government spying — with legal challenges, advanced encryption, and software updates — and in the case of Google, that also includes a message buried within its source code aimed directly at the National Security Agency, according to PCWorld.
Inside the code for Google’s End-to-End email encryption extension for Chrome, there’s a message that should sound very familiar to the NSA: “SSL-added-and-removed-here-;-)”
That’s because it’s a word-for-word quote from a leaked slide courtesy of Edward Snowden, which detailed the top-secret Muscular program, which allowed Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service and the NSA to pull data directly from Google servers outside of the U.S.
The slide particularly enraged some Google engineers due to its boastful handwritten notes, complete with a smiley face. Two engineers speaking to The Washington Post at the time exploded in profanity, with one saying “I hope you publish this.”
As David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth write in an interesting New York Times report, the adversarial movement of the tech community towards the NSA has substantially ramped up.
Microsoft will soon encrypt all of its products with 2,048-bit encryption, while Facebook and Yahoo have started encrypting traffic moving on their internal servers. And Google is even going to lay its own undersea fibre-optic cables, giving the company greater control over its data, according to The Times.
While many tech companies quietly complied with the NSA in the past, they have become far more reluctant after a year of disclosures revealed the agency had accessed company servers — stealing emails or metadata — and had even intercepted network hardware before it was shipped overseas to install backdoors without the company’s knowledge, among many other findings.
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