Following a report from the Washington Post exposing an NSA program called MUSCULAR that saw the organization secretly tap into Google and Yahoo severs and collect data, Google employees have taken to social media to express their frustration.
GigaOM has gathered comments from a couple Google employees with some being engineers that actually worked to protect the security of Google’s servers. Their comments aren’t exactly as tame as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s comments about the situation:
I now join him in issuing a giant Fuck You to the people who made these slides. I am not American, I am a Brit, but it’s no different – GCHQ turns out to be even worse than the NSA.
We designed this system to keep criminals out. There’s no ambiguity here. The warrant system with skeptical judges, paths for appeal, and rules of evidence was built from centuries of hard won experience. When it works, it represents as good a balance as we’ve got between the need to restrain the state and the need to keep crime in check. Bypassing that system is illegal for a good reason.
Unfortunately we live in a world where all too often, laws are for the little people. Nobody at GCHQ or the NSA will ever stand before a judge and answer for this industrial-scale subversion of the judicial process. In the absence of working law enforcement, we therefore do what internet engineers have always done – build more secure software. The traffic shown in the slides below is now all encrypted and the work the NSA/GCHQ staff did on understanding it, ruined. — Google Engineer Mike Hearn referring to the leaked NSA slide above.
Another comment from Google employee Brandon Downey who says he “spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google’s users safe and secure”:
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I’ve spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google’s users safe and secure from the many diverse threats Google faces….
But even though we suspected this was happening, it still makes me terribly sad. It makes me sad because I believe in America….
….But after spending all that time helping in my tiny way to protect Google — one of the greatest things to arise from the internet — seeing this, well, it’s just a little like coming home from War with Sauron, destroying the One Ring, only to discover the NSA is on the front porch of the Shire chopping down the Party Tree and outsourcing all the hobbit farmers with half-orcs and whips.
The scope of the project was said to be much larger than the similar PRISM NSA program that caused controversy earlier this year. According to the Post, the program sent “millions of records every day from internal Yahoo and Google networks to data warehouses at the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.” Some of which contained metadata (and who knows what else) related to user emails and content.