Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Google’s Real Secret Spy Program? Secure FTP


Google does not participate in any government program involving a lockbox or other equipment installed at its facilities to transfer court-ordered data to the government, a company spokesman says, refuting with some finality one of the lingering theories about the NSA’s PRISM program.

Instead the company transmits FISA information the old fashioned way: by hand, or over secure FTP.

“When required to comply with these requests, we deliver that information to the US government — generally through secure FTP transfers and in person,” Google spokesman Chris Gaither told Wired. “The US government does not have the ability to pull that data directly from our servers or network.”

Secure FTP is a standard utility on Unix and Linux system for transferring files over an encrypted channel.

The unequivocal statement is meant to set the record straight on information reported and suggested in stories about the PRISM program, which described a system whereby nine internet companies, including Google, Yahoo and Facebook had special equipment installed in their facilities that allowed NSA analysts sitting at their desks to query the data directly.

But Gaither asserted that the company had no such equipment installed.

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